Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Punch and the Judies

May 10, 2017 in General

© Sally Artz and Punch Archives

A PCO EXCLUSIVE from The Surreal McCoy:

The March 1972 edition of Punch magazine was billed as the New Women’s issue. In a nod to the feminist movement, it featured an all-women cast of writers, editors and cartoonists. The PCO’s very own Sally Artz was initially commissioned to produce a full colour front cover but it was relegated to an inside page with the cover going instead to Michael ffolkes.

“…More Donald McGill than Punch with a huge, bosomy woman (accompanied by tiny hen-pecked husband) being shown the wine-label, in a restaurant, by the leering wine waiter. We were all pretty pissed-off by the whole MCP [male chauvinist pig] attitude. How times change!” Sally Artz

You can read Barbara Castle’s article from the same issue about the controversy:

Michael ffolkes’ Punch cover ©Punch Archives




Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Umbrage and umbrellas on World Press Freedom Day

May 4, 2017 in General

The Surreal McCoy reports:

A wet Wednesday afternoon and a gathering of Amnesty, English Pen, CRNI,Turkish journalists and representatives from the PCO outside the Turkish Embassy in London. It was World Press Freedom Day and we were here to protest the ongoing treatment of Turkish journalists and specifically for the PCO, the cartoonist Musa Kart. Held without charge for over five months he was finally charged with “abusing trust” and “helping an armed terrorist organisation without being a member”, carrying a maximum sentence of 29 years in prison. The first hearing for his case is due on 24th July. He will have spent nine months in prison by then.


PCO members, and other cartoonists all around the world, posted and tweeted selfies with the hashtag #FreeTurkeyMedia. Some cartoons were made into placards, sending simple yet powerful messages. Many thanks to all our members who donated their work.


More on Musa Kart from CRNI


Read the speech Musa Kart’s wife gave at the European Parliament

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

The Inking Woman

May 2, 2017 in General


Photo courtesy of Cath Tate Cards

The Surreal McCoy writes:

At long last the legacy of women cartoonists and comic artists is celebrated at the Cartoon Museum in London in a wide-ranging exhibition called The Inking Woman.

Bringing together original artwork spanning 250 years, from 18th century caricatures to modern graphic novels, the exhibition is a celebration of the vibrancy and variety of women’s cartoon and comic expression in the UK. It also includes the PCO’s very own Sally Artz, Kate Charlesworth and The Surreal McCoy. With plenty of editorial and strip cartoons from magazines and newspapers, postcards, graphic novels, comics, digital comics and zines as well as panel gags, it is the largest exhibition of its kind to date.


The exhibition runs from now until the 23rd July 2017 at the Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London WC1A 2HH


Visit The Cartoon Museum website

Millennium Basin by Kate Charlesworth (originally published by the Guardian)

Excerpt from a graphic memoir by Kate Charlesworth (work in progress)


Rejected Punch cover 1972 by Sally Artz


The Surreal McCoy cartoon originally published by Prospect magazine

Sally Artz portfolio

Kate Charlesworth portfolio

The Surreal McCoy portfolio



A second helping of Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

May 1, 2017 in General

Rupert Besley takes up from where Bill Stott left off

Another fine Shrewsbury down the hatch, all exactly as beautifully put in the previous blog piece. What follows here is just an excuse to bung up more photos.

The Food & Drink theme of this, the 14th Cartoon Festival at Shrewsbury, went down a treat. It was something cartoonists could all get their teeth into, with exhibition entries overspilling the frames and walls of the excellent Bear Steps Gallery and into Theatre Severn.

On from the Gallery, eyes peeled down Grope Lane, to the Unitarian Church, where Tony Husband held us transfixed by the story of his latest book, ‘From a Dark Place’, done with son Paul. It’s hard to imagine how any such tale could be better conveyed – or anti-addiction cause better promoted – than through the likes of cartoons by Tony. Lovers of these were treated to more next day, as a Big Board of Husband classics took shape in The Square.

