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Exhibition is animal magic

July 22, 2012 in Events, News

Animal crackers cartoon by Royston

Animal Crackers cartoon by Royston Robertson @

The exhibition Animal Crackers: A Cartoon and Comic Bestiary is at the Cartoon Museum in London from this Wednesday (July 25).

It looks at how animals have inspired all kinds of cartoonists across the ages, whether they are working in comics, political cartooning, magazine gag cartoons, newspaper strips or animation.

The show promises something for everyone with more than 140 cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novel pages by more than 60 artists. From political images, such as the Russian bear and the City fat cat, to Wallace and Gromit and The Bunny Suicides, all anthropomorphic animal life is here.

Some cartoons suggest how much animals are just like us, such as King Louie of The Jungle Book, or Fred Basset. Others, such as Simon Tofield’s Simon’s Cat and Norman Thelwell’s lovable ponies, highlight our pets’ irritating or endearing habits.

Animal Crackers cartoon by Nick Newman

Animal Crackers cartoon by Nick Newman

Animal Crackers includes works by major names from past and present, including Leo Baxendale, Simon Bond, Peter Brookes, Dave Brown, David Low, Mac, Matt, Chris Riddell, Ronald Searle, John Tenniel, Trog, Dudley D. Watkins and Gahan Wilson.

There’s a healthy showing of members, with Nathan Ariss, Ian Baker, Steve Bell, Andrew Birch, Andy Davey, Hunt Emerson, Jacky Fleming, Martin Honeysett, John Jensen, Nick Newman, right, Ken Pyne, Royston Robertson, above, Martin Rowson, Ralph Steadman, the Surreal McCoy, Colin Whittock, Kipper Williams and Mike Williams.

The exhibition runs until October 21. The Cartoon Museum is in Little Russell Street, near the British Museum. For further details, visit

Round up: What the Bloghorn saw

August 7, 2011 in Comment, News

Rob Murray writes:

Music by The Smiths has inspired a comics collection, Unite and Take Over, due for release in November. Smiths fan Shawn Demumbrum of Phoenix, Arizona has assembled 13 creative teams to interpret songs by the band as comic strips, each three or four pages in length. Demumbrum, who is currently looking for contributions towards printing costs, discusses the project in a promotional video here, and with the Guardian here.

Another rock band, Art Brut, have commissioned a 28-page comic to mark the release of their latest album. The comic features art by Scott Pilgrim creator Bryan Lee O’Malley, and you can read more about the project here.

Elsewhere, a vintage TV clip of film director and Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam discussing his animation techniques has resurfaced courtesy of Cartoon Brew. The blog points out that, given the continuing interest in animation, it is a shame that such shows no longer exist. Bloghorn agrees, but would also like to see more in-depth coverage of other cartooning formats.

As always, please alert us to anything we might have missed, using the comments below. Thanks.


by Royston

Shaggy dog tale is no cartoon fantasy

May 10, 2011 in News

A film which is out in cinemas this week is sure to prove that cartoons about animals are not just for kids.

My Dog Tulip, a grown-up story of an elderly man and his dog, is no Disneyfied anthropomorphic tale. It often concentrates on some of the less appealing aspects of dog ownership, as this clip shows.

It was created by the American animators Paul and Sandra Fierlinger, a husband and wife team, and while it may look like the antithesis of CGI, this making-of clip shows that computers were very much a tool in the creation of the film.

My Dog Tulip film still
My Dog Tulip is based on a 1956 book by the English writer J. R. Ackerley, regarded by some as the best book ever written about dogs, and features the voices of Christopher Plummer and the late Lynn Redgrave.

Cartoonist John Callahan dies

July 26, 2010 in General, News

Quadriplegic cartoonist John Callahan has died, aged 59. Best known for his cartoons satirising attitudes to disability, Callahan was himself paralysed in a car accident in his early twenties. He also wrote books, notably his autobiography Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot (now out of print), its title taken from the cartoon above, and music, and two animated TV shows were produced from his cartoons.

