Comic Projects: The Grand Tour

A promotional image for The Grand Tour. Art © Mike Collins

A promotional image for The Grand Tour. Art © Mike Collins

Publisher: CJL Italy
Project Date: 2003

Italian publisher CJL published a magazine designed to teach English to Italians using comic strip and text stories, which includes a strip based in Engalnd.

Written by myself and drawn by Mike Collins, The Grand Tour: The Tower of London Affair features a group of time-traveling tourists whose guided exploration of the metropolis proves more trouble prone than trip fantastic.

Using aliens in disguise, the aim was to have them make some of the same mistakes about the English language foreign students might also make – and teach them to avoid the pitfalls.

I have fond memories of London’s many tourist attractions from my years living and working there, and although CJL’s magazine is no longer published the strip met with praise from readers – and my publisher too, so perhaps one day it will return – or be picked up by another.

I spent quite a lot of time taking photographs of famous landmarks, such as Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s and other places and digging out reference, including old guide books, about London for this. The story called for me to work out how long it takes to walk from one part of London to another, and whether you can match the speed of a coach caught up in adverse traffic on the Strand!

Mike Collins, whose credits include Doctor Who, Batman and 2000AD’s Judge Dredd, added his own considerable flair to the work, drawing on his own photo collection and knowledge of the capital.

The strip specifically aimed to achieve the kind of look Hergé was so successful with, for his TinTin stories. Mike’s did a fantastic job, and I’m very pleased with the reaction we got to what was published.

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 1

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 2 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 3

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 4

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 5

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 6

 

 

The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 7 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 8 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 9 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 10 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 11 The Grand Tour by John Freeman & Mike Collins Page 12

Web Links

• CJL “English Gratis” Site: www.englishgratis.com

• Mike Collins: www.freakhousegraphics.com

View the Paul Getty “Grand Tour” Exhibition of Eighteenth Century Italy
If you happened to be a European aristocrat during the 18th century, it’s likely you would have toured Europe to complete your education. Lasting anywhere from a few months to eight years, this “Grand Tour” enlightened young men about the politics, culture, and art of neighboring countries. Three new Getty exhibitions allow you to virtually experience your own tour of Italy, with stops in exotic Venice, classical Rome, and mythical Naples. The art and antiquities exhibits add to the mystery of this cultural phenomenon known as the Grand Tour.
The primary destination of the Grand Tour was Italy, with its heritage of ancient Roman monuments. 18th-century taste revered the art and culture of the ancients.The British, in particular, were lured to Italy by their admiration of antiquity and their desire to see firsthand such monuments of ancient civilization as the Colosseum in Rome, and such wonders of nature as the volcanic eruptions of Mount Vesuvius, near Naples. (Thanks to kenradio for this link)

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