In 2008, the National Library Of Scotland in Edinburgh put on their Local Heroes exhibition which displayed some of the library’s collection of comics and graphic novels and, impressively, Cam Kennedy’s original artwork for the Waverley graphic novel Kidnapped. This was not just a page or two but the entire artwork for the 68 page book plus its cover and Cam’s preliminary design sketches.
The curator of that exhibition was John Birch and downthetubes interviewed him about the exhibition and the library’s work in preserving such publications for the nation. At the end of the interview John told us that he would like to put on a fantasy/science-fiction/horror exhibition.
Fast forward to 2012 and part of that wish has come true as, in conjunction with the Edinburgh Science Festival, the National Library of Scotland will be presenting a free exhibition under the amusing title of It’s Life Jimmy, But Not As We Know It covering science fiction written in Scotland.
The publicity tells us, “From pop icons such as Doctor Who and Judge Dredd, to political extrapolations and universe-jumping space operas, Scottish writers have been producing science fiction in its many forms for the past 30 years. But the keyboards of Iain Banks, Steven Moffat, Ken MacLeod and others were not the first to explore this territory. Whet your appetite for discovery with the National Library of Scotland’s selection of science fiction treasures, and journey into the past, present and future of this little explored space of Scottish writing.”
The exhibition takes place at the National Library Of Scotland on Edinburgh’s George IV Bridge and runs as part of the Edinburgh Science Festival from Wednesday 28 March to Sunday 15 April 2012. The NLS is open every day although times vary and entrance to the exhibition is free.
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.