Tony Husband’s cartoon smörgås-board. Photo © Rupert Besley

I’ll own up next to being somewhat daunted by the prospect of having to fill a Big Board that could stand alongside those underway from Dean Alston, Steve Best, Wilbur Dawbarn, Noel Ford, Clive Goddard, John Landers, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Will Rudling and Bill Stott. And I’m bound to have missed out someone, apologies.

Elsewhere, animation workshops were in full swing and star turn Hunt Emerson present to speak on Comics of the Weird and Frankly Unbelievable. Back in The Square, the top team of ace caricaturists (Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Alex Hughes, Helen Pointer, John Roberts) were busy drawing an admiring crowd. The Melodrawma was a feast of quickfire drawing, fast-fingered guitar and a lot of pun.

Cooking up the Melowdrawma , Wilbur Dawbarn, Royston Robertson, Hunt Emerson and Noel Ford. Photo © Maria Hughes

And, all the while, Glenn Marshall slaved over the deep-fat fryer, churning out takeaway gags by the plateful.

That genius Glenn Marshall (ED: Who wrote this?). Photo © Jac Lee

The day ended with dinner at The Lion (quite hard to deal with, given the dress code).

Some selfie-portraits. Photo © Glenn Marshall

And then the threatened uke attack, long into the night. ‘More!’ they cried, from bedrooms above. Well, possibly.

Part of the Ukulele ensemble, John Landers watches Wilbur Dawbarn & Royston Robertson with Alex Hughes and songstress Maria Hughes. Photo © Steve Bright

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Leo Baxendale, the master of anarchic comic book fun, dies aged 86

April 27, 2017 in General

The adjective ‘legendary’, bestowed too cheaply upon too many, finds a truly worthy recipient in the man who brought utter joy to generations of British children with his brilliant creations, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.

Leo Baxendale’s wonderfully inventive comic strips drew the reader into a world where anything was possible and everything rib-achingly funny. His anarchic humour chimed with children of all ages and the vibrant penmanship inspired countless comics artists.

The hit list included other classic strips Little Plum, The Three Bears and Lord Snooty. The comics historian Denis Gifford has called him “the most influential and most imitated comics artist of modern times”.

The pressure of unrelenting deadlines took its toll on Baxendale and in 1962 he walked out on DC Thompson (a seven year legal rights battle with the Beano publisher was to follow) and found work two years later with Wham! and Smash! comics in London.

Less well known, perhaps, was his involvement in the activist newsletter the Strategic Commentary, campaigning against the US’s involvement in the Vietnam war. Noam Chomsky was his first subscriber.

Baxendale also founded the publishing house Reaper Books in the late eighties and continued to work in comics before retiring in 1992 to concentrate on publishing books. He was inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame in 2013.

He died from cancer on Tuesday 25th April.

Read James Heartfield’s obituary here on the spiked website

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival review served up.

April 27, 2017 in General


Photo ©Jac Lee

Report by Bill Stott:

Sadly, I could only attend for the Saturday session because I had to get back for my venerable dog, but it was a cracking day’s cartooning and caricaturing nonetheless. Amazingly, the A49/41 were almost lorry – free and the only real hold-up was courtesy of a nitwit in a woolly hat piloting a Nissan Micra. But I got to The Lion in time to hear Roger P deliver the briefing. Its been a couple of years since I was at The Lion and I’d forgotten how much I like it. It has none of the anodyne anonymity of “corporate identity” and remains an ancient, creaky one-off.

Steve Bright caricaturing & covering up that haircut. Photo ©Jac Lee

Briefing done, I walked up to the Market Square with Glenn Marshall who was weighed down with all manner of humour tackle – so to speak – but more of that later. Tireless Bill McCabe and helpers were busy finishing Big Board surfaces and the caricaturing tent/marquee/thing – which was full all afternoon. Despite quite a few of those already there having been on curry duty on Friday evening, nobody looked ill and Brighty appeared sporting what can only be described as an extreme haircut. A ginger gooseberry came to mind. But pretty quickly, Brighty, along with FIVE other caricaturists was hard at it, eliciting songs of praise from the public. “Look ! He’s made it look like ME !” Well of course he has, you silly youth.

