Okay, I think we can all officially declare the culture wars over now that Harrods, the world famous department store in London, is currently hosting an exhibition of original comic book artwork from series like Watchmen, Judge Dredd, All Star Superman and 2000AD. When geek culture finds its place in a store historically frequented by royalty, that's probably enough proof that we have taken over the world. And who do we have to thank for this momentous occasion? An online gossip-monger, apparently.The exhibition started when James Chittenden, Head of Creative at Harrods, realized two seemingly disconnected facts: Firstly, that their "That's Entertainment" promotion celebrating popular culture was devoid of anything relating to comic books, and secondly, that the Richard Johnston who worked on their radio advertisements was also the Rich Johnston who writes the must-read Lying In The Gutters comics industry rumor column every week. One phone call later, and plans were in motion.
It took a month of more phone calls - as well as online pleas, favors being called in and other planning that may be better left unsaid - but as a result, Harrods is currently hosting one of the most incredibly diverse exhibitions of original comic book artwork ever (and all from British writers and artists), with work ranging from historical works like a 1940's "Oor Wullie" newspaper page by Dudley T Watkins and the 1950's British "Dennis The Menace" by David Law to a recent double page splash frm Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's All Star Superman, two pages from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen, and work from Jamie Hewlett's Tank Girl. Johnston is understandably proud of the exhibition:
"It was a huge honour to call up the likes of Raymond Briggs, whose graphic novella did a wonderful job of shaping my childhood... Even my walls are a little bare right now - there are spaces where Bryan Talbot's "One Bad Rat", Adrian Kermode and Terry Wiley's "Petra Etcetera" and Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell's "From Hell" should be.
It's not just artwork that's on show; on the 29th of this month, V For Vendetta artist David Lloyd will be giving a presentation about the creation of the book, as well as the work required to adapt it into the recent movie version (If you want to attend, you'll have to call 020 7173 6473 to reserve seats). The exhibition can be found on the Lower Ground Floor at Door Five of Harrods, near the Knightsbridge Tube exit, and continues until the 31st of October.