A comic-strip history of Foyles

As part of the Comica Festival, which runs throughout the month in London, a host of graphic artists have created a comic-strip history of Foyles, which is being exhibited outside the venerable London bookshop.

Founding Foyles, by John Miers
Founding Foyles, by John Miers

Foyles is hosting a series of Comica events, including an appearance from Robert Crumb and an evening with Tamara Drewe author Posy Simmonds (for the full Comica schedule visit www.comicafestival.com).

'Our first shop', by Steven Appleby
‘Our first shop’, by Steven Appleby

For the Foyles strip, artists including Steven Appleby, John Miers and Rian Hughes have contributed panels to a timeline showing the history of Foyles from its foundation in 1903.

Christina Foyle, by Karrie Fransman
Christina Foyle, by Karrie Fransman

The work also imagines Foyles’ new home at 107-109 Charing Cross Road, formerly home to Central Saint Martin’s, which is being refurbished ahead of Foyles moving in in 2014.

Foyles in the war, by Krent Able
Foyles in the war, by Krent Able

The comic strip turns up some great tales of Foyles’ history. Miers relates how the shop was founded by brothers William and Gilbert Foyle, who were initially looking to sell off the books they bought for their failed civil service exams.

Suing the Pope, by Bryan Talbot
Suing the Pope, by Bryan Talbot

Krent Able looks at Foyles’ wartime history, when a bridge over a bomb crater in Charing Cross Road was dubbed ‘Foyle Bridge’, while Bryan Talbot reveals how Foyles unwittingly sued the pop in the 1940s (apparently for an unpaid book invoice).

The Foyles queuing system, by Oliver East
The Foyles queuing system, by Oliver East

Oliver East explains the complicated queuing system used by Foyles in the 1950s and ‘60s (which involved visiting three separate counters) and Warren Pleece shows how Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor managed to shoplift a copy of AE Houseman’s A Shropshire Lad from Foyles – right under the noses of the paparazzi.

Liz Taylor shoplifting, by Warren Pleece
Liz Taylor shoplifting, by Warren Pleece

The Comica History of Foyles is at 107-109 Charing Cross Road, London WC2 until the end of the month. To view all the panels visit www.johnmiers.com/Foylescomic. Comica runs until 30 November. For more information visit www.comicafestival.com.

The future of Foyles, by Rian Hughes
The future of Foyles, by Rian Hughes

The panels in situ
The panels in situ

The panels in situ
The panels in situ

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