Dean Alston’s dog’s dinner. Photo ©Jac Lee

Noel Ford’s food mountain. Photo ©Jac Lee

Clive Goddard has a Bisto moment. Photo ©Rupert Besley

Big Boards came on apace. Fastest was probably Dean Alston, the well-known professional Australian, whilst the aforementioned Michelin Marshall was busy turning out cartoon meals, as Noel Ford drew a six foot high pile of beans, eggs, sausage and chips. Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of listening to what the public say behind me. This year’s winner was from him to her, as in ; “Well yes, I suppose it is quite good, but somebody probably tells them what to draw.”

A small army of helpers kept us supplied with tea and coffee of various colours, whilst really capable local musicians filled the Square with songs we all knew some of the words to. My favourite was the Banjo/Ukulele Lady. That’s a person, not a song.

And all of this with no financial help from The Council. They’re broke. Thanks Tories. All the cartoonists, caricaturists and musicians did it for free. Were there any UK publishers present ? No, there were not. They really don’t know what they’re missing.

Bill McCabe’s pizza arrives. Photo ©Jac Lee

Finally – for me at any rate, because as soon as we’d all finished I had to zoom back up the A41, the PCO made a presentation to Bill McCabe who has been ever-present almost from day one sorting stuff. His award was for “services to cartooning”. I think he was pleasantly surprised. The presentation item was an oh-so-tasteful crystal –ish block thing which weighed half-a ton. “

Roget Penwill & Noel Ford, the head chefs for this years Melodrawma. Photo ©Jac Lee

Hunt Emerson, Royston Robertson and a bit of Wilbur Dawbarn. The trio cooked up the Melodrawma side dish. Photo ©Jac Lee 

We’re indebted to photographer and cartoon doodler Jac Lee for most of the images. (More can be seen on his link)

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Update on Eaten Fish: CRNI statement

April 25, 2017 in General

© Eaten Fish

The CRNI statement in full:

The Manus Regional Processing Centre, Papua New Guinea has been making headlines again in recent weeks: firstly on Good Friday when prolonged gun fire on the camp’s perimeter aimed at detainees’ accommodation was the apparent result of a disagreement with locals over a football match; secondly for outrageous comments made by Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton about the same incident; and lastly after a meeting between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Vice President Mike Pence indicated that the USA would indeed honour the refugee relocation agreement made in the final days of the Obama administration.

An apparent reversal of fortune – President Donald Trump had famously described the deal as “dumb” and promised to re-examine its merits – sounds like good news for the Manus detainees, including Eaten Fish, the 2016 winner of our Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award.

However it is worth remembering that Eaten Fish’s refugee status has never been recognised, making him ineligible for any help that the USA might offer and that in any case comes only after lengthy and exhaustive “extreme vetting”, the kind of process during which he would certainly fail to give an adequate account of himself due to his diverse mental health problems.

This raises the question of what happens next since the camp is set to close before the end of the year. Eaten Fish exists in an ill-defined legal category, officially notified by the authorities of their intent to repatriate him to Iran months ago but in all likelihood facing a future as a prisoner on PNG. One possibility is transfer to a new facility that we understand is being planned in Port Moresby. Its Bomana Prison already houses several former detainees.

We asked Janet Galbraith of the Writing Through Fences project for her assessment and she was frank about the degree to which the odds are stacked against Eaten Fish, saying that even the best intended and well-resourced organisations’ help is rendered “disorganised and ineffective” against “determined politicians’ cruel policies, an apathetic and increasingly racist public and corrupted media.”

A report that ran recently in The Age and for which Janet provided information gives an accurate depiction of life on Manus for Eaten Fish’s compatriots and the many hundreds of men who have endured a unique, very modern and seemingly intractable method of torture over the last four years. The testimonies of journalist Behrouz Boochani, comedian and children’s entertainer Mehdi Savari, and Loghman Sawari – like Eaten Fish just a boy when he arrived on the island – are utterly heartbreaking.

And as for Eaten Fish, we call again for the only humane outcome after suffering such acute institutionalised abuse: immediate asylum on mainland Australia.

