You are browsing the archive for 2011 November.

Hold that pose!

November 29, 2011 in Comment

Bloghorn would like to highlight a brief piece by journalist Tom Davenport featuring the work of comic artist Kevin Bolk. It inverts a set of superhero comic cliches very effectively. You can read it here.

If you have a view, do comment below.

by Royston

Young Cartoonist of 2011

November 29, 2011 in Comment

The winner in the under-30s category in the Young Cartoonist of the Year contest, organised by the British Cartoonists’ Association, is Joe Mounsey, 25.

Joe Mounsey cartoon

The BCA chairman Martin Rowson, also a PCO member, told the Bloghorn that Joe so little expected to win that he arranged to go to Berlin for work on the night of the awards ceremony. His award will be picked up by a friend.

The awards will be handed out at the Cartoon Art Trust Awards at the Mall Galleries in London this Thursday (December 1). Jasper Ashton-Nelson, 13, has already been named as winner in the under-18s group.

The Cartoon Art Trust is the organisation that runs the Cartoon Museum, and its annual fundraising awards ceremony (the museum does not receive public funding) is now in its 17th year. Awards will also be given to cartoonists working in newspapers and magazines.

by Royston

Nelson launches with artwork exhibitions

November 28, 2011 in Events, News

Nelson book coverAn exhibition featuring artwork from the new graphic novel Nelson has opened upstairs at the Cartoon Museum in London, and runs until February.

Nelson is a a collective graphic novel, a 250-page collaboration between 54 British comic creators. The work of 15 of those artists can be seen at the museum, and more is on display at Gosh Comics in Soho.

Based on an original idea by Rob Davis and co-edited by Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, Nelson is the fictional life story of Nel Baker from her birth in 1968 to the present day. Each artist took on one day from those 43 years.  The book celebrates the diversity of talent in British comics. The artists involved are from editorial and newspaper strips, humour comics and magazines, children’s books, indie and web publishing, and sci-fi and superhero comics.

Nelson artwork

All profits from the book go to Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity. See more at the website of the publisher Blank Slate Books.

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

November 25, 2011 in Links

The prolific cartoonist David Langdon, whose long career included work for The New Yorker, Punch and The Spectator,  has died at the age of 97. Among his achievements, Langdon claimed to have originated the ‘open mouth’ expression now used by almost every gag cartoonist to clarify who is speaking in their compositions. See The Guardian for an extensive obituary, while the Bucks Free Press has more here.

Gerald Scarfe‘s savage and iconic depictions of Margaret Thatcher have led to a newly discovered species of pterosaur being named after the caricaturist. The Portsmouth News explains all here.

DC Thomson has announced a digital subscription service for its weekly comics, The Dandy and The Beano, allowing readers to get their fix via iPad or iPhone. The Courier has more details here.

Finally, while writing about the recent sale of a Roy Lichtenstein painting, questions the value – or lack of it – that is placed on original comic art, compared with the ‘fine art’ it inspires.

Young Cartoonist of 2011

November 23, 2011 in Comment

Results are coming in from our sister organisation, the British Cartoonists’ Association, and congratulations are due to 13-year-old Jasper Ashton-Nelson, winner in the under-18s category. We publish below his winning entry, with thanks to BCA chairman and PCO member Martin Rowson. You may read about Jasper’s win in this report from the Newcastle Journal.

© Jasper Ashton-Nelson

Heath on Heath

November 23, 2011 in News

Michael Heath cartoonMichael Heath, cartoon editor at The Spectator is interviewed over at the magazine’s arts blog.

Bloghorn doffs its cap to Mr Heath, who has been commenting on the way we live, in his merciless cartooning style, since 1954. But we can’t quite agree with his pessimistic view of the cartooning profession. The talent is certainly out there.

He’s on safer ground commenting on Britons’ declining sartorial standards, as Bloghorn has noticed what a bunch of scruffs we all are.

Read the blog: Heath on Heath

Occupied cartoonists

November 22, 2011 in Comment

Cartoonists are visual journalists. Please discuss, with reference to Portraits of the Occupation, US investigative cartoonist Sharon Rosenzweig and this fine round up of art from the ongoing global protests at Cartoon Movement.

©Sharon Rosenzweig Cartoonist as Graphic Journalist

Drawing ©Sharon Rosenzweig

The Bloghorn is made on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation


by Royston

The cartoonist as writer

November 20, 2011 in News

Every cartoonist is also a writer — you have to be able to write the joke before you can draw it. But some take it further than creating gag cartoon captions, or dialogue for strips, and end up writing novels.

