Review: Comics Takeover Day

In the creative hub of Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley, Seven Stories was taken over for one Saturday only by comic book artists and their characters. The National Centre for Children’s Books one-off ‘Comic Takeover Day’ invited visitors to meet the artists, their work and gain insight into the creative process behind the pages of some best loved comic books.

At centre of the event was Seven Stories’ latest exhibition ‘Comics: Explore and Create Comic Art’. Unlike most ‘look- don’t touch’ exhibitions; Seven Stories puts children and their imaginations at the forefront. The exhibition is divided into ‘Story’, ‘Characters’, ‘Setting’, ‘Props and Powers,’ breaking down the creative process of a comic artist in a way that’s both accessible and interactive to the museum’s young visitors.

Every section is designed to spark children’s imagination; spin the wheel to find out your super power, pick your setting: the pre-historic ages or outer-space? Then dress up in the costumes provided to become the hero of your own story. The event finds innovative ways of engaging children’s creativity and encourages them to channel this creative stimulus into their own comic art in the drawing space at the end of the exhibition.  For older visitors too, there’s an impressive display vintage artwork, from original 1940s drawings of Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx, to artwork by Marvel and DC comic artist Ian Churchill.

Upstairs in the museum’s cosy ‘Attic’ room, families are invited to watch comic inspired performances. One story-telling session imagines the characters of a comic book coming to life, leaving the panels of the fictional stories and creating havoc in the real world. Downstairs in the Character Creation Lab, children and adults alike had the opportunity to make and share their own comics, make superhero masks and meet some incredible artists who could bring their ideas to life in great sketches. Overall, Seven Stories offers a great day of family fun, with activities appealing to children of all age ranges as well as their parents. Hopefully, today’s event has inspired a new generation of budding comic artists or, at the very least, a new following of comic book fans.