Comics and Cartooning: UK Election 2010

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for (now extinct) Alltern8; Comicking.

With the UK general election happening this week, democracy gets opportunity to curtail the taint destructive politicians have left on the world stage. I thought it might be interesting to deliver a round-up of what some British cartoonists have been saying on the matter.

Labour or the Conservatives (or ‘Unionists’, as they used to be known, and sometimes are in Northern Ireland) have held power for 65 years. So, care of Sean Duffield, a four page look at the Labour leader, David Cameron,

Cameron Taxi Driver

Ah yes, Cameron’s friendship with Rupert Murdoch, Google-fearer and owner of the British registered Newscorp (BSkyB, The Sun, The Times), which avoids paying tax in Britain.

Might we be seeing this sort of thing in a Murdoch-Cameron Britain?

Dave Brown The Independent 2009

Um, sorry? Dave Brown, 2009

Marc Roberts of Throbgoblins,
“I’ve been playing around on PhotoShop (other image manipulation programmes are available) and have come up with the following. It’s mostly a tad sinister – UK politics and the pending ecological debacle”

Here’s his ApoCameron-lypse,

ApocalyptoCAMERON(web)

Crazy internet-fearing Murdoch, drawing threats on the BBC, a public service broadcaster funded by the public since 1933 with it’s aim to present fair impartial reporting.
Here’s a cartoon on favourite LibDem Clegg’s victory by Rich Johnston from the 26th April as originally posted to Guido Fawkes.

RichandMark 26 April

And of course, the always admirable Steve Bell in his work for The Guardian,

3007-30-4-10_FINALDEBATE

So, really a televised leadership election debate should have taken place at the BBC rather than being relegated to third place after the commercially funded ITV and Murdoch’s private BSkyB.

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6560-27-4-10_BEARDCHANGE

Above: Two more from Steve Bell and The Guardian.

Now the UK have a chance to lock Murdoch out of UK politics and cut the propaganda that has seen the nation’s Green Parties, the welsh Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and others locked out of these debates.

Oh, and this guy too.

fascist guy_72dpi

Source: Duffield

2849-28-5-09_GRIFFINPARTY

Source: Bell

The image above by Holocaust-denying racist Nick Griffin, parasite to re-opened multi-party politic talk. It’s another by Sean Duffield: Go and donate a few pounds towards War – The Human Cost, a brilliant BRILLIANT anthology he’s hoping to get out.

The BBC brought us the iconic kids show Bagpuss, and here’s Sean take on Gordon Brown.

sagpuss_page1_with_text_78 sagpuss_page2_mice_and_text_78dpi

Marc Roberts goes for high pitch animals too,

BROWNgorrilla(MINI)(web)

This will be the first UK election since Web 2.0 has fully worked it’s way into British culture. Hopefully we’ll not get any Votergate-type scandals and see elected tolerable agenda for the job.

Murdoch isn’t the only unelected dictator we need to get rid of, after all.

demonicolour468

Source: Mark and Rich, Guido Fawkes

And what of this man?

2593-17-10-07_CLEGG

By Steve Bell

He may very well be the UK’s new Prime Minister.

Modern politics is driven by who you can’t vote for, rather than who you’d like to. Still, being cooped up in Westminster talking only to other politicians is an uneconomical reality to face.

2963-2-2-10_GUILLOTINES

The above cartoons are by Steve Bell. There are some more of them here.

Dave Brown, then Peter Schrank (The Independent) as to how they’re not really of the same thinking state as many of us,

(IMAGES FROM ORIGINAL ARTICLE MISSING)

Some things are just too prescient. Morland Moreton from The Times way back in 2006..

(ORIGINAL IMAGE MISSING)

Please vote on Thursday. Sure they’re all crap, but not voting helps keep them in power. Remember, ‘Hung parliament’ is code for greater democracy.

If you’re interested in similar, less conservative attitudes to British political cartooning try the works of BRICK (aka John Stuart Clark), Kate Evans,Polyp and Kate Charlesworth.

Publisher Tom Humberstone – Launching Solipsistic Pop #2

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

“Solipsistic Pop is a biannual anthology designed to spotlight the best in alternative Comic art from the UK.”sp2cover

The first issue was part fashionable show-off object full of comics such as,

“Meanwhile”: Robbie Wilkinson’s deranged fantastic Kahlenberg and the fever mind demons of the Social Security Agency offices.

