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The Lightbox celebrates the opening of 
‘The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’

The Lightbox celebrates the opening of 
‘The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’
On Tuesday 9 August, The Lightbox celebrated the opening of the much-anticipated exhibition ‘The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’ (6 August 2016 – 31 December 2016). This unique new retrospective takes visitors on an interactive journey through the past, present and future of sequential art and reveals how and why visual communication has endured as a hugely popular medium for people of all ages.

The story opens with ‘Cor!’ - a potted history of the importance of sequential art with ancient examples of 3,000 year old hieroglyphics, 18th century satirical social commentary prints by William Hogarth, and a present day playful yet political ceramic by Grayson Perry. ‘By Gum’ offers a trip down memory lane with a newsagents stocking classic examples of comics such as ‘Dan Dare’, ‘The Beano’ and ‘The Eagle’ alongside DIY comic making interactives.

‘Zarjaz!’ brings things up-to-date with today’s manga, graphic novels and digital comics. The exhibition story culminates in a larger-than-life giant comic strip of Zara and Alan, two characters especially designed for the exhibition by curator Hamish MacGillivray and up-and-coming female comic designer Asia Alfasi.  

Over 100 people packed into The Lightbox for the Private View of ‘The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’, all keen to get a first-look at the colourful, interactive exhibition which charts the history of British comics. In attendance were Friends and supporters of The Lightbox, the Deputy Mayor Cllr Graham Cundy, and several lenders to the exhibition including Junior Tomlin, Jon Edgar, Peter Hansen and Steven Harris.  

The Director of The Lightbox, Marilyn Scott, opened with a speech in which she noted that “once again The Lightbox team has come up with a truly family friendly exhibition which will appeal to parents, grandparents and children - there really is something for everyone.”  

The exhibition has been curated by museum professional and comics enthusiast Hamish MacGillivray and Paul Gravett who is a journalist and curator who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over 20 years. Hamish commented “This exhibition is designed not from an academic view point but from comic fans point of view. That is why I invented the character's Alan and Zara drawn by Asia Alfasi to guide visitors around. Both older people and school kids have helped to evolve the layout and interactives. My ideas were brought to life thanks to some theatre magic by set builders Bowerwood and the enthusiasm of Paul Gravett and The Lightbox team.”  

Paul then explained his inspiration for the exhibition, “I’ve never grown out of comics. I’ve grown up with them, and they speak to me still today. I hope our exhibition brings back joyful memories of your favourite comics. I hope it will also entice you into exploring recent and new comics on display here, several by remarkable local artists. Because comics is more than nostalgia, it’s a diverse and vibrant medium that can speak to everyone.”    

‘The Story of British Comics So Far: Cor! By Gum! Zarjaz!’ is on show at The Lightbox from the 6 August 2016 – 31 December 2016.

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