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The Round-up

June 30, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

Above: Michael Chaney, associate professor of English at Dartmouth College, on how to read a graphic novel.

The Cartoon Cafe is now up and running in Eastbourne, following a successful opening earlier this month. Established and run by Timothy Benson, the cartoon historian and author, the venue is open seven days a week, combines a gallery space and coffee shop, and will be showing a wide variety of political cartoons. Click here for more details, and follow this link to read some local coverage from earlier in the year.

It’s About Time, the selling exhibition of original cartoon artwork and high-quality prints that was first shown as part of this year’s Shrewsbury International Cartoon Festival is now going on tour.

First stop will be Ludlow Assembly Rooms from 1-28 July. Roger Penwill, Shrewsbury festival chairman and a member of, will be giving a talk there from 7pm on 12 July. Entitled The World of Cartoons, Roger describes it as “an illustrated talk recounting my experiences of cartoon events and cartoonists outside the UK”. You can find out more and book your place (for a very reasonable fiver) by following this link. The exhibition will later travel to Wem Town Hall from 1 August until 30 September.

The latest Asterix adventure will see our plucky Gallic hero visiting these shores for the second time when he arrives in Scotland in October. Read more via the BBC. We say the Gaul’s chosen destination is highly appropriate.

Staying north of the border, Frank Boyle, cartoonist for the Edinburgh Evening News, has an exhibition running at present. Click here for more details. draws our attention to The Oink! Blog, set up earlier this year by a fan of the anarchic 1980s comic that was co-created by Procartoonists member Tony Husband.

And finally, big names from the world of comics, among them Joe Sacco and Chris Ware, will be appearing at Stripped, a strand of events at this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. Read more here.


A Surreal view of the Reubens

June 29, 2013 in Events, General, News

Reubens Cartoon Awards first timer badge @


The Surreal McCoy reports from the US of A:

To the city of steel, Pittsburgh, for the National Cartoonists Society’s Reubens awards ceremony.

Local artist Rob Rogers of the Pittsburgh Post stoked things up with a seminar on the art of the editorial cartoonist. He was followed by a session on the opportunities for e-publishing and Terri Lieberman who spoke about her Pyjama Diaries comic strip.

Then it was out to the Toonseum for a look at originals from every Reubens awards winner from the last 67 years. The show featuring artists Gary Larson, Sergio Aragones, Charles Schulz, Ronald Searle, Will Eisner and many more. It was amazing to see the original inked pages of all your cartooning heroes in one place. The evening continued next door in a wonderfully seedy bar with the traditional karaoke session and, thanks to the luridly-coloured range of cocktails on offer, there were many takers.

There were more than a few sore heads at breakfast the following day. Our lodgings were at an old hotel (old being nearly 100 years for the Americans but it’s not a patch on Shrewsbury’s Lion which hosts the eponymous annual Cartoon Festival).

The remarkably efficient annual NCS business meeting barely ruffled any braincells but the presentation of our Procartoonists tablecloth, from this year’s Shrewsbury changed all that. Many thanks to Chairleg Nathan Ariss for the idea and to all those who drew on it. It received a great deal of interest and admiring glances, and not the puzzled or bemused looks that I had anticipated, with the Dalek and a caricature of a ghoulish Maggie Thatcher providing the most comments.


There were more seminars featuring Mo Willems (Sesame Street animation) and Drew Friedman (MAD magazine illustrator). Marmaduke’s creator Brad Anderson also stood up to remininisce about his long and illustrious career.

Tom Richmond (NCS President and MAD magazine editor) decided that the tablecloth must be reciprocated. So several sharpies were sourced and a linen cloth, purloined (we would say, “nicked”) from the hotel, was signed by almost all the attendees.

The linen cloth has clearly upped the ante – our tabelcloth was paper. Will we have to send silver candelabras and matching cutlery next year?

After its exhibition at next year’s Reubens weekend the Procartoonists tablecloth will be sent to the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Musem in Cleveland where all NCS history and valuables are archived. (This store is the match of our own archive held at the University of Kent).


By Tom Richmond of Mad Magazine on NCS Tablecloth for

The actual awards evening itself was more like the Oscars than our traditional Saturday night Shrewsbury Festival knees-up. There were cartoonists in black tie and dinner jackets, cartoonists in evening gowns, a proper sit-down dinner and a live band. A revelation was Australian cartoonist  Jason Chatfield, (he’s also attended Shrewsbury), who was hosting/singing/dancing, often doing all three at the same time. Here is the list of awards given on the night and the winners. The night continued with an after party and then an after-after party which involved some interesting ghost-busting action down disused hotel corridors.

