Britain’s favourite comic, The Beano, celebrates its eightieth birthday this summer and Comic Art, run by screen printer John Patrick Reynolds, will be marking the event with two major exhibitions of Beano screenprints.
The Beano‘s first edition was published on 30 July, 1938 and it’s been published ever since – sometimes selling nearly two million copies a week – making it Britain’s favourite and longest-running comic.
Generations of British schoolchildren have been brought up with the title – and are familiar with its characters, from Dennis The Menace to Minnie The Minx, The Bash Street Kids, Roger The Dodger, Billy Whizz, Biffo The Bear and Lord Snooty. Comic Art produces screenprints featuring all these characters.
Comic Art’s first exhibition will be held in the comic’s Scottish heartlands, near publisher DC Thomson’s headquarters in Dundee. Art gallery Eduardo Alessandro Studios will host a major exhibition of nearly 60 different Comic Art screenprints. This will be launched in June – see the gallery’s website for details.
In the autumn, Comic Art has been invited to exhibit at the Loogabarooga Festival in Loughborough, which is celebrating The Beano in its 80th anniversary year. This is described as “an annual event for families who love books and illustrated literature”.
The Festival started in 2015 as a celebration of 100 years of Ladybird Books, which was based in the town. Since then, it has featured some of the nation’s favourite children’s works including Harry Potter and the work of writer and artist Lauren Child. The name of the festival comes from how some visitors pronounce Loughborough.
Comic Art has a special licence from DC Thomson to use its fabulous archive of artwork in screenprints. These are hand-printed by John Patrick Reynolds and his team in west London on cotton, mould-made paper, which is milled in Somerset.
John was the first screenprinter to get permission from Britain’s top comic publisher, DC Thomson, to use images from its archive of British comic characters from The Beano’s Dennis the Menace, The Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx to The Dandy’s Desperate Dan and the Sunday Post’s Oor Wullie and The Broons. He’s also the only screenprinter in the UK to work with French publisher Editions Albert Réné to make screenprints of its characters Asterix, Obelix, Getafix and Ideefix, not forgetting the dog Dogmatix.
• Happy Birthday, Beano! 30th June – 28th August 2018 Eduardo Alessandro Studios 30 Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, DD5 2BJ More details here
• The dates of the Loogabarooga Festival of Brilliant Books and Incredible Illustrations will be announced soon. Web: www.loogabarooga.co.uk
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