Rachel Reichert beautifully colouring a spider into a butterfly.

Monotone sleepwalking and premonition by Anna Saunders.

Phil Spence’s iconic Ninja Bunny, unconfined in Eastern landscapes

Friendship and stability amongst the televised generation, in Tom Humberstone’s real “Special Guest Appearances”

manifesto pop

Tom is the one of the great folk identified with Solipsistic Pop and with Volume 2 launched only a few days ago, it seemed we might like to read an interview with him.

Andy Luke: Hi Tom, I really enjoyed your American election coverage.

Tom Humberstone: Thanks Andy. That seems like a long time ago now. I really miss it actually. I’m hoping to return to America for a prolonged period of time again as soon as I can. If only for the bagels…

Solipstic Pop Fashion

AL: I get the impression Sol Pop people are all young, thin, talented and incredibly gorgeous. What’s in it for old wrinkly jaded fatties like me?

TH: No, I’m pretty hideous. But if the work implies an inherent beauty within all the contributors, I’ll take that compliment. There are some artists involved in Solipsistic Pop who I’ve only spoken to via the internet. The work is, of course, the most important consideration when putting together the line-up. Physical appearance should have very little to do with the artists or the audience. Maybe I should have gone for a funny answer though…

quadropticon01

AL: In your reading, do you have any particular stand-out favourites? For me Mark Oliver’s “Quadropticon”, a comic which will be readable whichever way up you hold it, is quite seducing…

TH: It’d be unfair for me to single out any particular highlights of either book. Best to leave that to someone more objective. Most reviews of the first book selected different pieces to discuss which is what you hope for with an anthology. Everyone taking part is in there because I love their work and want to publish it so it’s safe to say I’m a massive fan of everyone involved. You’re right though, Mark’s Quadropticon is an amazingly inventive piece and well worth wall space in anyone’s house.

Solipstic Pop Manifesto

Above: An excerpt from Kieron Gillen’s manifesto, full version here.

AL: I really enjoyed the text piece manifestos by yourself and Kieron Gillen. Is that attitude and ethos indicative of how Sol Pop came about? Is everyone involved a drinking buddy with a mutual awesome feel towards each other’s work?

TH: Kieron’s introduction was a wonderful addition to the book and something which still manages to put a smile on my face. The manifesto I wrote with Matthew Sheret was something that was written to lay the groundwork for what we wanted to see happen in the UK comics scene and the comics industry in general. It set an agenda for Solipsistic Pop and Sheret’s We Are Words + Pictures. Most of the points in it are fairly self-evident and those working in comics wouldn’t see anything in there that seemed revolutionary at all. But the point was to collate those thoughts and somehow use them to form a blueprint for what we wanted to achieve over the next few years.

Some of the artists in Solipsistic Pop are good friends who work in entirely different fields but whose work has always seemed appropriate to comics in my opinion. When I set out to make Solipsistic Pop, I knew I wanted the contributors to be a mix of established alternative comics creators, up-and-coming creators, and people working in other media giving comics a try. The result is a a varied mix of surprising and fresh approaches to the medium which I find really exciting.

(SOME IMAGES MISSING)

AL: There’s a conscious decision not to make a comic but a packet of comics, with inserts and inserts. This is a hark back to the comics with free gift days, or calling attention to detail?

TH: It’s not so much trying to mimic a specific ‘free gift’ approach but more about making the most out of a physical object. With so many fantastic digital options available to comic creators and publishers, there really needs to be a *reason* for the comics to exist in print. Beyond the high production values of the organic inks, high quality paperstock, and lithographic printing techniques – I also wanted to make each volume a boutique object that is uniquely suited to the content and theme of each book. The first book contained mini-comics as a nod towards the humble small-press UK comics scene and my fondness for the charm of crude, photocopied booklets. Both books come with a newspaper insert which references a Sunday funnies approach. A tradition which informs the American comics scene and which has thus informed our understanding of the artform too. These additions are carefully considered and, if anything, have more in common with the McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern approach to publishing.