Visit the CRNI website here

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

“In my country I was threatened because of my works”

April 25, 2017 in General


© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini, Iranian author and caricaturist left his country two years ago. He left because of daily threats and pressures from the Revolutionary Guards and some of Iranian security forces.

The reason? Publication of some of his cartoons in well-known journals and newspapers of Iran such as Sanat va Toseh and Sharherwand. One particular cartoon, drawn when Obama met the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, depicted two hands holding the US and Iranian flags, forming the dove of peace. Meysam was beaten up by unknown assailants who kept asking him why he had put the US flag over Iran’s flag and why the Iranian character had no beard. Then one of his abstract paintings intended for display at the Peace Museum was destroyed. He was told by security forces that the single eye in the painting was a symbol of Judaism and Israel and therefore could not be shown.

© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

He has lived in fear for most of his life, harassed and threatened with death by men loyal to the Revolutionary guards (who he says probably carried out the beatings). Two years ago he fled Iran along with his wife. They now live in Turkey where, in poor health, he is struggling to find work. His supporters are now lobbying the United Nations for relocation to a safe country.

© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

Visit the CRNI website to learn more about Meysam and other cartoonists in danger

Sign the petition here

Meysam’s Facebook page

Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Tasty fare on offer at this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

April 17, 2017 in General

© Wilbur Dawbarn

The 14th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival theme is ‘Food and Drink’, and cartoonists will be descending upon the picturesque market town to spread fun and laughter wherever they go.

On Saturday 22nd April, for example, The Square will be populated by the finest talents these islands can offer.

The caricaturists line-up boasts an outstanding array of talent, namely: Alex Hughes, Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Helen Pointer and John Roberts, all of whom will delighting locals and visitors alike with their portraits.

Alex Hughes, steampunk caricaturist outfit was enough to, er, draw a crowd

Alex Hughes. Caricaturist par excellence, goggles wearer nonpareil

Then there are the ‘Big Boards’, theme-related gag cartoons drawn on a gargantuan scale. This year’s Big Guns will be: Rupert Besley, Steve Best, Noel Ford, Clive Goddard, John Landers, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Bill Stott, William Rudling, Wilbur Dawbarn and Tony Husband.

Rupert Besley starts from the corner

Rupert Besley goes big

If you’re feeling peckish you can visit Glenn Marshall’s Fast Food Takeaway Van – also in the Square – to order your cartoon food and have it drawn and delivered on a plate, instantly! (See quick appetiser below.)


© Glenn Marshall

And this year’s Melodrawma (to be performed in the afternoon) features secret culinary connections to well-known historical figures and will be illustrated by Royston Robertson, Wilbur Dawbarn and Hunt Emerson, narrated by Roger Penwill, with musical accompaniment by Noel Ford.

Sadly, the Slade reunion will not be taking place this year

Tony Husband will also be at the Unitarian Church on Friday 21st April, giving a talk on ‘From a Dark Place’, a book he has co-written with his son, Paul. This starts at 8pm. The following day you can catch Hunt Emerson at The Central, and his talk gets underway at 1.30pm.

For a full list events visit The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival site.


Profile photo of Jonesy

by Jonesy

Meet Clare Pattinson, our new associate member

April 17, 2017 in General

© Clare Pattinson

Clare is a cartoonist, illustrator, automata maker, animator, ceramicist, plumber, harmonica player, and social worker…

Drawing cartoons for 40 years, she has scribbled on the insides of hundreds of empty cereal packets, disused crumpled envelopes, concrete pavements and in the condensation of large glass windows. As yet, she hasn’t had volumes of work published, since sending windowpanes and paving slabs in the post to art editors has been a shattering and unsuccessful enterprise. Armed now with realms of photocopy paper, a Wacom tablet and computer, Clare plans to take a more traditional route into getting her cartoons ‘out there’ this year.

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

Clare has exhibited in major shows in the UK and is a member of The British Toymaker’s Guild. Her automata has  been described as 3D cartooning with a bit of mechanics thrown in. She is a QEST Alumni Scholar for her automata, and has enjoyed watching Prince Charles play with her work – more of which can be seen here.