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by Royston

The Round-up

September 10, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Detail from Scene & Heard on the hacking trial © David Ziggy Greene

Detail from Scene & Heard on the hacking trial © David Ziggy Greene. Click to enlarge

An exhibition of original art by Procartoonists.org member David Ziggy Greene, drawn for the reportage strip Scene & Heard, which has appeared in Private Eye since 2011, is at the Orbital Comics Gallery, 8 Great Newport Street, London, from 12 September until 10 October.

Entitled Scene & Hung, the exhibition ties in with the release of a book collection of Scene & Heard strips, described by Charlie Brooker as “as addictive as shelling and eating pistachio nuts”.

Meanwhile, PCO member Martin Rowson also has a collection out, called The Coalition Book, and is profiled by his local paper in south London.

Moose Kid Comics, the new venture by the cartoonist Jamie Smart and others, is taking over the Cartoon Museum in London for one afternoon only on 20 September, with workshops and talks by Smart, Gary Northfield and others. Booking is advisable: more details at the Cartoon Museum site.

BuzzFeed has a long piece, with lots of cartoons, “readers’ letters” and photos, on the unlikely rise, fall, and rise again of Viz comic.

Private Eye cartoon © Cluff

Private Eye cartoon © Cluff

An exhibition of cartoons, drawings and paintings by John Longstaff, better known as Cluff, is at the Crown Street Art Gallery in Darlington from 20 September until 13 November. Cluff has been the Northern Echo cartoonist since 1990 and is also seen regularly in magazines such as Private Eye.

The Echo has news of an exhibition of Matt cartoons at Nunnington Hall, near York, from 13 September until 2 November. The selling exhibition is organised by the Chris Beetles Gallery.

A few interesting articles from the US: The Atlantic has an interview with the influential political cartoonist Pat Oliphant; Comics Alliance has a career-spanning interview with Berkeley Breathed; and the Huffington Post talks to the Ren and Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi.

Everyone’s a cartoonist nowadays

January 6, 2014 in Comment, General, News

Google_Comic_Strip_Automation_©_Matthew_Buck_Hack_Cartoons_@procartoonists.org

© Matthew Buck Hack Cartoons @ Procartoonists.org

Regular readers of this blog will be unsurprised to learn that automation has struck once more with Google receiving a patent for the ‘‘self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications’’.

The advertising giant is following in the footsteps of other digital toolmakers such as Bitstrips.

Digital automation of cartoon formats for display is inevitable in a time of growing digital processing power, and it means that now everyone can be a cartoonist.

Procartoonists.org believes that quality will out, however.

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ procartoonists.org

Booting up a PC © Colin Thompson @ Procartoonists.org

The Round-up

November 10, 2013 in General, Links, News

© Mike Williams @Procartoonists.org

In the wake of recent disappointing decisions elsewhere in the mainstream press, it’s encouraging to see cartoons being celebrated this week in a major newspaper. The Independent is the latest to provide coverage of Private Eye’s new retrospective cartoon book, and PCO members feature prominently in the article, which includes quotes from Nick Newman and is accompanied by classic gags from Ken Pyne and Mike Williams (above), among others. Read the article here.

Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker’s cartoon editor, reveals the exhaustive lengths he and his staff go to in order to ensure cartoons used by the magazine bear no similarity to ones already used.

The latest Asterix book – and the first without co-creator Albert Uderzo wielding the pen – has launched to strong sales. Meanwhile, on this side of the Channel, Stephen Collins has received a nomination for his graphic novel, The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil, for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year. Hear from Collins and fellow strip cartoonist Tom Gauld in this video from the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Comic strips, of course, are nothing new – but cartoonists are always finding new ways to approach them.

 

Desperate Dandy hits hard times

August 14, 2012 in General, News

The future of The Dandy as a weekly printed comic appears to be in jeopardy. Its publisher says that no decision has been made, but Procartoonists.org understands that the comic is likely to be coming to an end in September.

The Dandy cover

The Dandy © DC Thomson

A Dandy cartoonist told us: “They emailed me last week saying that in all likelihood it would be ending in September and they were sad about it.

“For the last issue they are going to revive a whole load of old characters.”

First published by DC Thomson in December 1937, the comic is celebrating its 75th birthday this year.

Comics fans and creators have been rallying around online, and a #SaveTheDandy campaign is already under way on Twitter. Reaction to the news has been posted online by the Dandy cartoonists Jamie Smart and Phil Corbett. Many are passing around a link to a blog post written some months ago on praise of The Dandy, which reminds us that it is currently a vibrant and creative comic.

