It was lovely to get into the cool of the National Maritime Museum's lecture theatre and to be greeted by Paul Gravett who, recognising me from Bristol, introduced me to Benoit Peeters. The first book I bought about Tintin, which introduced me to the man behind the comic (Herge), was Peeters' 'Tintin and the World of Herge', so it was a bit of thrill to meet him.
The discussion was based around a series of slides that charted something of a history of comic strips from Hogarth and Topfler, through McCay and Frank King, up to Eisner, Spiegelman and Ware. Both Paul and Benoit are hugely knowledgeable and interesting with their views, and we really could have done with another hour of this. In fact the slides had to be cut short due to time. The last half hour was taken up by the showing (premiere, indeed) of Peeters' first 'Comix' documentary, this one focusing on Art Speigelman and his 'In the Shadow of No Towers' strip. It was very good indeed, and I hope to see more. After that, Benoit stayed to answer some questions... there were only 10 or 12 of us making up the audience, and three questions were asked, one about Herge and Tchang, one about new creators turning back to early comics for inspiration (me), and one about America becoming more accepting of comics as a medium. It was definitely worth the trip.
After that we met up with some friends and walked into Greenwich park - I took three photos from the Observatory, and put them together (see below). In the evening we had dinner and stayed to watch the football before heading back to East Grinstead.
Sweeping from left to right includes St Paul's Cathedral, the 'Gherkin' tower, Canary Wharf tower, Greenwich power station and the Millennium Dome. The National Maritime Museum sits in the foreground.