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Quarantoons: Cartoons From the New Normal

November 18, 2021 in General

 

PCO member James Mellor introduces his new book:

The coronavirus pandemic has caused the biggest changes to our society in my lifetime.  The changes have been extreme and have affected all aspects of how we live and work.  Importantly, the new way of living has also proved to be very funny, on occasion.  Has anyone ever experienced a seamless zoom meeting?

Cartoon published in Private Eye © James Mellor

Some of these changes to our lives may remain with us, but many will pass into memory.  Creating a compendium of my favourite cartoons documenting this time seemed like a valuable endeavour.  It’s also true that nothing better reflects my work for the past two years.  Covid-19 has dominated the news and therefore my cartoons.

I have cartooned the pandemic in a variety of different arenas.  My topical, satirical cartoons on appeared in Private Eye Magazine throughout the period.  I was also commissioned by various sectors to help them communicate with cartoons.  Amongst the projects were cartoons introducing new safety measures on public transport and a successful illustrated pitch to manufacture vaccines.  Most importantly however, were all the silly, surreal, and sometimes downright strange cartoons created to make people laugh and keep them entertained during a downright strange time.

Cartoon © James Mellor

Everyone has been through a traumatic event, whether they realise that yet or not.  Human beings are meant to be social animals (yes, even we cartoonists who work alone in studios, bunkers, and crypts).  Even for those who stayed well, the isolation and distancing will have taken its toll.  Without entertainment and light relief, I think a lot of us would have gone mad.  Humour keeps us going through adversity and the cartoons that have raised a smile and raised morale have certainly been the most important.

Cartoon © James Mellor

What’s great about compiling a new book is the opportunity to bring together cartoons from all the different areas I work in.  Hopefully there’s a nice mix of satirical and silly.  Perhaps we’re near the end of the Covid story, or perhaps this is only the end of the beginning.  Either way, this book marks the strange and unexpected ways the world has changed for us and the funny side of the new normal.  Not that the old normal was very normal either.

Cartoon © James Mellor

Quarantoons: Cartoons From A New Normal will be published in softback on 18 November, priced £14.99, and is available at Amazon, Waterstones, Blackwells, etc plus online.

 

Quite Interesting Cartoonists

August 25, 2010 in News

PCO member Stevyn Colgan writes:

This year, members of the PCO have once again contributed to the BBC TV series QI and its spin-off book titles. It’s a relationship that has existed ever since the first QI Annual was published in 2008.

The TV show – in which each season follows a letter of the alphabet – was already in its fifth ‘E’ season when it was decided that some sort of annual was in order. True to form, QI inventor John Lloyd (also the man who created The News Quiz, The News Huddlines, Not the Nine O’Clock News, Spitting Image, produced all four series of Blackadder, and co-wrote two episodes of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with his friend Douglas Adams) sought out the funniest contributors he could find, roping in the likes of Rowan Atkinson, Bill Bailey, Jo Brand, Alan Davies and, of course, Stephen Fry. He also needed illustrations and lots of them. And that’s where the relationship with members of the PCO started.

The annuals have featured work by Jonathan Cusick (cover of the ‘G’ Annual), Adrian Teal (who also painted the cover of the ‘F’ annual), and Stevyn Colgan. This Christmas, the brand new ‘H’ Annual will feature more submissions from Adrian and Stevyn. Also, the first three E, F and G Annuals are being bundled into a softback compilation edition in November with a brand new cover by Stevyn. And, for the first time, artwork by Adrian and Stevyn will be seen on the TV show itself gracing the big screens behind the panellists in the episode on ‘Horses’ and ‘Humans’.

The EFG Bumper Book of QI Annuals and the QI ‘H’ Annual are both published by Faber and Faber on November 4th.