Yesterday saw the opening of the To End All Wars exhibition at the Pen’rallt gallery bookshop in Machynlleth.
Featuring pages from the book, as well as the original cover drawing and examples of the process the artists and writers went through in crafting their stories, the opening was attended by TEAW co-editor Jonathan Clode and cover artist Liz Waterhouse. Given that the exhibition is in Mid-Wales, there is a great deal of interest in the story of poet Hedd Wyn, told by JC in The Black Chair. As well as featuring the whole story, the exhibit also includes notes from JC and artist Catherine Pape. JC introduced the book and the story of Hedd Wyn to the guests, who were then treated to a dramatised reading of The Black Chair script by local actors, followed by a roll call of the local soldiers who never returned from the front.
Initially unsure of how a comic script might translate to a live reading, JC was thrilled to hear it brought to life, reporting that the bookshop sold out of their copies of TEAW shortly thereafter. He also informed us that it was encouraging to see just how many people were fascinated by the process of how the book was made and how exactly one brings a comic book to life. As well as putting on a fine display, the good folks at the Pen’rallt bookshop were also able to challenge people’s perceptions of what a comic book can be and open up the medium to them in a way they’d perhaps not previously experienced.
The exhibition runs until early October, and the town itself is well worth a visit.