You are browsing the archive for 2017 April.

by Jonesy

Leo Baxendale, the master of anarchic comic book fun, dies aged 86

April 27, 2017 in General

The adjective ‘legendary’, bestowed too cheaply upon too many, finds a truly worthy recipient in the man who brought utter joy to generations of British children with his brilliant creations, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.

Leo Baxendale’s wonderfully inventive comic strips drew the reader into a world where anything was possible and everything rib-achingly funny. His anarchic humour chimed with children of all ages and the vibrant penmanship inspired countless comics artists.

The hit list included other classic strips Little Plum, The Three Bears and Lord Snooty. The comics historian Denis Gifford has called him “the most influential and most imitated comics artist of modern times”.

The pressure of unrelenting deadlines took its toll on Baxendale and in 1962 he walked out on DC Thompson (a seven year legal rights battle with the Beano publisher was to follow) and found work two years later with Wham! and Smash! comics in London.

Less well known, perhaps, was his involvement in the activist newsletter the Strategic Commentary, campaigning against the US’s involvement in the Vietnam war. Noam Chomsky was his first subscriber.

Baxendale also founded the publishing house Reaper Books in the late eighties and continued to work in comics before retiring in 1992 to concentrate on publishing books. He was inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame in 2013.

He died from cancer on Tuesday 25th April.

Read James Heartfield’s obituary here on the spiked website

Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival review served up.

April 27, 2017 in General


Photo ©Jac Lee

Report by Bill Stott:

Sadly, I could only attend for the Saturday session because I had to get back for my venerable dog, but it was a cracking day’s cartooning and caricaturing nonetheless. Amazingly, the A49/41 were almost lorry – free and the only real hold-up was courtesy of a nitwit in a woolly hat piloting a Nissan Micra. But I got to The Lion in time to hear Roger P deliver the briefing. Its been a couple of years since I was at The Lion and I’d forgotten how much I like it. It has none of the anodyne anonymity of “corporate identity” and remains an ancient, creaky one-off.

Steve Bright caricaturing & covering up that haircut. Photo ©Jac Lee

Briefing done, I walked up to the Market Square with Glenn Marshall who was weighed down with all manner of humour tackle – so to speak – but more of that later. Tireless Bill McCabe and helpers were busy finishing Big Board surfaces and the caricaturing tent/marquee/thing – which was full all afternoon. Despite quite a few of those already there having been on curry duty on Friday evening, nobody looked ill and Brighty appeared sporting what can only be described as an extreme haircut. A ginger gooseberry came to mind. But pretty quickly, Brighty, along with FIVE other caricaturists was hard at it, eliciting songs of praise from the public. “Look ! He’s made it look like ME !” Well of course he has, you silly youth.

Dean Alston’s dog’s dinner. Photo ©Jac Lee

Noel Ford’s food mountain. Photo ©Jac Lee

Clive Goddard has a Bisto moment. Photo ©Rupert Besley

Big Boards came on apace. Fastest was probably Dean Alston, the well-known professional Australian, whilst the aforementioned Michelin Marshall was busy turning out cartoon meals, as Noel Ford drew a six foot high pile of beans, eggs, sausage and chips. Over the years, I’ve developed the habit of listening to what the public say behind me. This year’s winner was from him to her, as in ; “Well yes, I suppose it is quite good, but somebody probably tells them what to draw.”

A small army of helpers kept us supplied with tea and coffee of various colours, whilst really capable local musicians filled the Square with songs we all knew some of the words to. My favourite was the Banjo/Ukulele Lady. That’s a person, not a song.

And all of this with no financial help from The Council. They’re broke. Thanks Tories. All the cartoonists, caricaturists and musicians did it for free. Were there any UK publishers present ? No, there were not. They really don’t know what they’re missing.

Bill McCabe’s pizza arrives. Photo ©Jac Lee

Finally – for me at any rate, because as soon as we’d all finished I had to zoom back up the A41, the PCO made a presentation to Bill McCabe who has been ever-present almost from day one sorting stuff. His award was for “services to cartooning”. I think he was pleasantly surprised. The presentation item was an oh-so-tasteful crystal –ish block thing which weighed half-a ton. “

Roget Penwill & Noel Ford, the head chefs for this years Melodrawma. Photo ©Jac Lee

Hunt Emerson, Royston Robertson and a bit of Wilbur Dawbarn. The trio cooked up the Melodrawma side dish. Photo ©Jac Lee 

We’re indebted to photographer and cartoon doodler Jac Lee for most of the images. (More can be seen on his link)

by Jonesy

Update on Eaten Fish: CRNI statement

April 25, 2017 in General

© Eaten Fish

The CRNI statement in full:

The Manus Regional Processing Centre, Papua New Guinea has been making headlines again in recent weeks: firstly on Good Friday when prolonged gun fire on the camp’s perimeter aimed at detainees’ accommodation was the apparent result of a disagreement with locals over a football match; secondly for outrageous comments made by Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton about the same incident; and lastly after a meeting between Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Vice President Mike Pence indicated that the USA would indeed honour the refugee relocation agreement made in the final days of the Obama administration.

