You are browsing the archive for 2011 February.

Was sitcom inspired by cartoons?

February 24, 2011 in News

A series of World War 2 cartoons that may have helped inspire British sitcom Dad’s Army have surfaced. The cartoons are part of a pamphlet published in 1945 about the Home Guard and featuring a bumbling group of ill-equipped soldiers. Writers Jimmy Perry and David Croft started to write the TV show – a classic – in 1968.

The artist, who remains a mystery despite the signature ‘Plum’ or ‘Plumley’, may also have been inspired himself by Bruce Bairnsfather‘s famous World War 1 cartoon “Well, if you knows of a better ‘ole, go to it.” for one of his creations shown above.

The pamphlet, Home Guard Humour was discovered by Campbell McCutcheon at a postcard fair and is being republished by Amberley Publishing.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Cartoonist patches things up

February 22, 2011 in News

Sometimes cartoonists find that their lovingly crafted drawings don’t look quite as intended when they appear in print.
Mr Meecher cartoon by Wilbur Dawbarn

When PCOer Wilbur Dawbarn opened the current issue of The Dandy, he was slightly confused by one of the frames in his strip “Mr Meecher, the Uncool Teacher”, above.

It seems that a Mr Meecher from a previous issue, the one on the left, made an unscheduled appearance, along with two speech bubbles from the old strip. There must have been a few confused young readers.

No-one at The Dandy seems to know exactly how this happened. But a solution can be found at Wilbur’s blog. Just as you can download “patches” to fix errant computers, so he has created a Mr Meecher patch, which is available to download.

Unlike computer patches though, this one requires a pair of scissors and a Pritt stick …

Simon’s Cat adopts a new home

February 21, 2011 in News

The UK Press Gazette reports today that the Mirror Group Newspapers have signed Simon Tofield, creator of internet cartoon sensation, Simon’s Cat to bring his regular cartoon feature to their products.

There is an interview with the four cat owning cartoonist in the Mirror here. You can also hear the man speaking in this video from the British International Comics Show of last autumn.

Bloghorn offers congratulations to Simon on the excellent news. It’s particularly good to see an internet cartoon finding its way back into a traditional market – and benefitting from its relationship with both forms of publishing.

Offence and context

February 16, 2011 in News

Bloghorn Opinion logo

Cartoons and offence go together as naturally as cartoons and laughter.

Reactions to cartoons depend greatly on the context in which the images are first seen – and this is usually out of the hands of the cartoonist or illustrator.

This week a national news publisher paired an image with a piece of writing by journalist Richard Littlejohn. It featured a church, a vicar, and a sign bearing the words ‘‘Poofters welcome here’’.

Because I’ve told you the drawing accompanied a column by the journalist and polemicist Littlejohn you may have a strong assumption about what the intention was here. Many people using the social networking site Twitter certainly did, and offence was quickly taken.

But the cartoonist, Gary, was satirising a real-life event, – where a B&B owner had put a sign with that wording in his window for a joke – and linking it with recent reports that gay civil partnerships may be given the status of marriage. That’s what cartoonists do, and should Gary have been expected not to use a word that had appeared in many news reports?

Press reports on the original issue in The Mirror and The Pink Paper.

Some of the offence was caused in part by the cartoon being taken out of context. This really matters in the digital world where communication of all sorts is shared and spread with incredible speed and usually without the context of its first publication.

The fact is that the only people who can tell you what the drawing means are each individual reader, and the maker. You can ask questions of the artist and the person who chose to pair the image with the words. You might also want to be clear about any business relationship between the artist and the commissioner, but any offence, or laughter, is in the eye of the beholder alone.

It’s a useful thing to bear in mind when reacting to visual communication of any sort and especially with powerful drawn content which is then shared through the  social media.

Please comment below if you would like. Bloghorn does moderate comments.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

Love and survival at charity exhibition

February 14, 2011 in News

Ronald Searle's Mrs Mole drawings

Valentine’s Day seems like an appropriate time to mention an exhibition of drawings created by a cartoonist out of love for his wife.

Les Très Riches Heures de Mrs Mole, which features cartoons by Ronald Searle drawn for his wife Monica during her chemotherapy, opens at the the Cartoon Museum in London this Thursday (February 17).

In 1969 Monica was diagnosed with breast cancer and given only a few months to live, but she was offered a course of experimental chemotherapy. Searle sought some way of supporting his wife during this time. “I have only my talent for drawing,” he said. “So I drew”.

He produced a series of 47 drawings, one for each treatment. As Monica lay on her sick bed in Paris the drawings transported her to the world of her alter-ego, Mrs Mole, who busily potters about a dream home in a Provençal village. “I would lie in bed, living the life he created in the pictures,” Monica said.

The complete 47 drawings, which were never originally intended for publication, will be on display. They follow Monica’s journey from 1969 to 1975, chronicling a story of survival against the odds.

The museum will be working with Breast Cancer Campaign, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Macmillan Cancer Support and Wellbeing of Women. Information on cancer, the work of the charities and how people can support them will be available in the gallery.

The exhibition, which was previously seen at the Foundling Museum, as reported on Bloghorn last month, runs until March 20

The female cartoonist who isn't

February 8, 2011 in Comment

Rachel Gold cartoonistThe world of cartooning is dominated by men, and political cartoons in particular seem to be almost exclusively a male preserve.

So there was much interest when a new political cartoonist called Rachel Gold (cartoon portrait, right) emerged in Austria, seemingly out of nowhere.

But all was not as it seemed. Rachel Gold is a pseudonym for a male cartoonist, Markus Szyszkowitz, who believes that a woman in this male-dominated world is allowed a more singular voice.

Read the full story at the Daryl Cagle Cartoon Blog

Cartooning on the Frontline

February 4, 2011 in News

Photograph: Antje Bormann

PCO member Martin Rowson delivered a talk on Caricatures and Commentary to the Frontline Club in London this week.

In discussion with Radio 4’s Laurie Taylor Martin spoke about subjects ranging from his caricatures of patrons at the Gay Hussar restaurant to the abolition of the Licensing Act in 1695 and taking in influences from William Hogarth, James Gillray and David Low on the way.

This was followed by a lively question and answer session where he fielded enquiries about how he deals with new political figures and the Danish Muhammed cartoons.

The talk can be seen in full (all one and a half hours of it) at the Frontline Club’s website.

Profile photo of Royston

by Royston

How one woman was saved by cartoons

February 1, 2011 in Comment

Here’s a great video from the New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly that shows how cartoons can make serious points and provide hearty laughs at the same time.

In an illustrated lecture for Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED), a non-profit organisation dedicated to “Ideas worth spreading”, which it makes available through talks posted on its website, Donnelly talks about how she found her identity as a woman using the medium of cartoons, while growing up in turbulent times.

Liza Donnelly cartoon
“I can’t decide what I’m going to be when I grow up — a good girl or a slut.”

You can read more here: Cartooning has been my saviour.

“I have lived the privileged life of an American, but nonetheless have felt great difficulty in figuring out who I am and why I am here. It may sound funny, but cartooning has been my saviour. And I believe that the art form is unique in its ability to open people’s eyes – and not just those of us who practise it.”

Donnelly certainly seems to have succeeded making people laugh as well as opening their eyes, check out the video for the response to her Sarah Palin cartoon, in particular.