You are browsing the archive for comics.

The Round-up: A comics special

February 17, 2014 in Events, General, Links, News

Comics are coming to the British Library © Dave Gibbons

Comics are coming to the British Library © Dave Gibbons @ Procartoonists.org

Kasia Kowalska presents a Round-up focusing on comics this week:

The British Library is about to embark on a period of anarchy and rebellion – this summer it will host the largest exhibition of comic art ever held in Britain. Comics Unmasked: Art & Anarchy in the UK will cover comics from Victorian times through to the classics of today. The Forbidden Planet blog and The Guardian have more.

One of the myths the exhibition promises to dispel is that comics are only for boys. This is a sore subject for Noelle Stevenson, the co-writer of the comic Lumberjanes, who got fed up with comic shops that exclude women readers.

But not everyone may be thrilled to hear of the exhibition. The comics writer Alan Moore said recently that it is a “cultural catastrophe” that comic characters from the 20th century have such a high-profle now, and Jonathan Jones wonders should adults even be reading comicsMeanwhile, Vishavjit Singh takes on cultural prejudice in Captain America’s homeland

According to Bryan Talbot, the author of the award-winning Alice in Sunderland, “graphic novels are the only area of book sales which is actually growing”. He talks to the Sunderland Echo about the first Sunderland Comic Con, which will take place in August this year.

October Jones train cartoon

Comic fun on the train © October Jones @ Procartoonists.org

Marvel, too, is responding to this phenomenon by opening up its massive archive of more than 8,000 comic characters to independent developers. Marvel comics turned out to be a sure source of inspiration, above,  to the illustrator Joe Butcher – pen name October Jones – on his train journey in Birmingham.

Finally, fans of the art form get to have their say on the best of the crop in this year’s British Comics Awards, as the nominations are now open.

The Round-up

August 11, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

 

© Kipper Williams @Procartoonists.org

Above: with the Duchamp in Herne Bay festivities now behind us, there’s just room for this cartoon by Kipper Williams – featuring the names of participating cartoonists, many of whom are among our membership. The original is hanging in a gallery space in the Kent seaside town, as part of an exhibition of art cartoons to tie in with the celebrations.

Alexander Matthews, a cartoonist for The Beano and member of Procartoonists.org, has started a campaign to improve the quality of children’s comics by making them more reliant on great content and less on cover-mounted freebies. He is suggesting a change to the way in which free gifts are treated under VAT rules, and is seeking support for the campaign – which he believes would benefit comic fans and cash-strapped parents alike. Read more on Alex’s blog.

Another PCO member, Tony Husband, has had cartoons about his father’s dementia tweeted to millions, courtesy of Stephen Fry. See the cartoons here, here and here. Fry also wrote the introduction for I Nearly Died Laughing, a collection of Tony’s gag cartoons that was published last year.

Looking ahead to October, Sue Grayson Ford of The Campaign for Drawing writes about what to expect from this year’s Big Draw, and how to take part.

In an interview for Truthout, political cartoonist Matt Bors discusses his influences, the dangers of on-spec work, and the value of comics journalism. Read it here.

And finally, The New Yorker’s Bob Mankoff looks at what is often considered to be one of the hardest forms of cartoon to master: the captionless gag.

The Round-up

December 22, 2012 in General, News

© Jamie Smart – Fumboo.org @ Procartoonists.org

They said it would be the end of the world, but they were wrong … The Dandy is still with us (albeit in digital form), as mentioned here last week. There is, however, a documentary on 75 years of the comic, Just Dandy, showing on BBC One on New Year’s Eve, featuring contributions from the likes of Frank Skinner, Brian Cox, Bill Paterson and Nick Park. The programme is only being shown in Scotland, sadly but perhaps it will turn up on the iPlayer.

Following on from last week’s series of articles in the New Statesman celebrating British comics, the Economist chips in with an article on the rise of the webcomic, whilst their editorial cartoonist Kevin ‘KAL’ Kallaugher reflects on 35 years of drawing for the magazine.

For another perspective on the state of British comics check out Dandy contributor Jamie Smart’s blog post “I love stupid comics”.

Less happily, The Guardian reports the death of its longtime cartoonist and illustrator Peter Clarke.

 

Avatar of Royston

by Royston

Comics in running for book prize

November 21, 2012 in General, News

Ripples were sent through the world of book publishing last night when it was announced that the shortlist for the Costa Book Prize features not one, but two graphic novels.

Days of the Bagnold Summer

Days of the Bagnold Summer © Joff Winterhart

Joff Winterhart’s Days of the Bagnold Summer, above, will compete against Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies, the winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, in the novel category. Mary and Bryan Talbot are nominated in the biography category for Dotter of her Father’s Eyes.

Day’s of the Bagnold Summer (review here) is the story of a difficult mother-son relationship. Winterhart is a former runner-up in the Observer-Jonathan Cape Graphic Short Story Prize

Dotter of her Father's Eyes

Dotter of her Father's Eyes © Mary and Bryan Talbot

Dotter Of Her Father’s Eyes (review), above, written by Mary M. Talbot and illustrated by her husband, the acclaimed comics artist Bryan Talbot, is part memoir of the author’s own life and part biography of James Joyce’s troubled daughter.

