Frankly, dears, we don't
give a damn: in the eternal
struggle of Comedy versus
Anti-Comedy we will prevail
I plan to refurbish
the disused waiting room
at Necropolis Halt
as a gallery:
a small and intimate venue,
but then, that will be fitting,
as comic strip art is a world
of intimate delights.
As soon as the task is
complete, we will feature the
gallery here on our website:
the first exhibition being
'A SUDDEN GUST'.
(There may be
vibration of the
exhibits now and then
from passing train) but
you'll put up
with that, won't you,
in the service of
statement of intent, by Leo Baxendale.
Comic Strip, as
an alliance of art and technology, is a feature of the advanced
industrial nations: it came into being in Britain and the
USA simultaneously in the last quarter of the last century.
After the Second World War France and Japan, followed by Italy,
became big players.
Yet in the last
quarter of our own century, there has been a new development
from this phenomenon, which, strangely, has so far passed
Britain by. Over the past twenty five years permanent Comic
Strip centres and festivals have become a striking feature,
attracting vast numbers : Lucca and Treviso in Italy, San
Diego in the USA and many more; the most singular example
of all being Angouleme in the Bordeaux district of France.
The Comic Strip annual festival at Angouleme was begun in
1974 by a small group of enthusiasts. Its successful example
attracted to itself in the succeeding years local, regional
and national funding: a mill daringly converted to become
the permanent Centre des Bandes Desinees. In January of 1998,
167,300 people came from the rest of France and from abroad
to the annual festival and exhibitions. In addition, another
40,000 or 50,000 come to the Comic Strip permanent centre
during the rest of the year.
Angouleme is a
town of 50,000 inhabitants - mid-way in size between Stroud
There is no comparable
set-up to Angouleme in Britain. I perceive, not exactly a
window of opportunity, more a small aperture, for Stroud to
slip in and become the first town in Britain to host such
a dynamic structure.
It is in my mind,
that if such a permanent structure of Comic Art comes into
being, it would encompass the full range of the results of
the alliance of art and technology: from the Comic Strip art
of print technology - comics and newspapers, to the manifestations
of Comic Strip art in the myriad electronic technologies,
and would follow all the twists and turns of change and development.
I believe that
such a structure would bring both cultural vibrancy, and permanent
economic benefit to the locality, and would remedy a national