The Guardian media site reported yesterday that the comic is now selling 8,000 copies a week, down from two million in its heyday. Like all print media companies in the current climate, DC Thomson has been having problems.

Updated: 2pm, August 14

In the modern fashion there has been a lot of reaction online, notably with the #SaveTheDandy campaign. Of course, the single best way to do this is by buying the product but, as this excellent piece of work at Down the Tubes (derived from the Audited Bureau of Circulation figures) shows, the decline of print comic sales is a widespread and longstanding phenomenon.

You can see the comics historian Paul Gravett interviewed alongside cartoonist Gary Northfield at Sky News here.

Reaction from cartoonists and readers has varied from the sad to the conflicted. The latter not least about the business of the print industry which lies at the heart of this sad story.

Updated: 2pm 16th August. Publishers DC Thomson have confirmed The Dandy will cease print publication from December 2012. You can read their statement released using twitter, here.

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by Royston

Doctor Who at the Cartoon Museum

July 26, 2011 in Events

Doctor Who in Comics exhibitionAlmost as long as Doctor Who has been on — and off — our TV screens he has also been seen in his comics incarnation.

The world’s longest running sci-fi series began in late 1963 and the Doctor first appeared in cartoon form in TV Comic in the following year.

A new exhibition, Doctor Who in Comics: 1964-2011 brings together artwork featuring all eleven Doctors from publications including TV Comic, TV Century 21 and Doctor Who Magazine. Comic-strips were famously one of the mediums that kept the Doctor alive for the fans when the TV show was off the air for 16 years — yes, excepting Paul McGann’s one-off TV film, don’t write in! — between 1989 and 2005.

The show, which materialises at the Cartoon Museum in London on Wednesday, features work by many writers and artists including Brian Bolland, Dave Gibbons, Dicky Howett, Roger Langridge, David Lloyd, Pat Mills, Alan Moore and John Wagner. It looks set to be a family hit for all generations over the summer. Catch it before it dematerialises on October 30.

Artwork above by Paul Grist and James Offredi

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by Royston

Cartoons in surprising places

September 20, 2010 in Events

Boat shelter comic strips
Cartoons and comics strips can often be seen in some surprising places, but probably none more so than this boating shelter in Battersea Park, London.

The comic artists Sean Azzopardi, Joe Decie, John Cei Douglas, Ellen Lindner, Douglas Noble and Paul O’Connell drew eight different short comic strips about a fictional 1974 rock concert in the park. These have been enlarged and pasted on to the shelter and can be read in any order.

Cartoons outside the printed page do have to compete with some “real world” factors though. And in this case it’s not graffiti, as you might expect, but a staggeringly large colony of spiders!

The boating shelter strips accompany the Hypercomics exhibition which is at the nearby Pump House Gallery.

Dave McKean at Hypercomics
The show features four rooms by four artists, Adam Dant, Warren Pleece, Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, and Dave McKean, above.

It’s very much an experimental exhibition, with comic strip narratives spiralling off in all kinds of directions and intersecting with the building itself.

Like any experiment it’s not wholly successful, some of the strips are far to wordy to be exhibited on walls. But McKean’s room worked brilliantly and was the stand-out for me, telling a compelling story with beautifully drawn comic frames alongside sculptures, photography and masks.

Hurry if you want to see this show though: it finishes on Sunday, September 26: Hypercomics: The Shapes of Comics to Come.

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by Royston

Alex's thoughts turn to love

June 3, 2010 in News

Alex in Love
An exhibition entitled Alex in Love opens today at the Last Tuesday Society in East London, and runs until June 18.

Via a selection of comic strips from The Independent and The Daily Telegraph, from 1987 to the present day, Alex will divulge some of the wisdom and expertise he has acquired on the art of love. The infamous City boy character, created by Charles Peattie and Russell Taylor, has been married for 20 years, we are told, though that does include four affairs and a career’s worth of strip-club expenses claims.

The Last Tuesday Society, at 11 Mare Street, Hackney – a gallery which boasts a quirky shop selling a range of exotic objects from two-headed teddy bears to mummified penises – is open Wed-Sun, 12-7pm. The nearest Tube station is Bethnal Green.

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by Royston

Cartoonist has a go at cartoonists

December 3, 2008 in General

Cartoonist Stephan Pastis has used his newspaper comic strip Pearls Before Swine to take a very funny swipe at cartoonists who peddle what he sees as hackneyed and dated gags about subjects such as golf, henpecked husbands and “hot secretaries”. Bloghorn says, feel free to voice your objections to either side of the argument in comments, below.