The Costas recognise the most enjoyable books in five categories – novel, first novel, biography, poetry and children’s book – by writers in the UK and Ireland. An overall winner, across all categories, is also announced.

Winners in the five categories, who each receive £5,000, will be announced on 2 January. The overall winner will receive £30,000 and will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 29 January. See the full shortlist at the Costa Book Awards website.

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.

Avatar of Royston

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

A degree of ignorance about drawing

June 17, 2011 in Comment, General, News

Bloghorn Opinion logoIf you have been following this story you will be unsurprised that Bloghorn thinks comics, and cartooning in all its forms, are all too readily undervalued in the UK.

It is more acceptable in the cultures of Japan, the US and across Europe to consider the narrative techniques and visual artistry employed by commercial artists as a powerful form for  business and personal communication as well as entertainment and teaching.

The best single piece of evidence we offer is the attitude of the UK arts funding body – The Arts Council –  towards the national Cartoon Museum* which despite its popularity, and the long history of the form in the UK , receives no central funding. We wrote about this here.

Of course, there are some exceptions in this country – political cartooning, for example, tends to receive grudging respect for its obviously satirical and “real-world” relevance. But all too often, the “cartoon” and “comic” are used here as catch-all terms for anything that is unsophisticated, childish or tacky.

Tom Harris MP on Dundee Cartoon and Comic Course @ procartoonists.org

Tom Harris MP on Dundee Cartoon and Comic Course @ procartoonists.org

Tom Harris speaking about the establishment of a one-year Postgraduate degre in study of Visual Communication at the University of Dundee. – The home of publishers DC Thomson

Another political figure, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, did exactly that last week. Criticising the Daily Mail, he described the paper as a “sexist, racist, bigoted comic cartoon strip(Bloghorn is only interested in the second half of that assertion, which we feel is a little unfair).

Academic appreciation of cartooning is, in fact, not new: since 1973, the University of Kent has hosted the British Cartoon Archive, a collection of more than 150,000 pieces intended to encourage the study and appreciation of cartoon art, including comic strips. The Cartoon Archive is freely open to those wishing to carry out research, and is actively involved in promoting the art form – often in collaboration with the national Cartoon Museum, the PCO and its fellow cartoonists organisations, the BCA and the CCGB.

Bloghorn is made by Matthew Buck, Royston Robertson, Alex Hughes and Rob Murray on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation

* We say please consider becoming a member to help fund them

Small steps at indie comics expo

March 29, 2011 in Events

Cartoonist Tim Harries took a table at the first London Comic and Small Press Expo, at Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London, to sell his wares. He tells us about his experience:

Tim Harries

Photo by Sarah McIntyre

Unofficially a replacement for the UK Web and Mini Comix Thing , the organisers picked an impressive venue to debut the Expo, in a bright, spacious hall big enough to accommodate all 91 sold-out tables and a vast throng of eager punters.

The variety of work on show was excellent, and visitors could spend several hours going from table to table and still not see everything.

Talks also ran throughout the day, ranging from “The History of Comics on Film and TV” to a discussion of the term “small press” and what it means for creators. Unfortunately attendance for the Expo was low and it wasn’t until late afternoon that things picked up, by which time we had to pack up! It’s a new event though, so I’m sure there will be bigger and better plans for getting visitors next year.

Comics Expo

Some excellent suggestions have already been made to this end, and hopefully the organisers will work with exhibitors to improve an event that already has good potential.

Personally, I enjoyed my first time as an exhibitor at one of these events. I debuted some new books, made pretty good sales and got to meet a lot of friendly comic creators and readers. Can’t ask for much more than that really, so I’m already looking forward to future conventions.

Avatar 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 …

Capital cartooning

January 15, 2011 in News

Bloghorn notes some new cartoon-related events coming soon to London town.

There’s an exhibition of the cartoons Ronald Searle drew for his wife, Les Très Riches Heures de Mrs. Mole, while she was undergoing chemotherapy, accompanied by a talk on Searle’s life by Valerie Grove on Tuesday, 15 February 2011 at The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London, WC1N 1AZ. Tickets are £20, books and signed prints will be on sale, with proceeds going to Macmillan Cancer Support and The Foundling Museum. (Thanks to the Ronald Searle Tribute blog for the tip)

There’s free comic workshops on offer for 16-20 year olds at londonprintstudio, 425 Harrow Road, London W10 4RE on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from the 18th January. There’s a £5 booking fee, but this will be reimbursed on arrival. Visit www.londonprintstudio.org.uk for more information or call 020 8969 3247 to book. (thanks to downthetubes.net for the tip)

And finally, the Comix Reader, is having a launch party upstairs at the Crown, 51 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1BL on the 2nd February. The publication, described as “Underground Alternative Independent Satirical Carnivalesque Comix Entertainment” is already on sale for £1 at a number of stockists.

We  are sure there are many other events across the country and we would welcome news of them as readers see them. You can contact us here or using our social media outlets.