An apparent reversal of fortune – President Donald Trump had famously described the deal as “dumb” and promised to re-examine its merits – sounds like good news for the Manus detainees, including Eaten Fish, the 2016 winner of our Courage in Editorial Cartooning Award.

However it is worth remembering that Eaten Fish’s refugee status has never been recognised, making him ineligible for any help that the USA might offer and that in any case comes only after lengthy and exhaustive “extreme vetting”, the kind of process during which he would certainly fail to give an adequate account of himself due to his diverse mental health problems.

This raises the question of what happens next since the camp is set to close before the end of the year. Eaten Fish exists in an ill-defined legal category, officially notified by the authorities of their intent to repatriate him to Iran months ago but in all likelihood facing a future as a prisoner on PNG. One possibility is transfer to a new facility that we understand is being planned in Port Moresby. Its Bomana Prison already houses several former detainees.

We asked Janet Galbraith of the Writing Through Fences project for her assessment and she was frank about the degree to which the odds are stacked against Eaten Fish, saying that even the best intended and well-resourced organisations’ help is rendered “disorganised and ineffective” against “determined politicians’ cruel policies, an apathetic and increasingly racist public and corrupted media.”

A report that ran recently in The Age and for which Janet provided information gives an accurate depiction of life on Manus for Eaten Fish’s compatriots and the many hundreds of men who have endured a unique, very modern and seemingly intractable method of torture over the last four years. The testimonies of journalist Behrouz Boochani, comedian and children’s entertainer Mehdi Savari, and Loghman Sawari – like Eaten Fish just a boy when he arrived on the island – are utterly heartbreaking.

And as for Eaten Fish, we call again for the only humane outcome after suffering such acute institutionalised abuse: immediate asylum on mainland Australia.

Visit the CRNI website here

by Jonesy

“In my country I was threatened because of my works”

April 25, 2017 in General


© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

The Surreal McCoy writes:

Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini, Iranian author and caricaturist left his country two years ago. He left because of daily threats and pressures from the Revolutionary Guards and some of Iranian security forces.

The reason? Publication of some of his cartoons in well-known journals and newspapers of Iran such as Sanat va Toseh and Sharherwand. One particular cartoon, drawn when Obama met the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, depicted two hands holding the US and Iranian flags, forming the dove of peace. Meysam was beaten up by unknown assailants who kept asking him why he had put the US flag over Iran’s flag and why the Iranian character had no beard. Then one of his abstract paintings intended for display at the Peace Museum was destroyed. He was told by security forces that the single eye in the painting was a symbol of Judaism and Israel and therefore could not be shown.

© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

He has lived in fear for most of his life, harassed and threatened with death by men loyal to the Revolutionary guards (who he says probably carried out the beatings). Two years ago he fled Iran along with his wife. They now live in Turkey where, in poor health, he is struggling to find work. His supporters are now lobbying the United Nations for relocation to a safe country.

© Syed Meysam Agha Syed Hosseini

Visit the CRNI website to learn more about Meysam and other cartoonists in danger

Sign the petition here

Meysam’s Facebook page

by Jonesy

Tasty fare on offer at this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival

April 17, 2017 in General

© Wilbur Dawbarn

The 14th Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival theme is ‘Food and Drink’, and cartoonists will be descending upon the picturesque market town to spread fun and laughter wherever they go.

On Saturday 22nd April, for example, The Square will be populated by the finest talents these islands can offer.

The caricaturists line-up boasts an outstanding array of talent, namely: Alex Hughes, Steve Bright, Jonathan Cusick, Helen Pointer and John Roberts, all of whom will delighting locals and visitors alike with their portraits.

Alex Hughes, steampunk caricaturist outfit was enough to, er, draw a crowd

Alex Hughes. Caricaturist par excellence, goggles wearer nonpareil

Then there are the ‘Big Boards’, theme-related gag cartoons drawn on a gargantuan scale. This year’s Big Guns will be: Rupert Besley, Steve Best, Noel Ford, Clive Goddard, John Landers, Roger Penwill, Royston Robertson, Bill Stott, William Rudling, Wilbur Dawbarn and Tony Husband.

Rupert Besley starts from the corner

Rupert Besley goes big

If you’re feeling peckish you can visit Glenn Marshall’s Fast Food Takeaway Van – also in the Square – to order your cartoon food and have it drawn and delivered on a plate, instantly! (See quick appetiser below.)


© Glenn Marshall

And this year’s Melodrawma (to be performed in the afternoon) features secret culinary connections to well-known historical figures and will be illustrated by Royston Robertson, Wilbur Dawbarn and Hunt Emerson, narrated by Roger Penwill, with musical accompaniment by Noel Ford.

Sadly, the Slade reunion will not be taking place this year

Tony Husband will also be at the Unitarian Church on Friday 21st April, giving a talk on ‘From a Dark Place’, a book he has co-written with his son, Paul. This starts at 8pm. The following day you can catch Hunt Emerson at The Central, and his talk gets underway at 1.30pm.