He was also the subject of this documentary for Dutch TV:

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist announced

April 14, 2010 in General

The 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning has been awarded to Mark Fiore of, the San Francisco Chronicle Web site. This marks the first time the prize has been won by a cartoonist who only produces animated web-based cartoons. The Pulitzers, set up to honour excellence in American journalism have been awarded since 1917. The Washington Post have an interview with Fiore here.

In other US cartoon-related award news, the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees have been revealed. Thanks to Alan Gardner at the Daily Cartoonist for the tips.

by Royston

Taking a trip to Grubbe street

April 13, 2010 in General

The Opinions of Tobias Grubbe
BLOGHORN scrivener Mr Matthew BUCK is far too retiring to promote his new endeavour via this organ, lest he appear like Mr Jonathan WOSS endlessly plugging his good lady wife’s new MOTION PICTURE.

Hence, ’tis left to another to tell you about The Opinions of Tobias GRUBBE, by Mr Buck and one Mr Michael CROSS, which you can find on-the-line, as ’twere, at The Guardian news sheet.

‘Tis amusing and not a little TOPICKAL.

by Royston

Animated comedy comes to UK TV

March 29, 2010 in General

Clips from the animated show. Warning: contains rude stuff

The Ricky Gervais Show, in which the comedian’s popular podcasts are brought to visual life with animation, comes to British TV next month.

The HBO show, which features Stephen Merchant, co-creator of The Office, and Karl Pilkington, their friend and former producer from the duo’s days at XFM, will be screened on Channel 4 from April 23.

The animation style is clearly a nod to the cartoons of the Hanna-Barbera studio, with Gervais himself bearing more than a passing resemblance to Fred Flintstone.

The idea of setting animation to existing comic material has been around for some time. Readers with long memories may remember the same thing being done with Jasper Carrott’s I’ve Got This Mole routine. The combination produces something that is very different, sitting halfway between live comedy and regular animated cartoons.

Meanwhile, the BBC reports that the Ricky Gervais Show is to get a second series on US TV.

by Royston

Cartoons are about ideas, not tools

February 1, 2010 in Comment

Traditional animation: Disney’s The Princess and the Frog

You may have read about the new Disney film The Princess and the Frog, which is out this week. What you may also have read is that it is “a return to hand-drawn animation”.

Bloghorn would like to dispute this by pointing out a simple fact: cartoons drawn digitally are still hand drawn.

The tools may have changed, but it takes as much creativity and drawing skill to create a cartoon digitally as it does using pen and paper. Pixar Animation Studios did not create such awe-inspiring digital films as Toy Story and Up by hitting a key or clicking a mouse.

The Princess and the Frog is, rather, a return to traditional methods of animation, and it’s good too see that these can co-exist alongside digital.

What’s notable is that Disney’s first 2D animated film in five years appears now that Walt Disney Animation Studios is being run by John Lasseter, the creative force behind Pixar and a man who knows that it’s not the tools you use that matter, it’s the ideas and creativity.

Or, as Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker, once put it: “It’s not the ink, it’s the think.”

by Royston

When cartoons take to the stage

December 21, 2009 in General

project thumbnail
The Guardian Theatre Blog has a piece on putting cartoons and animation on the stage, as seen in a new production of The Cat in the Hat, and in the Daily Telegraph’s Alex, left.

Read it here: Drawing power: when cartoons and theatre meet

by Royston

Another animated film for grown-ups

May 29, 2008 in General

An unlikely new trend appears to be emerging in the world of film: animated movies for grown-ups. Hot on the heels of the likes of A Scanner Darkly and Persepolis, comes Waltz with Bashir, which was in competition at the recent Cannes Film Festival. See the trailer above.

It’s billed as an “animated documentary”, as the Writer and director Ari Folman uses animation to depict his haunting but vague recollections of the 1982 Israeli Army invasion of Beirut which he took part in, incorporating also the memories of an old friend.

As film writers would no doubt say: Ratatouille, it ain’t! But it’s fascinating to see this medium used in this way.

It’s British cartoon talent