The next day was the Pittsburgh Cartoon Arts Festival where the public could meet the cartoonists and have things signed or drawn upon. A street downtown was closed off and Betty Boop, Olive Oyl and Popeye roamed free, charming the children. A seminar on Women In Cartooning was hosted by the delightful Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange), featuring Cathy Guisewhite (Cathy), Lynn Johnston (For Better Or For Worse) and Terri Liebenson.

Best quote of the weekend was from Hilary about how to tell the difference between male and female cartoonists – by the boob to nose ratio. Women cartoonists tend to draw big noses and small boobs.

(Opinions on male cartoonists and noses welcome in the comments – Ed).

The Sunday night’s party is by tradition themed and this year it was the Roaring Twenties. Flappers and gangsters milled in the Speakeasy bar with fake cigarette holders and boas, and the floor was soon awash with feathers and sequins. These guys certainly know how to party. Got to meet a bunch of wonderfully talented people and hang out with some of my heroes. What a great weekend. Two countries separated by a common language? Well here’s looking at making closer ties with our North American cartooning cousins. Cheers y’all!

– – –

The NCS, formed in 1946, represents over 400 professional cartoonists in North America. The Reubens, held in a different US city each year, are named after Rube Goldberg, a Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist and sculptor, famed for his marvellous “inventions“. Next year’s Reubens will be held in San Diego, California.

Thanks to Surreal for her report.

The Round-up

June 21, 2013 in General, Links, News


Tim Harries (right) signs one of his cartoon collections

Tim Harries, a member of and creator of the long-running comic strip Never Say Dai, was special guest at a cartooning and comic book fair in Newport last Saturday. Read more about the event here.

Two recently posted video clips see New Yorker cartoonist Matthew Diffee discussing the element of design in gag cartoons, and the need to overcome rejection and generate ideas. Shortly after his presentation, Diffee also sat down for an interview with Forbes.

Head over to BBC iPlayer to learn more about the history and longevity of that notorious subversive, Mr Punch, in a half-hour programme from Radio 4 Extra.

A one-minute anti-war animation one-minute has been rediscovered, in which (an unauthorised) Mickey Mouse meets his fate in Vietnam. Watch the cartoon and read more at Cartoon Brew.

Finally, a pair of broadcast experts – veterans of Aardman Animations and the BBC – are looking to invest in new creative ideas. Read more here.

That’s the way to do it – Ed.

Copyright and coffee

June 17, 2013 in Comment, General

Courtesy of one of our members, Chris Madden:

© Chris Madden


The Round-up

June 14, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

The Addams Family © Charles Addams

Boing Boing draws our attention to a 12-minute documentary about Charles Addams and the inspiration for his ghoulish Family. Watch it here. member Tim Harries will be taking part in a comic fair in Newport this Saturday (15 June). Find an interview with Tim, along with more details of the event, here.

Peter Brookes, the political cartoonist for The Times, has unveiled his decorated Gromit statue, which was produced for charity and features Brookes’ depictions of Ed ‘Wallace’ Miliband and Ed Balls. Read more at the Times site.

Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall both appear as guest stars in this week’s edition of the Beano. Meanwhile, Beano cartoonist Kev F. Sutherland has been passing on tips to the next generation.

Superman turns 75 this year, and with a new movie interpretation out in cinemas this week, DC Comics has plans for new series featuring its flagship hero. Deseret News, the Mormon news site, looks back at the inspiration for Superman and the character’s virtuous traits in this article. And a copy of Supes’ first appearance has sold for $175,000 – having previously been used as insulation.

The Iron Lady vs the Cartoonists

June 11, 2013 in General, News

Margaret Thatcher © Jonathan Cusick @

© Jonathan Cusick @

An exhibition of Margaret Thatcher cartoons, The Eyes of Caligula and the Lips of Marilyn Monroe, opens at the Chris Beetles Gallery in London today (11 June).

The gallery is promoting the event with the caricature above by member  Jonathan Cusick. The exhibition features cartoonists including Jak, John Jensen, Larry, Ed McLachlan, Matt and Peter Brookes.