For a full list events visit The Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival site.


by Jonesy

Meet Clare Pattinson, our new associate member

April 17, 2017 in General

© Clare Pattinson

Clare is a cartoonist, illustrator, automata maker, animator, ceramicist, plumber, harmonica player, and social worker…

Drawing cartoons for 40 years, she has scribbled on the insides of hundreds of empty cereal packets, disused crumpled envelopes, concrete pavements and in the condensation of large glass windows. As yet, she hasn’t had volumes of work published, since sending windowpanes and paving slabs in the post to art editors has been a shattering and unsuccessful enterprise. Armed now with realms of photocopy paper, a Wacom tablet and computer, Clare plans to take a more traditional route into getting her cartoons ‘out there’ this year.

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

© Clare Pattinson

Clare has exhibited in major shows in the UK and is a member of The British Toymaker’s Guild. Her automata has  been described as 3D cartooning with a bit of mechanics thrown in. She is a QEST Alumni Scholar for her automata, and has enjoyed watching Prince Charles play with her work – more of which can be seen here.

by Jonesy

Cartoonists roast Turkey over media crackdown

April 17, 2017 in General

© Steve Bell

Glenn Marshall writes:

PCO members join worldwide campaign #FreeTurkeyMedia

I always feel my work is being suppressed when I get another bunch of rejections – yet again my strong views on wheelie bins and selfie-sticks are being denied a public forum.

But when a cartoonist over here complains about their plight it pales in significance with what other cartoonists are facing in certain countries.

© Andy Davey

© Banx Cartoons

The PCO and CRNI have recently been with involved with #AddAFish for refugee cartoonist Eaten Fish who after three years is still incarcerated in the Australian detention centre on Manus Island.


© Noel Ford

© Glenn Marshall

Now cartoonists are joining in with the #FreeTurkeyMedia initiative, a campaign for the 120+ journalists and media workers currently imprisoned in Turkey. This includes cartoonist Musa Kart who has been locked away from his young family for over 160 days and now hears he may face 29 years in jail.

© Wilbur Dawbarn

© Jonesy Cartoons

More details can be found on the Amnesty International website







by Royston

Cartoon praise always appreciated

April 3, 2017 in General, News

Cartoon strip by Royston

Cartoon strip by Royston Robertson, commissioned by Home Retail Group

As regular readers here will know, the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation is always banging on about the benefits of publishers and other businesses using cartoons, it’s our raison d’être. So it’s nice when someone else, unbidden, decides to do the same.

The journalist Sophy Buckley interviewed me, as well as the cartoonist Nick Schon, for an article on a blog run by First Word, a content-marketing company.

Click here: In praise of cartoons

Its all about the benefits to businesses of using cartoons in their communications, to get messages across and also add some humour to otherwise difficult or dry concepts. In an age of short attention-spans, cartoons are just the job.

First Word have clearly got the message, we can only hope that other businesses and publishers do too. In the meantime, we’ll carry on with the banging on about it, if that’s all right with you.

by Jonesy

PCO and CRNI lead protest for Eaten Fish

April 3, 2017 in General

L to R: Terry Anderson, Simon Ellinas, Sharky McSharkface, The Surreal McCoy and Glenn Marshall – Photo © The Surreal McCoy

The Surreal McCoy reports:

Last Thursday was the warmest day of the year which bode well for our protest outside the Australian High Commission in London. Members of the PCO and CRNI, along with some enthusiastic volunteers (one of whom was co-opted by an activist in North Carolina after noticing our #AddAFish campaign on Twitter) gathered to protest against the Australian government’s detention of refugee Iranian cartoonist Eaten Fish on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. The threat of deportation back to Iran is growing ever more real as the Australian government are planning on closing the detention centre by the end of the year.


Banx Cartoons chalks one up for Eaten Fish – Photo © The Surreal McCoy

Wielding a banner with some of the fishes contributed by cartoonists from all over the world, we stood outside the passport and immigration office. We handed out flyers with information about our fellow cartoonist’s plight and a respectful request to the Australian government to give him asylum. Three of the London Klezmer Quartet kindly provided some musical accompaniment as we peacefully chalked even more fishes on the pavement.

Photo © The Surreal McCoy


Simon Ellinas draws what we’re all thinking – Photo © The Surreal McCoy

Eaten Fish himself had provided a statement for the event which read;

 “My name is Eaten Fish. I am an exiled cartoonist who has been detained in detention centres run by Papua New Guinea and Australian governments on Christmas Island and an island in the Pacific Ocean called Manus since July 2013. My cartoons are my diaries. I’ve been suffering so much from different illnesses such as OCD, panic attacks, seizures, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety and self harming. I have been under too much pressure from the immigration department and also sexual assault and ongoing sexual harassment for a long time and been beaten by the PNG Royal Police. After suffering so much, to protect myself,  I’m living in an isolated compound for more than a year and do not feel safe to live in this country any more, where you get beaten if you complaint about sexual harassment. Everything about my situation has been documented. I need nothing but peace and safety. My rights have been taken away from me. I need to be in a safe place where no-one insults me because of the way I look.”

 Let’s hope someone inside was listening.

Read the CRNI report on the event here and view the video extras too.

Photo © The Surreal McCoy