Jamie Anderson reveals what’s in store at The Cartoon Museum’s Gerry Anderson Exhibition

Anderson Entertainment’s MD, Jamie Anderson, discusses the art of Gerry Anderson brands

Jamie, welcome back… As you’re an always-welcome guest, people can read about some of your other brand extensions here and here… But what’s been keeping you busy recently?
What hasn’t?! Our publishing venture continues apace with some amazing stuff coming up in the next few years. We’re expanding our ranges and finding new ways to connect with fans. We’ve launched an app since we last spoke and have 15k downloads… Our Instagram audience is growing like crazy, we’ve released the concert and documentary on physical and digital… And there’s so much more to come!

Strewth, Jamie! That’s like a whole article in one paragraph. We could wrap it up there! Let’s press on; see if I can keep pace… You have an interesting project launching tomorrow; March 3rd… The Cartoon Museum in London is exhibiting art spanning Gerry Anderson’s career. What can visitors discover?
This capsule exhibition is a lovely addition to the Cartoon Museum’s permanent and visiting material. It gives a compact journey through decades of expanded Anderson media in comics form! We’ve got original pages from multiple shows, and a Stingray miniature – all in a beautifully curated capsule presentation.

For those who may not know, TV Century 21 had a really terrific conceit… It wasn’t simply presented as a comic, was it? Tell us about that!
You’re right! It wasn’t ‘just’ a comic. It was a newspaper from the future! A lovely idea that sold over a million copies a week at its height.

Wow, that’s actually quite a circulation! I mean… For context, that’s a good deal bigger than most daily newspapers today.
Right… Incredible stuff. But the strips inside were so gorgeous. They not only expanded the worlds of what kids were seeing on TV, but also introduced its audience to shows that weren’t out yet. What a genius idea!

Jamie Anderson, The Cartoon Museum, Gerry Anderson
No argument from me! The idea of extending TV brands into comics always intrigues me… Things that would be very difficult to show on screen – if not impossible – can feature much more easily in artwork. In what ways did knowing that change the way people wrote for your brands in comics, do you think?

There are two sides to this… Firstly, yes: without budgetary or practical limitations, writers could really go for it; creating enormous exciting stories with vast crowd scenes, action, adventure and everything you’d hope for from an Anderson story.

And what’s the “But…”? What’s the trade off for that?
Sometimes, I think writers and artists could be so disconnected from the shows that things happened that were very out of character, out of world, and just plain out there! But it all added to the depth and breadth of stories that could be told for brands like Thunderbirds, Stingray and Fireball XL5!

The Cartoon Museum, Gerry Anderson, Jamie Anderson
The writers are almost too free… Is that it?

Yes, I guess the more freedom you have, the more potential there is to go ‘off-brand’. Many of the writers and artists had little reference to work with and being ‘canon’ wasn’t a think like it is today! So… Things go a little off piste from time to time!

Which, in terms of looking back, makes for a much more interesting and colourful history! And to that point, Gerry Anderson’s Century 21 Exhibition opens at the London Cartoon Museum from tomorrow, March 3rd… Until when does it run?
Until 4th June! So plenty of time for you to pop down and visit! We’ve also created a video series documenting the creation and evolution of TV21 featuring Keith Shackleton – the mind behind the comic – which is being released weekly on our YouTube channel to celebrate the exhibition.

Where can we see that, Jamie? We’ll include a link…
You can see the series at https://andr.sn/keith

Wonderful – listen, I know how busy you are prepping for the opening. I’m hoping to come along on the 2nd for the preview, but in the meantime, thank you so much for squeezing us in.

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