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Frontispiece to 1620 version of 'Don Quixote' NAL: Dyce 2000. ©V&A Museum.

Searching for Don Quixote in the NAL

In Spain, there are efforts afoot to discover the exact location of the grave of one of the country’s greatest writers, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Despite the instant popularity of his masterpiece ‘Don Quixote’, he died in poverty and was buried somewhere in the Convent of Trinitarians in Madrid, but the exact location is unknown.  […]

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Western comics

Western Comics and Black Cowboys

Despite the insidious racism, like a lot of people then, I was hooked on Westerns, one of the great comics genres that have received little attention over the years. My collecting addiction was hugely fuelled by my account at (where else?) the American bank Wells Fargo. An account with Wells Fargo came with a cheque […]

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Hunter-Gatherer on the Loose

I have no inclination to justify my interest in comics. It’s enough to read them. In childhood the American comics were unique. It was similar to Hollywood. Though conceived in other countries, America was where the culture developed and flourished. The size, the shape and the substance of the American comic book opened a world […]

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The Italian Siren and the French Noir

It’s always miffed me slightly. So many females in my life had been derisory about my attachment to comics, except my fiancée Erica – we were together during my exile into the comic book wilderness. For five years I abstained; I didn’t read, buy or refer to comics. When Erica left me I despaired. Without […]

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The Comic Book Community

The initial connection with a comic book milieu was in the early 1970s. I’d been evicted from my pokey little flat in the World’s End, Chelsea; bath in the kitchen, shared lavatory, paraffin heater, the relentless roar of traffic and the smell of pollution – bad news for someone with an asthma history. However, compared […]

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Back to Comics & More Disapproval

Sometime soon after the dissolution of my marriage plans I drifted into the Fulham Road Popular Book Exchange and while rummaging found masses of contemporary and old American comics. I opened one of the earliest issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and was instantly hooked. I scoured the Book Exchanges across London and scooped up a […]

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The Beginnings of a Collector

My childhood collection of comic books survived intact until I was poised to start studying architecture at the University of Cape Town. My big problem was; my mother disapproved of the comics. Mom wanted a law passed against grown boys reading comics. My father said that was enough, and mom kept quiet. L Mabusela never […]

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Goodbye, Studio

Today is my last day as a resident at the V&A. Everything is packed into boxes, ready for me to take home, the walls have now returned to their plain white after having been filled with works in progress and collected postcards. Six months sounds like a long time, but sitting here at the end of it, I can hardly believe the residency is over. To say I didn't want to leave would be an understatement. I've met countless people in Open Studio sessions, run workshops, trawled the NAL's comics collections, co-curated a display, worked with many different individuals and …

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The Playing Cards Project

This is more of a series of blog entries in one, since it is talking about the whole process of this project from beginning to end. Why not write the entries as the thing progresses? Well, one gets caught up in actually doing the thing! The idea came about while I was in the Prints and Drawings Study Room, researching depictions of magic for a story I was writing. I had been told that there was a large collection of playing cards and tarot cards in the Prints collections, along with various other material I might find useful, so I …

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Stories for Humans 3 – The End

Thanks to everyone who added work to the giant comic in the Stories for Humans display. I am hoping to get a digital version on the web, so that it will be possible to read the whole thing. Apologies to those I had to weed out! Non-sequiturs, rude pictures, and "I woz 'ere"s were summarily removed. This is the wall in its final state. It was sad to see the display taken down at the end of November. I have fond memories of walking past and watching students drawing from the comic pages on display, accosting them and asking what …

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