AL: How is it funded? Surely production and distribution costs eat up a lot…. (the free style bag-for-life is kinda pretty)

TH: Yeah, Philippa did a superb job with that design. I fund Solipsistic Pop myself. Using savings and whatever freelance work comes my way on top of my full-time job. It’s a struggle. And it has meant that publishing my own work has had to take a slight backseat. But it’s worth it. I’m incredibly proud of these first two volumes and I’m already excited about my plans for Solipsistic Pop 3.

AL: There’s a question I should have asked you but my girlfriend just broke up with me. What was the question and it’s answer?

TH: Oh… um… wow, this is awkward…

You buy a copy of the newly released Solipsistic Pop via their website. Volume 1 was subtitled and themed “Broken” and the new edition, “Middle”

Comicking (news tidbits)

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

 Walking On Broken Diamond

I raised an eyebrow at the serious empathy shown Diamond Distribution when they raised their minimum unit number recently. The cat’s out of the bag though, from this very long story about Checker Comics cutting ties, tweeted by the impressive and often Geoffrey D. Wessel.

People will be keeping an eye to see if this could threaten to dissolve the time-space continuum of comics distribution as we know it.
(Rich Johnston on Steve Geppi’s house-sale)
Solipstic Pop Takes London

Out soon. New work by loads of people.

Solipstic

“Book two of Solipsistic Pop contains 64 pages of sequential art from some of the best comic artists, illustrators and designers working in the UK today. With a 12 page newspaper insert, gorgeous gatefold cover and specially designed tote bag, it’s a must have for any comic fan.”

Check the website for details. The images above were put together by Luke Pearson.

 

Comics Festival Fortnight Ireland

Ireland has two comics festivals coming up. In the north, Derry hosts the wildly popular 2D festival, now in its fourth year. Special guests announced include Pat Mills, Leigh Gallagher, Rufus Dayglo, Garry Leach, Jamie McKelvie, Kieron Gillen, Gary Erskine, Colin McNeil, Ilya, Will Simpson, Davy Francis, Bridgeen Gillespie, Phil Barrett, Maeve Clancy, Paddy Brown and this one. For starters. 2D is made possible by the Derry Verbal Arts Centre, David Campbell and a host of hard working volunteers. It caters for the academic nerd and the whole family and does so quite well. Phew. Taking place this year from Thursday 3rd to Saturday 5th June.

The Point Village in Dublin, if this brochure is anything to go by, is a spanking new exhibition centre, a bit big and shiny like Birmingham’s ThinkTank.On Saturday 12th June Hilary Lawler (Longstone Comics, SuperHillbo!) is putting together a special comics festival. I’ll be there with Paddy Brown and many other well-known stars of the Irish comics scene. Special guest Jenika from London will also be there. Jenika is known for creepy lovely vampire goth comics. Also for having a chair at festivals in the hall part of her table for weary travellers to sit. Stylish. Tables are free, contact  02villagefreetable(at)gmail(dot)com for details.

More news on both these events as they emerge over the coming month.

Four Colour Love

Comics Tutor Steve Bissette of the Centre For Cartoon Studies to the comics frat as the cartoonist behind Alan Moore’s ground-breaking run on Swamp Thing and author of the self-published Tyrant, chronicling the early life of a tyrannosaurus rex. Also as publisher of Taboo, the anthology which kick-started From Hell. Oh, and 1963, which with Moore and a host of mainstram and alternative artists brought us the most wonderfully fun superhero comics series of all time.

Retired from the industry, Bissette has no wish to invoke the Moore scotch but wishes to leave a legacy for his children and students. To that end, 1963 characters N-Man, The Fury, The Hypernaut, and Sky Solo are to appear in Tales of the Uncanny – N-Man & Friends: A Naut Comics History, Vol. 1 from About Comics. This 200 page volume  features new work from Bissette and accompanying-universe characters from his students. Contributions are on a work-for-hire contract, Bissette retaining the trademark for characters he has designed and students apparently retaining theirs for new work in the book.

Worth a sponsor I suppose. The book is ready at the end of the year and the preview given out at Mocca can be ordered via paypal from Mr. Bissette while stocks last.

The Above News Story Via Rantin’ Rich Johnston.

Oh, and eventually CBR and TCJ

Why Is Everyone Ignoring Paper Tiger Comix: War – The Human Cost ?