You can see the strip here. Thanks to Mike Lynch.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

John Jensen goes jellybeans over Stardust

October 23, 2008 in General

There are cartoon fossickers who dig and delve among old comics – I’m talking American comics, circa late 1930s and early 1940s, looking for, and still finding, strange treasures and curios. Like, for example, Stardust, Fantomah, Buzz Crandall of the Space Patrol and, finally, Big Red McLane of the Northwoods. The link between them is the late Fletcher Hanks, cartoonist, strip artist and, according to R. Crumb, “a twisted dude”. He should know.
The comic Stardust features in the Collected works of Fletcher Hanks reviewed here by PCOer John Jensen.

Gary Panter, an American illustrator and a former denizen of the psychedelic era but now a hugely successful graphics person wrote the following for the jacket blurb of the collection I am about to review for you.

“Fletcher Hanks was this old guy back in the old days who made magic jellybeans. The magic jellybeans looked like comics, but they were magic jellybeans.”

If you ever see the strips you’ll know that a hammer has smacked a nail firmly on its head. Stardust is the biggest jellybean of them all. One more quotation, this from one of the strips, written just prior to Germany starting off on World War Two:

“Stardust [he lives on his own asteroid] whose vast knowledge of interplanetary science has made him the most remarkable man that ever lived, devotes his abilities to crime-busting …”

In one story, our super-sized, booming voiced hero uses a boomerang ray; a fusing ray, his reducing ray and, finally, his transporting ray. In other strips he makes himself invisible, travels faster than the speed of light and has an active anti-gravity ray, a magnetic ray, a suspending ray and a disintegrating ray – the ray doesn’t disintegrate but other things do!

His mental power stops thugs from shooting at him while, also under his belt – you should see his belt! – there is an attractor beam and an agitator ray. The villains, always grotesque and quite mad, are invariably captured after which they meet their hideous eternal variegated dooms. No doubt Stardust celebrates victory with his very own Hip Hip Hoo Ray.

Fantomah, the Mystery Woman of the Jungle, had many edgy, disconcerting powers of her own, including the ability when cross, of turning her face into a skull. Very useful in a supermarket queue I would guess.

Another curious point about the anthology is that the Afterword is a strip written and drawn by Paul Karasik, who met and was slightly shocked by the artist’s son who apparently hated his Dad. Hanks was allegedly a drunkard, a liar and, to cap it all a deadbeat who froze to death on a park bench. He also painted ducks in a pond.

The Comics of Fletcher Hanks “I SHALL DESTROY ALL CIVILIZED PLANETS!” was recently published by Fantagraphic Books. If you’re a Knockout or Beano fan you might not care for, or about, this extraordinary gathering of super surreals but if, like me, you grew up with American comics you’ll be full of beans. Jellybeans.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent

Cartoon review: Phill Jupitus on Radio 4

July 24, 2008 in General

Strip by comedian and wannabe cartoonist Phill Jupitus

PCOer Neil Dishington reviews Comic Love, Phill Jupitus’s BBC Radio Four show in praise of newspaper comic strips

Apparently Phill Jupitus is a thwarted cartoonist.

Aren’t we all?

I should admit that he is not my favourite comedian, and I am not a particular fan of comic strips, as opposed to stand-alone cartoon jokes.

Much of what Jupitus had to say in his Radio 4 show seemed like a repeat of what most cartoonists talk about when they get together: lack of markets and indifferent editors.

The interviewees in the show were able to speak from strength – Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Steve Bell (If), Peattie and Taylor (Alex). But I always think that artists like this have become part of the establishment they lampoon. Is it just as easy to get stuck into royalty, celebs and the City of London when you are selling strips in umpteen countries around the world and your stuff is syndicated all over the place?

I do think Steve Bell has kept his integrity, but I wonder how much attention people pay to “cartoonists with attitude”? We, as a nation, do seem happy to accept bland publishable stuff as the norm.

I did like some of the comments by the cartoonists interviewed by Jupitus, such as Steve Bell’s call for a “missionary zeal” in making cartoons which have something to say. In contrast, I was not so keen to hear that the future of cartoons will be online.

Overall, I found the programme bland, smug and much of it decidedly familiar. A real time-filler. It was lazy broadcasting and lazy journalism.

And lo and behold, in the Guardian newspaper of July 22, an article by Jupitus retelling the same stuff as the programme, accompanied by a cartoon strip drawn by … celebrity cartoonist Phill Jupitus.

Thanks for the review Neil. Bloghorn says click D for Dishington.

The BBCs Listen again facility is here – and the program will be online until Saturday 26th July.

Full-time British cartoon talent