Individuals most likely know Billy Bunter, the Heavyweight Chump of Greyfriars, yet what number of recall the similarly nourishment fixated Hungry Horace, a stalwart of the Sparky? We recollect Beryl the Peril yet shouldn’t something be said about the much increasingly problematic Jonah?
“Jonah was on the back page of the Beano for seven or eight years,” said comic expert Steve Marchant. “He was an ugly sailor. Every week he would rock up on to somebody’s boat and the boat would sink, that was the gag. The humour was in how the inevitable happens … terrific stuff.”
Visitors to the as of late migrated Cartoon Museum in London will from Monday have the option to see instances of Jonah, a strip drawn by Ken Reid, at another exhibition: Comic Creators: The celebrated and the forgotten.
The show explores comic creations which have become imbued in the national consciousness, and others who arguably deserve to be.
Marchant, who has curated the show, fully expects people to go: “I know Desperate Dan, I know Dennis the Menace, I know Judge Dredd … but what the hell is this?
“I’m putting stuff up which I think is equally as good. There are people who were doing brilliant work throughout the 20th century but have just slipped through the cracks of history and it has been part of my jolly job to take the ones, in my view, who are worth rediscovering.”
An a valid example may be Bunter, the breathtakingly popular and forceful comic star who previously showed up in 1908. Bunter strips are shown by Hungry Horace, a little-recalled character in Sparky whose affection for cakes, hotdog moves, milkshakes and bread rolls routinely got him stuck in an unfortunate situation.
They are not funny cartoons liable to be seen today. “These days having children’s comic characters who were beyond husky most likely wouldn’t go down excessively well,” said Marchant. “Once upon a time it was amusing.”
Different strips in plain view will incorporate Tinker, a young girl’s comic character dependent on Tinkerbell; and Marvelman from the 1950s, maybe the primary effective British superhero.
There is likewise an unpublished spread from Battle Picture Weekly, with a cartoon of a soldier on the ground about to be bayoneted – “Death Lunge! Is D-Day Dawson Finished!” It was considered too strong even for the certain type of boy growing up in the 1970s who made up the comic’s core readership.
The display is the first of what will be three transitory demonstrates a year at the exhibition hall, which opens at its new home close Oxford Circus on Monday, a year after it was driven away from its past premises close to the British Museum.
Museum director Becky Jephcoat said they had to leave because of an unexpected rent increase.
The move to Wells Street has worked out well because the museum has found a new, bigger space which comes with a peppercorn rent and space for a learning studio and “destination” shop.
A £1m redevelopment has resulted in a brilliant blank canvas for the museum. Jephcoat said: “We want to make the museum much more immersive and relevant and attract new audiences.”
The main exhibition gallery, curated by the Guardian’s Steve Bell, tells the story of the history of cartoon and comic art with examples from the museum’s collection of 6,000 pieces.
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