Seems I was wrong on my initial predictions that pre-orders necessarry for publishing this book would be reached within the month

There are still about two weeks left to get a comic that contains a host of professionals such as Spain Rodriguez, an album containing a host of professionals such as  Michael Franti and the Spearheads, and donate to Campaign Against Arms Trade.Pre-subscriptions are required for printing costs. See Paper Tiger Comix and IndieGoGo.

Free Runaway Who

Oli Smith, revolutionary mini-comics dealer has his first Doctor Who book, The Runaway Train, imminent. This Saturday the audio version, voiced by Matt Smith and Karen Gillen, is being given away free with Britain’s Telegraph paper. This is sure to disappear very quickly and probably highly ebayed, launching Oli’s career nationwide. No delays to that platform then.

And hopefully, he’ll not end up looking like Tom Baker when he’s old.

Swipefile.

The new eye-in-the-stalk from Victory of the Daleks, Mid-April.

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The new comic by Ralph Kidson, Early March.

(Image Missing: The story refers to “Dalek Home Guard”, which was created around about the same time as production on “Victory of the Daleks”. Both featured Daleks serving tea from eye-stalks uttering, “Would you like some tea?”)

Hate to say I told you so.

A Comic In 366 Frames

Warsaw cartoonist Dennis Wojda writes,

“I’ve decided to make a comic. I will draw one frame each day during one year plus one day. That’s 366 frames. I have no script and I have no story. It’s an experiment. It’s a flow.”

But who will review all these comics?

Matthew Murray is “Reviewing zines and minicomics every day.” on his 365zines blogspot. He has a stack of unread gear, but is welcoming to trades. (Source: Matt Badham)

Filmish

Matt sent me a copy of ‘Filmish’ by Edward Ross, which appears to be degree assignments on film theory essays in comic strip form. As such it reads too McCloudian on occassion, but for all its flaws I’m very happy that work like this exists. 24 A5 pages of black and white comic book for only £3 plus p+p. Now available with Paypal for UK, European and U.S. customers!

Irish Cthulu


Talesofthe.com is worth a mention. Featuring Stephen Downey and Andrew Croskery of Insomnia in Irish arts freeform. The new site contains comics, paintings and music. Featuring Downey’s debut directing short films with a brilliantly disturbed Malachy Coney in the lead role. Worth a see.

 

In Absentia

The print version of my new comic launched in London and Belfast last week.

Number 25, Quarter Centennial. Check it out in the display in the Hoxton district in London’s East End at Bookart Bookshop before the end of the month. Look for it to appear in Belfast’s Black Market, Derry’s 2D festival and Dublin’s Point Village Market. Interested retailers get in touch.

Contact me for news stories, stuff and things at drew.luke(at)gmail.com or join us on the forums.

 

South Park – 200 And Won!

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

“We promised we’d not let any harm come to Mohammad”

– Stan

south park happy 200 and won

Critics hit on the notion early South Park had a quality of nonsense lost to the later infiltration of celebrity appearances and “messages”. I concede I’m a minority proudly of the view that early episodes were not very good. Furthermore, they were without direction. The motif of offending everyone looks stronger when not so crass, when plush Kenny dolls are not inserted into every artifice and orifice. The attack on celebrities by South Park celebrates powers of parody, and questions a society that, however uneven-handed, elected them. The Simpsons comes under less fire for it’s pandering employment of idiots, ad-men and war criminals. South Park is an act of communication: so why do Western brats whine about “messages”?

tom cruise is a fudgepacker

Parker and Stone approach the milestone 200th gracefully, celebrating incarnations of the show along the spectrum. Beautifully self-referential, the newly offended Tom Cruise does what any melodramatic villian does. He assembles together other offended celebrities to launch a class action lawsuit against the town. Desperate to avoid destruction, they manage to cut a deal with Cruise: he has always wanted to meet the prophet Muhammad.

superfriends

From there to the Super Best Friends, a Justice League of Deities where Stan might enlist Muhammad’s help. Except that some Muslims have forbidden it, already parodied in the Park as a threat issued to the mediocre Family Guy staff. 

Other implications included a threat on Danish cartoonist Go’morgen Danmark and an auction house turning down Danmark’s efforts to help the victims of the Haitian earthquake. 

