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End of an era at Private Eye

December 17, 2012 in Events, News

Tony_Rushton_private_eye @ procartoonists.org

Tony Rushton, for sometime of Private Eye @ procartoonists.org

Private Eye magazine says farewell to its longtime art director Tony Rushton tomorrow, with a party near its offices in Soho, London.

Tony has been with the magazine for 50 years, joining at issue 11, and is responsible for the old-school “cut n’ paste” look to which Britain’s leading satirical magazine has doggedly stuck over the decades.

He’s also the man the cartoonists deal with, though the ultimate decision on what goes in the mag is made by Ian Hislop, the editor. Pete Dredge, a Procartoonists.org member and Private Eye veteran (sorry, Pete) told us:

“Receiving a ‘Good morning, good morning, it’s Tony Rushton’ phonecall is usually a precursor of good news for cartoonist contributors to Private Eye. An acceptance of a single gag idea, or more rarely, a cartoon strip commission, is usually heralded by a call from Tony.

“Things do change at the Eye but usually inperceptibly – when did Colemanballs become Commentatorballs? – so it will be interesting to see how Tony’s departure after 50 years will have an impact on the unique look of the mag, a look that has borne the Rushton stamp for all these years.”

The Independent has a profile of Tony here, which features this key quote:

“If you took away the cartoons from Private Eye it would be a very boring magazine, a worthy, boring magazine.”

Procartoonists.org says amen to that and wishes Tony Rushton the very best for his retirement.

Photo from V&A’s Private Eye at 50 video, via Eye magazine (a different one)

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.

With big ideas, always read the small print

January 23, 2012 in Comment

Bloghorn fro The Uk professional Cartoonists' OrganisationIn the digital age it is possible for cartoonists to easily publish their work in ways that the expense of print made hard to achieve.

However, many recent ease-of-use digital tools also come with legal caveats that affect the copyright, licensing and format rights attached to an individual piece of work.

Apple has just launched its iBooks Author tool, which is already a subject of controversy because of this. Briefly, the consumer electronics and publishing services company expects exclusive sales rights for formatted “works” sold through its digital outlet store and a traditional middleman’s commission fee.

In this post Boghorn offers some links to help you decide whether this sort of service is really what you need. We’d welcome any more useful links you could add in the comments.