The Beano, the Dandy, the Broons and Oor Wullie… they’re just some of the amazing comic books embedded into Dundee’s culture, but do we shout loud enough about their wider importance?
The city’s comic book industry is a proper success story. And it’s about to play a starring role in the Dundee Summer (Bash) Streets Festival later this month.
I’m excited about this new event. It will celebrate one of the city’s thriving industries and offer something for everyone, whatever their age.
And one of the things I am most looking forward to seeing is the pop-up comic book museum planned for the High Street.
It will be intriguing to see what’s on display. And hopefully it will act as a reminder of how important comic books are to Dundee’s culture.
I’ve long advocated for a comic book museum to be opened in Dundee. And I still believe a permanent attraction could have fantastic cultural and economic potential for the city.
There are brilliant examples elsewhere.
The Comics Art Museum in Brussels opened in 1989 and attracts more than 200,000 visitors a year. It celebrates local comic book heroes such as Tintin and the Smurfs and it is a great asset to the city.
— Terrance Marshman-Edwards (@DoctorWhoFan79) September 8, 2018
The Noordwijk Museum of Comic Art in the Netherlands is also popular among locals and tourists. Visitors can pose for selfies with Asterix and Obelix, browse thousands of comic books and see how comic strips are created.
My big idea for a Dundee comics museum
Not too long ago, I proposed the idea of something similar here as part of the Reimagining the Conshy project, which looked at ideas to repurpose the old Dundee College building on Constitution Road.
My design generated a lot of very positive responses, as did earlier plans to create a comic book museum at West Ward Works.
The proposal was welcomed when it was put forward in 2018. But the £17.5 million scheme never got off the drawing board.
There’s no doubt in my mind that a comic book museum in Dundee would be a fantastic success.
You just have to look at the response to the recent ‘Beano: The Art of Breaking the Rules‘ exhibitions at the Somerset House art centre in London.
Closer to home, crowds flocked to the Beano-themed exhibition at the McManus Galleries in 2018.
The displays and activities celebrated 80 years of the comic and the impact of characters such as Dennis and Gnasher, Rodger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx and of course The Bash Street Kids
It’s my hope that the pop-up comic book museum at the festival will serve as a kind of pilot scheme, showing how popular the idea is with the public.
Dundee has a comic book culture to rival anywhere else in the world and it’s time we had a museum to match.