That, and stealing teddy bears and teachers from children.

bear bomb

(Hushed tones) “Oh, is that okay?”

(muffled) “I dunno”

Between the airing of ‘200’ and ‘201’, Parker and Stone received death threats from Muslim extremist predictables. The decision spurred Comedy Central to censor ‘201’, bleeping out every pronunciation of Mohammad and (presumably by implication), the customary final speech which included not a mention of Mohammad.

Growing up in Northern Ireland where people were murdered one another over for religion, I saw the hypnosis for enslavement to cover for trades of arms, property and drugs. For most of the people on this planet, we’re pissed off with Abu Talhah al Amrikee, Westboro Baptist Church and Tom Cruise. Worse, we’re embarassed. Then, it’s all a bit too tiresome really.

The censorship strips back the layer of visibility: the episode has little to do with Mohammad, or even the image of a representation of Mohammad. It’s about what can and can’t be shown in a clips episode. It doesn’t affect the creation of a piece of art which is most parts epic Hollywood blockbuster like Longer, Bigger and Uncut or Imaginationland. A homage to great superhero cartoons and comics and theatrical drama. It’s about making people laugh and engaging them with surprise and thorough Story. Less than three minutes into the Muslim censor-fest of ‘201’, this is made abundantly clear.

The message is obviously about the power and bleeping. This was a bleeping great episode all the same.

Parker and Stone anticipate many moves ahead with subtle kind gestures. Careful, entertaining and attuned. Some things hardly need to be communicated, but I’m going to go there anyway: It ain’t The Wire, but it remains one of the smartest shows on American television.

Spoilers are censored. If you’re religious, maybe you can forgive me?

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South Park Online is currently not streaming ‘201’ presumably until the heat blows over. Or Mecha-Streisand calms down and forgets about the torrents.

Ralph Kidson on Working with Daleks and Animals

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

Interview Ralph

Ralph Kidson is the creator of Captain Dolphin, Sad Animal and Envelope and Stick. He’s also the funniest cartoonist in Britain. Around the late nineties, his unique work inspired a cult readership, the sort of cult that sometimes accidentally pee their pants when laughing. Maybe.

His recent booklets include “Doctors’ Waiting Room”, a work of masterful observation, cracking comedy skills and hidden manifesto for alt. comics distribution. “Animal Jobcentre” followed directly and in much the same way records the ludicricousness of the everyday through his unique “RalphieVision”. “Dalek Home Guard” arrived fairly shortly after. Here, Ralph uses the the language of “Dad’s Army”, a classic British sitcom about WWII troops, to create a bridge between old and new and dark and comic-lite interpretations of the Daleks.(Update: Or so I thought. Having seen the trailer for this week’s ‘Churchill’s Daleks’ episode of Doctor Who, I wonder if he might have had foreknowledge of it’s content.)

I bunged a few pairs of briefs in the wash, and sat down to ask Ralph some questions about his work.

Andy Luke: I was wondering if you could clear something up for me? I heard a story from Pete Ashton that you produced a comic on a door, with hinges acting as staples. This apparently was sold at the art auction at the Caption comics festival one year, with the buyer having some difficulty getting it onto the bus..

Ralph Kidson: It wasn’t a door, not as big as that! Me and a guy called Rich Smith (Teenage Suicide) got together to make a giant free-standing comic for one of the ‘Sofa’ Brighton small-press group’s gallery shows. There were about 3 or 4 of these shows in the mid-90’s…anyway, it was Rich’s idea, I blame him. We went and bought about 10 big ( 4 foot high, I’d say,x 2 foot wide ) sheets of plywood, painted ’em white, let ’em dry, then painted a really awful comic on the ‘pages’, plus a cover and back-cover. It was ‘bound’ I think by just drilling 2 holes in the side of each sheet, then tying ’em all together with cord or string.
We set out to make it as offensive as we could, with lots of babies and grannies and wheelchair-bound folk being slaughtered in a supermarket, lots of swearing, references to Satan etc., in the hope that a local newsman might wander in, see it, and write an inflammatory piece about the show corrupting the minds of young Brightonians or something. Bit of publicity, get the punters in…but no-one batted a fucking eyelid!

AL: A layman might look at your comics and think they’re junk. Asides from writing great pacing and dialogue, the panels are often actually quite detailed and worked. I’m also aware you have a fine portrait skills. So why the minimalist approach?

