28 November 2011

Discovering the Cartoon Museum

It is to my eternal shame that I had not been to the Cartoon Museum before.

I love comics and cartoons, I have books on their history, I go to talks about them and I have been notified of special exhibitions there. Yet somehow I never quite got there.

And it was by accident that I got there this time.

After a visit to the British Museum I was in The Plough and was using Foursquare to let Twitter know that I was there when it helpfully pointed out that the Cartoon Museum was nearby.

Very nearby. It's next door. And it's free if you have an Art Fund card.

Inside is a small but busy gallery spread over two floors charting the history of cartoons with the occasional foray in to comics.

You are more likely to find Andy Capp here than Superman. And I like that as characters like Andy Capp are part of our culture and my history.

Rupert Bear was a much larger part of my history so it was good to see him here too and his anthropomorphic rival Teddy Tail.

Punch also featured in my formative years and I was reminded of this by a Honeysett cartoon.
I still recall vividly some of the things that he did for Punch such as the old bloke passed out on the floor in a pub during a drinking competition with one of his equally old friends saying that was odd as he had been all right during the lunchtime practise session.

The Cloggies are in there too.

If you like cartoons and comics as much as I do then this is not a museum that you can browse quickly, every drawing demands and deserves attention. That means reading the helpful note that goes with each one too.

A minor detour from the pub turned in to a forty five minute quick browse that left me keen to return soon to wallow at a more leisurely pace.

I regret not having been to the Cartoon Museum before, and missing the Dr Who exhibition was a serious fault, but I have learned my lesson and I left the museum older and wiser. And happier.

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