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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 @

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 @

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

January 20, 2014 in General, Links, News

Dave Brown Ariel Sharon cartoon

© Dave Brown of The Independent @

Kasia Kowalska writes:

The death of the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon inspired cartoonists on all sides of the political debate. Sharon was famously the subject of a highly controversial award winning cartoon, above, which was based on Goya’s Saturn Devouring his Son. This image sparked a complaint from the Israeli Embassy, but not everyone took such a hard line, as Daniel Estrin explains.

More straight talking was provided by Alan Moore and Lance Parkin, in conversation about the recently published biography of Moore, Magic Words. Pádraig O’Méalóid is compelled to ask more about what followed.

George and Pat Walker, the couple whose extensive collection of original artwork can currently be seen at the Cartoon Museum in London are profiled by their local paper in Oxfordshire. Staying local, the Shropshire Star previews this year’s Shrewsbury Cartoon Festival, which takes place on 26 April.

Is art as much a technical as an artistic undertaking? And can anyone with a tablet or a computer really be an artist? Tyler Hellard pondered both questions in the digital age. Cutting straight to the point was the Canberra Times cartoonist Pat Campbell, who is simply enjoying the rewards of making a change.

Pat Campbell cartoon

© Pat Campbell of the Canberra Times @

Everyone likes a snoop around cartoonists’ studios, as this blog post by Countess Tea shows. The Daily Cartoonists detected a trend in the photographs: the demise of the traditional drafting table.

In a date for your diary, the Laydeez Do Comics graphic novel forum returns to Foyles in Charing Cross Road, London, on 20 January . Expect talks by Isabel Greenberg, Penelope Mendonça and Dr Geraldine Perriam. The long-running forum was set up in 2009 by Nicola Streeten and Sarah Lightman.

Finally, spare a thought for Shia LaBeouf who has now announced his retirement from public life following his expeditions in comics plagiarism.

The Round-up

January 6, 2012 in Links

As Google continues to expand into new areas, it has entered the world of cartoons with its own take on the traditional caption competition. has more details here, and you can submit your captions for Google cartoons here.

In the US, presidential hopefuls including Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are getting the comic book treatment.

Philadelphia Daily News cartoonist Signe Wilkinson came up with a novel solution to fill her regular slot in the paper while she took a year-end break, by having local politicians draw the cartoons instead. Philadelphia’s mayor, Michael Nutter, was the first to take up the challenge. Wilkinson told blogger Jim Romanesko that by inviting two female officials to take part, “I’ve significantly upped the number of women editorial cartoonists in America”.

Pop artist James Rizzi, known for his cartoony paintings and sculptures, has died aged 61.

Having appeared in a sketch for Stewart Lee‘s recent BBC2 show, comics writer and occultist Alan Moore has collaborated with the comedian again, providing the Thought For The Day when Lee guest-edited Radio 4’s Today programme on New Year’s Eve. Forbidden Planet has links and the transcript, in which Moore explains why he worships a god he knows doesn’t exist.

Round-up: What the Bloghorn saw

October 21, 2011 in News

Rob Murray writes:

The BBC reports on the appropriation by protest groups of the Guy Fawkes mask featured in V For Vendetta – designed by David Lloyd for the 1980s comic strip he co-created with Alan Moore, which was turned into a Hollywood film in 2006. You can read the article here, while elsewhere the Forbidden Planet blog has responded to the report with its own interpretation.

Ahead of the imminent release of Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s Tintin movie, Scottish newspaper The Daily Record reports that Hergé’s intrepid young reporter owes his success to Scotland – or, more specifically, to his adventure north of the border.

John Ryan, the creator of Captain Pugwash, is the subject of a retrospective exhibition in his hometown of Rye, opening on 19 November. Pugwash is best known as a children’s animated TV show, but in fact debuted in the very first issue of long-running comic The Eagle. has more, as does the Rye Art Gallery.

Finally, The Onion’s A.V. Club has an interview with acclaimed US cartoonist Daniel Clowes, in which he looks back on his work in comics over the last few years and discusses his future projects.

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

Bidder-bidder-bidder … Batman!

December 10, 2010 in News

Comic fans have the chance to appear alongside legendary superhero Batman thanks to a fund-raising auction.

This one-off opportunity is part of a sale to support the Comic Book Alliance (previously). It also includes signed comics, books and artwork from the likes of Hunt Emerson, David Lloyd, Bryan Talbot and Alan Moore among many others.

The winner in the Batman bid can choose to be killed by the villain or saved  by Batman in a story illustrated by Chris Burnham and written by Grant Morrison. The story will appear in Batman Inc. number 4, due to be published on 16th February 2011. With bids starting at 99p, the auction will close on the evening of Sunday 12th December.

If, on the other hand, classic Batman is more your thing, there’s a rare opportunity to get your hands on a copy of  Detective Comics number 27 from May 1939, which features the first appearance of the Caped Crusader, in a separate auction in at Dominic Winter Book Auctions in Gloucestershire on 16th December.

(Thanks to for both stories)

What happened next…

September 2, 2010 in Events, News

Foghorn Bloghorn for The UK Professional Cartoonists’ OrganisationA quick follow-up of stories we’ve covered recently on Bloghorn.

Cause and effect: Cartoonists’ Showcase

August 18, 2010 in Events, News

“Double Dip and Toil and Trouble !!” by Nick Hayes,
from the Guardian’s summer cartoonists showcase.