RK: Um, I dunno, I’ve just always drawn comics like that. I think that really all comic strip or book art is a very codified way of reforming what we see around us. The key thing for me has always been clarity of expression, having the image work completely in sync with the words or ideas, and not distract from the ‘whole’. I really really hope that people don’t read my stuff and get held up every other panel thinking ‘Jesus, what’s wrong with that guy’s ARM…why is his HEAD so big?’ or stuff like that,
that’s the biggest no-no for me in comics.

AL: Undoubtedy, you’ve got skills and a ready audience. I’m wondering if you’ve ever considered writing for paying professional publishers. Is there anything there that’s a realistically tempting avenue to pursue? I know you’ve been featured in Cerebus, Dee Vee and probably loads more…

RK: Yeh, I’m sure there are plenty of avenues like that, but I’ve always been blind to them. I think I’m pretty fucked-up and self-defeating, always have been. Now I just do the comics ‘cos it makes me happy, and send ’em out to people I like, and don’t think about the rest.

AL: You’ve taken to stapling single sheets for your work. On my copy of your latest book, Dalek Home Guard, it’s hand-numbered 03/2010. How do you manage that high level of personalisation with all your comics? I’d find it an endurance trial. Don’t you worry that having something of a cult following might be more than you can cope with?

RK: I’m more concerned about unsustainable global population increases. And the warts on my cock.

AL: Are there any amusing or frightening stories to be told from the church of Ralphie? Has anyone offered you their virgin daughters, or slid a stick and envelope under the toilet door?

RK:Once at a Caption this girl came up and said ‘Oh you do Captain Dolphin, I’m a big fan’, so I said ‘Oh great, thanks, that’s really nice of you…so what do you do?’…
and she went ‘Nothing. I’m mad.’ And she wasn’t joking.

AL: Can you tell us a bit about your influences, comedic or informative?

RK: Comedically…Charles Schultz, Bill Watterson, Johnny Hart, Sergio Aragones, Gary Larson, Garry Trudeau, early Jim Davis, Johnny Ryan, Spike Milligan, Alex Graham, Dennis Worden, Bob Burden, Peter Bagge, Mack White, Kaz, Nicholas Gurewitch, Dave Sim, Modern Toss, Eric Morecambe, The Mighty Boosh, Simon Munnery, Stewart Lee, Richard Herring, Sean Lock, Willans & Searle, Ambush Bug, babysue, Charlie Brooker, Steve Bell, Scott Musgrove, the BRILLIANT Roy Tompkins, Maaike Hartjes, Mawil, Lewis Trondheim, Ken Campbell, Chris Ware, Lisa Holdcroft, early John Cleese, Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, Richard Pryor, Bob Newhart, Terence ‘Larry’ Parkes, Mark Marek, the Viz boys…and a shit-load more I can’t remember, probably. AquaTeamHungerForce!
Other comics folks I love…Jim Woodring, Alan Moore, Pat Mills, Garth Ennis, Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Webster, Gary Panter, Kev O’Neill, Mike McMahon, Julie Doucet, Kirby & Ditko, Frank Quitely, Rich Corben, Moebius, Manara, Frank Thorne, Brendan McCarthy, Frank Miller, Bryan Talbot, Hunt Emerson, Chester Brown, David Lloyd,  Kilian Plunkett, Joe Sacco, Terry LaBan, Tanino Liberatore, Frank Stack, Steve Gerber, Gilbert Shelton, Malcy Duff.

Other artists…painters like Morandi, Redon, Friedrich, Guston, Paul Nash, Ravillious, Bocklin, Cecil Collins, Manet, Baselitz, Peter Doig.

AL: I notice you gave a shout-out to Paul Rainey’s ‘No Time Like the Present’. What’s on your reading list this month?

RK: A 1970’s paperback book-sized collection of early Lee & Ditko ‘Doctor Strange’, gorgeously coloured inside. Three-issue Marvel Knights ‘Strange Tales’ from last year, lots of crazy alternative types tackling the Marvel Universe, great fun. ‘A Land’ by Jacquetta Hawkes…a poetic history of Britain from Pre-Cambrian times, when it was seabed, to the present day. Razzle readers’ letters page.

