Tuesday, 17 September 2019

A Cartoon & ComicBook Tour Of London: London Explorer

Adam writes… Over the month of September 2019 I'm re-posting parts of my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour Of London series.

If you'd like to explore the locations that feature in this series, drop me a line to enquire about tour availability – you can book a one-hour tour (ideal for kids) or a two-hour version of the tour. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these reposts…

Panel 9. London Explorer & The Charing Cross Road

All the comic books featured so far in this series can be acquired fairly easily – I always recommend Orbital Comics in Great Newport Street. The Cartoon Museum also has an excellent bookshop.

(Support your local bookshop!)

Today, however, I'm introducing an element of sport into my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London. The thrill of the chase, if you will.

You're going to have to browse for this one.

The forgotten art of browsing, particularly in secondhand bookshops, is one of London’s great pleasures. The coffee emporia may have moved in on the Charing Cross Road, but there are still more good secondhand bookshops than you can shake a stick at here in London. And should a shop assistant approach and ask “May I help you?” (very unlikely in London’s secondhand bookshops!) we can provide you with two answers with which to reply. You can either say:

“I’m looking for what I didn’t know I wanted” (The Daily Constitutional definition of browsing).

Or you can say, “Do you have a copy of…”

Peter Jackson’s London Explorer

The book is long out-of-print but remains an essential part of any London library. This paperback volume is a collection of cartoons by Peter Jackson. Jackson worked on the old London Evening News (defunct since 1980 when it was incorporated into the Evening Standard) and for that paper he crafted a lovingly illustrated series on the history of London in cartoon form. (The graphic novel is nothing new.)

The volume I came across (at Black Gull Books in East Finchley) has no date in the flyleaf, but the accompanying London Underground map in the back has no Victoria Line so I estimate it to be some several years before 1967.

Jackson’s illustrations (“with supporting text by W. Crawford Snowden”) covered a different area of London each instalment.

Succinct and revelatory, his drawings bring London’s history to life with a mixture fact, fable and cartoon fun touches (such as King Charles II snuggling up to Nell Gwynn and her orange on the Fleet Street section, illustrated here).

Jackson’s encyclopaedic knowledge of London grew from his love of the metropolis and he was a renowned collector of historic prints, maps and London ephemera. He drew for the Evening News from 1940 to 1980 and his other series include London is Stranger Than Fiction and Somewhere to Go. He passed away in 2003.

Good luck hunting for his book! Make your first stop Charing Cross Road

… with Any Amount of Books and Henry Pordes always worth a visit. (Worth noting that the Wetherspoons pub at No.105, now the Montagu Pyke, was once the Cambridge Circus Cinematograph Theatre  – in the 60s this was a "cartoon cinema" presenting animated films amid a programme of news and shorts.)

Tomorrow… Marvel & Tower Bridge


If you'd like to explore cartoon and comic book locations in London, book me as your guide for a Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of Westminster  – available in both one and two hour versions. Click the email button at the foot of this post to enquire.

If you'd like to catch up with entire series of posts in this series (38 in number as of September 2019) then click here: cartoonandcomicbooklondon.blogspot.com

Keep In Touch…


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