2000AD and Treasury of British Comics publisher Rebellion has launched an exclusive T-shirt to help the Cartoon Museum, the country’s only museum dedicated to comics, survive the Coronavirus Pandemic.
As we’ve previously reported, the lockdown prompted by the spread of Covid-19 meant the Cartoon Museum had to close in March, effectively cutting all its income strands in one fell swoop and prompting the very real possibility it could close for good.
Although a major fund raising effort has generated over £88,000 of a £150,000 target to save the Museum, and it has been awarded a grant of £98,700 by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, to support the museum in combatting the severe financial threat, there is still a need to fund raise as it works towards re-opening.
Rebellion has joined other fund raising efforts through sales of a special T-shirt bearing classic art from the heyday of British comics, available exclusively from the 2000AD and Treasury of British Comics web shops. It features the cover of Battle Picture Weekly 423 (cover date, 11th June 1983) by master artist Eric Bradbury.
Beneath the museum’s distinctive logo, the cover from the recently-collected “Invasion 1984” strip shows a very different kind of crisis – Piccadilly Circus being invaded by aliens!
All profits from the sale of the shirts will go towards the independent museum’s £150,000 fundraising appeal, which seeks to help it through the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.
“We are incredibly grateful to our friends at Rebellion for their kind offer to help with fundraising towards The Cartoon Museum’s survival during this difficult time,” commented Cartoon Museum Director Joe Sullivan.
“It is humbling to receive support from our peers and colleagues in the UK comic and cartooning scene, and shows the depth of feeling for the museum. We hope Rebellion fans and our visitors love the brilliant shirt design, and look forward to continuing to work with Rebellion in the future.”
“Comics have a vital place in Britain’s culture and heritage, and The Cartoon Museum does great work protecting that legacy, preserving it for future generations, and showcasing the best creators of today,” says Jason Kingsley OBE, the CEO of Rebellion.
“The heritage sector has been hit really hard by Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown, and so we’re delighted to do what we can to help this nationally important museum survive and thrive.”
The Museum, which receives no regular government or local authority funding, has been hit hard after closing on 18th March. 75 per cent of its yearly income came from admissions, shop purchases, school visits, and venue bookings. Even when visitors return, the museum is expecting an 80 per cent drop in numbers.
Such a big expected drop in revenue, along with the longer-term impacts of Covid-19 on key audiences for the museum such as schools and overseas tourism, has huge implications and so The Cartoon Museum is fundraising to survive the closure period.
Set up by the Trustees of The Cartoon Museum, contributions have been made in a variety of ways, including small grants, proceeds of a half-marathon, cover price and book sale reductions from publishers such as Soaring Penguin Press close to the museum, proceeds from a sale of one-off comic art, and donations from friends and the public.
In July 2020, the museum announced an award of £98,700 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a tremendous boost to support.
A registered charity, the Cartoon Museum champions cartoon and comic art, highlighting its importance to culture and society. Since 2006 it has received 420,000 visitors, and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18,000 items.
The Museum also runs a well-attended school programme and sell-out school holiday workshops, and over 50,000 children and adults have attended cartooning, comic and animation workshops and the museum receives 3000 student visits each year.
During lockdown, the museum uploaded and circulated their learning materials as a free downloadable resource for families to use at home, which are still available, and uploaded their current show, Dear Mr. Poole, at www.cartoonmuseum.org