Hope that’s okay for you Andy…

AL: That oughtta keep me atop Google listings for a few months.

RK: Cheers, Ralph

AL: Cheers, Andy

Ralph’s work is available by writing to Ralph Kidson, 3 Langridges Close, Newick, East Sussex, BN8 4LZ. Please add 50p (£1 for non-UK) for postage and packing.

 

ORIGINAL COMMENTS

nice interview. can someone who works for a grown up publishing house and distribution empire get it sorted that all of his back catalogue is put together in one great big compendium with a range of greetings cards, animated shorts on E4 and t-shirts please. Everyone should have Ralph Kidson’s work in their lives and I’ve never been more serious in my life, well, possibly when I was saw my first nipper being born, that was pretty serious but apart from that, the above.
Posted by skip-rat media small press dept. on 15 April 2010 21:10
Great interview with a great talent. And by the way Andy I have your book about your late granny.
Posted by DAVID LLOYD on 18 April 2010 07:48
If anyone would like to contact Ralph, he’s availble by email at btinternet.com, ralphiek
Zum Comics Kidson archive of the first two issues of Captain Dolphin is around and Paul Rainey deserves a link

Ah, thanks David. That it got to you was one of those things I meant to follow up on, but it got away from me. Twisty turny all over the road lifetime piling up.
Posted by Andy Luke on 18 April 2010 17:53

Scroobius Pip – Poetry in (e)motion

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

http://titanbooks.com/products/uk/10750-poetry_in_emotion_the_illustrated_words_of_scroobius_pip/ scroobius - back cover intro

Artists across the Atlantic picked up their instruments to accompany Hip-Hop poet Scroobius Pip and lay new dimensions to his range of pieces. The illustrations largely draw from the language of comic strip, although only CJ McCracken’s work employs speech bubbles, and they’re quite suited. In his introduction, Scroobius recalls being shown a comic book on philosophy and finds the subject matter accessible because of the form it was presented in. As fair a testament as any to the excellent alchemy at work within this book. Each of the artists bring very different styles to very different works.

scroobius - intro

The scribbly scrawly of beserk and abandon of Cowfree relating Scroobius’ head time in ‘Rat Race’.

Ben Williams, On Thou Shalt Not Kill, delivers meticulous AND free-form zine culture sigil art.

Damian Claughton’s Phonogram-esque designs, impressing style and warmth and class, at home with this piece of book: professional and managing simplicity.

Joe Cunningham’s contribution to “When I Grow Up” which approaches like your favourite dog: full of love, bringing belonging and an ounce of silliness. Cunningham is part-Herge.

Anthony Gregori and Michael Spicer on “1,000 Words”, underwater mysticism, with a fairytale quality which would have been at home in the DFC.

CJ McCracken’s shaped orange and greys, sliding and angular, going for that slacker webcomic feel.

Mister Paterson’s living tattoo man, frozen with animated arms, alike a comix real treatment of a DC character in “Shamed”, the empathic and undoubtedly stark relation to homelessness.

scroobius - artists

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Often from darkest places, Scroobius is and Co. are on missions to retrieve and return with insight and inspiration. This is most evident in “The Magician’s Assistant”, a love poem and hell rage on the subject of self-harm. It’s deeply compassionate in realism to the point. The most effective work I’ve seen on the matter. It’s an engaging survival call which illustrator translates perfectly the integrity of in sketchbook and scrapbook collage. Both artists come across as nothing less than genuinely important and brilliant.

From dark places also come delightfully frivolous works, which impart experiential wisdom. Matt Frodsham and Pip team up on a wonderful blend of these matters in “Waiting for the beat to kick in”. Poetry in the form of structured short story, Scroobius relates meetings with characters from some of his favourite old films. Elwood P Dowd (Harvey), Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything), Billy Brown (Buffalo ’66) and Walter Neff (Double Indemnity) are each encountered by the narrator on his journey through the city. Frodsham illustrates their attempts to offer advice in exemplary cine noir style. Like Pip, his senses have paid close attention to the screen and the record re-envoked here is a joy to see.