As previously mentioned in Bloghorn, the Guardian is showcasing six up-and-coming cartoonists whilst regular incumbent Steve Bell is on his summer holidays.

Since the last week of July, the cartoons of Anna Trench, Lou McKeever (aka Bluelou), Ben Jennings, Tanya Tier, Bob Moran and Nick Hayes have been adding their own visual takes on the day’s news. Their contributions haven’t been without controversy, with many cartoons receiving over 100 comments each, including numerous pieces or rebuttal from fellow Guardian cartoonist, Martin Rowson. As Martin says in the comments:

The reason for giving these cartoonists an airing here – including, of course, the opportunity to fail – is that these days it’s almost impossible to undergo that kind of baptism of fire in a national newspaper , and thus hone your native skills.

and on the subject of the comments:

[…] these six debutants have overturned an original editorial decision not to have comments on their work when it appears on this site. I think that’s quite brave of them, so it might be worthwhile some of you repaying the compliment by being constructive in your criticism, rather than just trolling about as usual, beating up this particular bus shelter on the side of the information superhighway with the kind of reckless abandon that seems to come so easily to the heroically anonymous.

On a related note, Steve Bell and Martin Rowson will be in conversation at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this weekend, whilst Steve will also be chatting to American political cartoonist Garry Trudeau and comic book writer Alan Moore.

Interview with David Lloyd – I

December 29, 2009 in General

DavidLloyd Bloghorn is very pleased to be able to publish an interview with David Lloyd, artist of V for Vendetta and co-founder of Cartoon Classroom, a free resource to connect artists and people who would like to learn how to draw.

How do you think the Cartoon Classroom and its list of expert teachers in drawing can help young people who do think in images?

Well, we’re not just for young people and we don’t specify anywhere on the site that we are. Anyone can make use of cartoon workshops or teaching in that area of art if they want to, and they already have in the past. Are water-colour weekends just for young people? There’s a tendency to think ‘ cartoons? ah, young people ‘ .  This is a  misperception from a Disney/comics train of thought, I guess. The work I helped with at The London Cartoon Centre in the 80’s and 90’s was just for young people, because it was specifically meant to help the young unemployed.

So, the classroom is a non-profit learning resource for everybody?

Cartoon Classroom is intended to be a resource that anyone can dip into for exactly what they want by having as many institutions and artists as possible register with it. We must get that spread of involvement in the site, otherwise it will fail in its task.

David, personally, what does drawing mean to you?

A pleasure and a pain. I love being able to draw and create but it often hurts because I’m striving for the best and can’t always get there.

Why do you think you feel that way about it?

Because I’m cursed with ambition.

Many creative people seem to spend a lot of energy trying to define why they do what they do. Do you? Did you?

Never had the choice. This was all I could turn into a living when I left school. But I have answered a similar question in interviews by saying I loved to draw and loved to write stories, and loved movies and tv, so it was natural I worked in strip art because I could do the things I’m naturally good at and enjoy making things that are like movies and tv at the same time.

V for Vendetta and David Lloyd image

Bloghorn will be publishing some more details about Cartoon Classroom over the new year.

Bloghorn interview with David Lloyd

October 8, 2009 in Comment

V for Vendetta and David Lloyd image

Coming soon.

Who's Going to Watch the Watchmen?

March 4, 2009 in News

watchmenIn case you’ve missed the hype, the film version of one of the most acclaimed graphic novels of all time opens in Britain on Friday 6 March. The movie is, of course, Watchmen, based on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon‘s groundbreaking series of 12 comics, first published in 1986. Set against a alternative vision of 1980s Cold War America it follows the investigations by ‘costumed vigilante’ Rorschach after an ex-superhero is found murdered – although, there’s a lot more to it than that…

Unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of interest and speculation out there in the internet, bolstered by an effective viral campaign on the New Frontiersman (the conspiracy magazine within the comic) and if you can get a copy of the free newspaper Metro (according to the Forbidden Planet blog) this Friday’s edition will come wrapped with a copy of the New Frontiersman. You can get Watchmen coffee and Watchmen condoms, or even an DVD of the Tales of the Black Freighter, an animated version of the pirate comic that features in the narrative.poster_manfalling

There’s a video of Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, on how the film visually stays close to the comic, and an interview in the Times, and Wired has a feature on the comic and film, including an interview with writer Alan Moore. Even New Scientist has got in on the act with the Science of Watchmen.

There’s also a rare chance to see where it all started. Original artwork from issue 1 Page 1 of Watchmen, featuring an excerpt from Rorschach’s diary and the iconic blood-spattered Smiley badge is going to be on display at Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, London WC2H 7JA until the 19th March (thanks to Blimey! for the link).

Lets just hope it lives up to the hype…

PCOer Royston Robertson adds:

Raymond Chandler was once asked what he thought of Hollywood ruining his books. He took the questioner through to his study and pointed to the crime novels on the shelf, saying, “Look, they’re all fine.”

That is kind of how I feel about Watchmen. The graphic novel is an excellent piece of work, and that fact remains, regardless of how good or bad the film adaptation turns out to be.

I would urge anyone, whether they intend to see the film or not, to read Watchmen. It’s the superhero comic for people who don’t like superhero comics. I have never been a fan of the genre myself but in 1988 I was urged by a friend to read Watchmen, so I did. And I’ve read it several times since.

Each time, I get something new out of Watchmen and I’m always bowled over by it. It’s funny, wry, clever, and is a cracking good story. Not unlike the novels of Raymond Chandler, in fact.