PCO cartoonist Clive Goddard is one. He has a book out for children (“It says 9-plus on the book but I’d say 8 to 12-year-olds could enjoy it,” Clive tell us) called Fintan Fedora, the World’s Worst Explorer.

Clive is well-known for illustrating books for Scholastic, such as the Dead Famous series, but this one is all about the words. Even the cover illustration is by someone else (Mark Beech).

The book is the story of 14-year-old Fintan who sets out to find the elusive chocoplum, the rarest and most delicious treat in the world. He travels to South America, little suspecting that there are kidnappers on his tail as well as an evil business mogul who also wants the chocoplum. Sounds like a set-up that only a cartoonist could create!

Fintan Fedora is available in bookshops and at Amazon

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

November 17, 2011 in Links

Bloghorn from the UK Professional Cartonists' OrganisationPublisher Jonathan Cape is celebrating five years of its Graphic Short Story Prize by releasing an e-book compilation of the winners and some of the best also-rans. Forbidden Planet has a sneak peak, and plenty of related links, here.

After the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were firebombed over the publication of a front-cover cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammad, journalist and academic Victor S Navasky asks why cartoons have the ability to make people so angry. See The New York Times for his conclusions.

The New Jersey Hall of Fame has included 19th century political cartoonist Thomas Nast on its list of nominees for possible induction in 2012. Voting is ongoing, but the anti-Irish and anti-Catholic imagery in some of Nast’s drawings has led to a call for his exclusion.

Elsewhere in the US, The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna considers the difficulties faced by cartoonists when responding to tragic events. Read his thoughts here.

They do things differently there

November 17, 2011 in Comment

Like Tintin, I recently found myself in the Belgian capital Brussels on business.

With an afternoon to spare before I had to catch the Eurostar home, I thought I would pop along to the Belgian Comic Strip Centre. Belgium has a long tradition of comics and comic art, and I was looking forward to seeing a museum dedicated to the like of Lucky Luke, the Smurfs and, yes, Tintin.

(right) A model of the rocket from Hergé’s Destination Moon

The museum itself is a beautifully preserved example of the Art Nouveau style with a grand entrance and sweeping staircases. I bought my ticket (€8, concessions available), and was handed a helpful loose-leaf folder of English translations. The first thing you encounter is a short corridor with a series of exhibits showing the process of creating a comic, from idea to pencil sketch, to ink, and so forth. So far, so good.

The grand entrance hall to the museum

The next major section features the collection of original artwork. Each piece is displayed in a cabinet with two or three others under dim lighting (presumably to protect the artwork). Sadly, most of the comics presented are shown in no particular order or context, beyond a small label showing the author, artist and date of publication. Sadly, my loose-leaf translation could shed no further light on why these particular pieces were chosen.

From time-to-time I would see a theme emerging between a few cabinets (say, strips featuring whales, or cowboys), but otherwise I was left in the (near) dark. The majority of the strips were in French or Dutch, unsurprisingly, but there were a few in Spanish, Italian, and even English. That said, I didn’t see much that I recognised, the only page that stuck in my memory was one from the Amazing Spider-Man. Of British comic art, there was nothing.

The Original Artwork section of the museum

The main exhibition was divided up by artist, with a wall or so devoted to each. And here was my biggest surprise. Aside from the aforementioned artwork room, most of the comics on display were pages taken from the original published comic rather than the original artwork itself. As someone who has spent many a happy hour in the significantly smaller Cartoon Museum in London, I was very struck by this choice of presentation.

Part of the Tintin exhibit

There were a couple of temporary exhibitions. One, an exhibition of a famous Belgian sea-faring comic featured huge, purpose-built sets to show off the artwork, including the side of a galleon and the turret of a sea fort. Of editorial or gag cartoons, there was no sign.

I browsed a large and well-stocked comic and gift shop and there was also a library (which I didn’t browse).

The relative lack of material relating to Tintin (considering the recent big-budget animated film) was explained by the recent opening of the Museé Hergé in Louvain-La-Neuve on the outskirts of Brussels (alas, my schedule did not allow time for this).

(right) Smurf!

Overall, I regretted the lack of original drawn content (or, when it was there, the lack of context). But maybe I’m being a bit harsh, my schoolboy French is remedial at best, and I didn’t grow up with those comics as our continental cousins would have, so certainly some of the nuance and nostalgia is lost on me. But I couldn’t help wondering how much greater our own humble Cartoon Museum could be, given this sort of budget and location.

Still, it was a very nice building.