The theme of advice runs through the book, subject to scrutiny and so rarely annoys as preachy. Scroobius etc seduce, and employ the fine coffee table edition quality print to good effect. Titan Books have generously made this 104-page hardback accessible by putting it out for a tenner ($17.95 US/$21.50 CAN). The book’s (possibly uncredited) designers provide the collection a strong visual feel which give it an extra showiness.

The piece is lined with a great set of sleeve notes from Scroobius Pip to you, the reader. Decorated with a fine assortment of gig posters there to show off how pretty they are. And they are. On the whole, a well-rounded package and one I’ll return to. Built to last. Thanks guys.

Update: You can buy the paper-back edition of Poetry  in (e)motion from publishers Titan at the reasonable £9.99.

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scroob41 when i grow up scroobius pip joe cunningham

War and Art – The Human Cost

A re-blog from the archives of my regular column for Alltern8; Comicking.

Easter Monday saw the emergence of an anthology I’ve been awaiting for several years. “War: The Human Cost” features 260 pages of strips and art   from addicted to war - the high cost of militarismfrom 17 countries. The acclaimed Spain Rodriguez contributes a short on faith-based terrorism and Hannes Pasqualini comes in with 8 pages of silent comic on dehumanisation amongst soldiers. Documentaries include the alliance between Francisco Franco and the Catholic Church after the Civil War, Vietnam, Camp X-Ray Guantanamo.

Child Soldier

Above: Excerpt from “Child Soldier”

Paper Tiger Comix editor Sean Duffield,

“The comic strips include well researched stories from around the world (Tibet, Afghanistan, Israel & Palestine, Liberia, Iraq, Uganda, etc.) which cover everything from human rights struggles, war veterans & PTSD, political imprisonment & torture, child soldiers (a narrative based on UNICEF reports), refugees /asylum seekers, peace campaigners, the arms trade, corruption/ conflicts of interest, millitary spending, propaganda to humour & satire.”

There’s also work from “Peter Kuper, Alexsandar Zograf, Ulli Lust, Mazen Kerbaj, Abu Mahjoob, Nelson Evergreen” and other underground cartoonists and established commercial artists.

£1 from every purchase of the not-for-profit book goes to the well-respected NGO, CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade).There’s also a CD included with the package.

“The CD features well known artists who support the project, such as Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sly & Robbie, DJ Spooky, Blue King Brown, Zion Train, The Levellers, Big Youth & Twilight Dub Circus, The Groove Corporation & many more.”

A mammoth project, yes. Paper Tiger have made use of a the interest in such a project in order to bring it to the public.

AK 47 Tale2

AK-47 Tale Page 2

The book has taken many years to get ready for release. In common with other independent comix press, the halting block is one of finances for printing and distribution. In order to publish the work Paper Tiger Comix needs to raise £3000, the final half of the amount needed. See the green box for how they plan to do it,

(Accompanying images in original article: Camp X-Ray Guantanamo and Patronage War)

To my mind it’s taken this project too long to get to this stage. Paper Tiger Comix and Sean Duffield have a strong track record with previous publications. Paper Tiger’s model at Indiegogo appears to allow donations-for-donations sake, donations which encompass a discount on pre-orders (and free shipping to anywhere), and a grander scale of VIP incentives.

The creators of Phonogram, as I commented last week, might have been tempted to produce a 3rd series if the Patronage model of artist sponsorship was more prevalent. The comics industry status quo is to reward (even established commercial) artists several months after product has been sold. By going ‘Patronage’, Paper Tiger is wisely making use of an already existing audience for an unpublished product. There’s every indication that the money raised will surpass that aim fairly quickly. There are many ‘for-profit’ publications which could attract this kind of audience sponsorship.

Expect to see “Patronage” continue to enjoy a resurgence over the next number of years. Smart music industry artists (ie. not the BPI) have been increasingly using this model since the rise of the internet. I suspect progressive independent builders in the digital downloads market will in the future add a Patronage facility to help with pre-production costs for the art and sponsorship of print-on-demand services.

‘War: The Human Cost’ addresses an international audience. Proceeds will go to CAP (Community Art Projects) “a constituted Community Group based in Brighton UK), to fund future activities” The money donated to (London-based) CAAT, will fund their work in regulating arms companies and taking action against illegal arms deals.

And those look like fine comics.

UPDATE: You can still get a copy of this fine collection from http://www.papertigercomix.com/?page_id=9