This exhibition celebrates the 30th anniversary of the cult science-fiction comic Starblazer (1979-1991), published in Dundee by DC Thomson.
Since the 1920s DC Thomson had been at the forefront of British comics publishing, but by the late 1970s children were starting to look elsewhere for entertainment. Although The Dandy and The Beano were still going strong, many of the traditional boys' papers like The Rover and The Wizard had ceased publication.
Science-fiction was the popular genre of the day - in the late 1970s Star Wars came to the cinemas and Blake's 7, Battlestar Galactica and Space 1999 were all new to TV screens, while long-running favourite Doctor Who was getting its highest ratings ever. DC Thomson's main rival, IPC Magazines, launched their own sci-fi comic, 2000AD in 1977, which was an immediate hit. At DC Thomson, editors Ian Chisholm and Jack Smith had both considered a sci-fi comic in 1976, but the idea was only given the go-ahead in September 1978.
Jack Smith was the first editor of Starblazer, followed by Bill Graham and Bill McLoughlin. In contrast to the multi- strip format of 2000AD, Starblazer was published in a twice-monthly pocket-sized edition like Commando, with a single story each issue. A national call for writers attracted young talent from around the country, including future comics superstar Grant Morrison.
This exhibition features original artwork on loan from DC Thomson's collection, both home-grown talent such as Ian Kennedy and Keith Robson, and international artists such as the Argentinian Enrique Alcatena.
On 28th June we launched the exhibition at the Dundee Literary's Festival's Comics Conference. Former editor Bill McLoughlin gave a fascinating tour round the show, followed by a talk with artist Keith Robson. Artists Ian Kennedy and Colin McNeil were also present at the event.