Running alongside it is a retrospective exhibition called Daggers Drawn: 35 Years of Kal Cartoons in The Economist. Both exhibitions run until 22 June. More details at the Chris Beetles website.

The Round-up

June 8, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© Bert Hackett

Arts venue mac birmingham is planning to host an exhibition of more than 100 artworks by Bert ‘Gemini’ Hackett, long-time cartoonist for The Birmingham Post. Donations are being sought towards the running of the show, and the appeal closes on 16 June. The exhibition will run from 29 June until 1 September. More details can be found here.

The New York Times profiles Khalid Albaih, ‘a cartoonist with an attitude’ who has inspired discontented youth across the Arab world. Read the article here.

Christian Adams, the political cartoonist for The Telegraph, has posted this short video showing how he roughs out one of his cartoons.

Christopher Booker – the first editor of Private Eye – writes for The Spectator about the short but brilliant career of cartoonist Timothy Birdsall. Read Booker’s article here.

Cartoons feature in a new exhibition exploring the emerging art scene in Iraq, as the BBC reports.

Ralph Steadman has designed a poster for the upcoming Duchamp Centenary Celebration in Herne Bay, which recognises the famous Dadaist‘s connections to the Kent town. Our chairman, Nathan Ariss, comments on Steadman’s involvement with the festival in this article.

Opinion: The postcard’s future

June 5, 2013 in Comment, General

© Rupert Besley @

Rupert Besley delivers part two of his article on the humble cartoon postcard. You can read part one here

Postcards and cartoons are the perfect marriage, the dream team, two forms of relative ephemera, each made for the other. Both are finding life tough at present, as old-style print gets edged out by new electronic media, and each has need of the other. Postcards must adapt to survive.

It has been done and can be again. In the 1980s, Scottish postcards were stuck in a rut of lurid images of heather, pipers and Highland cattle knee-deep in Loch Lomond (sometimes with faked sunset added on top). Along came Colin Baxter and Michael Macgregor, bringing misty, seductive, moody views of Real Scotland and whole new businesses were born.

© Rupert Besley @

© Rupert Besley @

Failure to change did for card-firms in the past. Dixon’s operated from an aircraft hangar of a factory, filled with huge presses that pumped out cards to fill every creaking carousel in the land. For a card to succeed, it had to sell in hundreds of thousands. But nobody wanted to see the same card year after year.

As with print-on-demand books, the technology is now here for small runs and rapid distribution. As papers and magazines cut back on cartoon “extras”, cartoonists need to explore new outlets for their work. Postcards need new life breathed into them; cartoons need more ways of being circulated and seen. The two should get together more often.

© Rupert Besley @

Postcards are effective carriers of simple messages. Mostly the messages are equally trite on front and back. But the space is there for other purposes, whether for promoting a place, a business, a particular event, or campaigning on a topical issue. Or maybe just to spread a joke. (And why not?)

Cartoons, too, are handy means of encapsulating difficult ideas and sending messages that are witty, memorable and quick to take in. Make a set, put them on cards and hey presto: collectibles.

© Rupert Besley @

© Rupert Besley @

To take off again, postcards need a novelty factor, some new twist on all that has been done before. Marketing and making money from cards is never easy; they are low-price items and fiddly to deal with. Those are the challenges – and the opportunities.

Just don’t write off the humble postcard. It may yet have a future.

Thanks very much to Procartoonists member Rupert Besley for writing for us and for the terrific sequence of cartoons.

© Rupert Besley @

© Rupert Besley @

The Round-up

June 1, 2013 in Events, General, Links, News

© The Surreal McCoy

New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly has curated an exhibition of work by international cartoonists on the subject of women’s rights – including the cartoon above by one of our members, The Surreal McCoy. Donnelly explains the project here.

Speaking at this year’s Hay Festival, Sir Quentin Blake has said that illustrations are vital in getting young children onto the path of reading for enjoyment. Read his argument here.

In July, Brighton will play host to an unusual conference that spans both comics and healthcare. downthetubes has more.

Across two blog posts, New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff publishes imaginary inventions, as devised by his cartoonists. Explore them in Part 1 and Part 2.

Finally, comics expert Paul Gravett reports on Sequential, a new app for the iPad that is making graphic novels accessible in digital format – including, in the first round of releases, the recently-launched compendium of work by member Hunt Emerson. Read Gravett’s article for more information.