Posts from — June 2011
June 30, 2011 No Comments
The Henley Royal Regatta is an essential event in the British social calendar and this year it also includes a quality cartoon show.
Pictures of genteel landscapes and nature studies jostle for position with slightly more than an eights worth of Regatta themed cartoons. Visitors will find a large boatload of terrific jokes punted into position in the hallowed Member’s Enclosure and all providing an irreverent take on a great British institution.
The exhibition, organised by the PCO, will run throughout the week of the Regatta from June 29th. If you are in the area, you may enjoy the work of Ken Pyne, Bill Stott, Clive Goddard, The Surreal McCoy, Royston Robertson, Noel Ford, Pete Dredge, Nathan Ariss, Rosie Brooks, John Roberts and William Rudling.
June 29, 2011 2 Comments
Summer is here and our thoughts turn to holidays, so the latest issue of Foghorn, the magazine of the Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation, looks at the behaviour of the British abroad. The cover is by the PCO’s Robert Duncan. The magazine is available to subscribers for the annual price of £20 for six full colour issues.
Roger Penwill on on a travel adventure worthy of Samuel Beckett.
Rupert Besley on the holidays of his youth, when anything foreign was the subject of deep mistrust.
Clive Goddard on America, and how it is really rather big.
Clive Collins on the freelancer’s fear of taking time off.
And you’ll find a full page of cartoons by Andrew Birch.
Plus lots more: the Critic, the Foghorn Guide, the Potting Shed … and several straining suitcases packed with funny cartoons about what we did on our holidays.
You can read older issues of Foghorn online here, right up to our most recent issue.
June 28, 2011 No Comments
Following up, he considers whether it is possible to generate a universal caption that would work with all the cartoons featured in the magazine’s long-running caption contest, and asks readers to suggest their own. Mankoff analysed some of these in a subsequent blog.
Five postcards by prolific cartoonist and master of the double entendre, Donald McGill, have gone on sale for the first time since being banned on obscenity grounds 56 years ago. The cards have been reprinted and sold by the Donald McGill Postcard Museum on the Isle of Wight, and the Daily Mail has the full story here.
Two months on from the royal wedding, Pippa Middleton is still making headlines – this time in cartoon form. The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister stars in a tongue-in-cheek comic strip, one of several released as part of the marketing campaign for video game Infamous 2.
A New York Times blog entry by historian Adam Goodheart deconstructs a cartoon that ran in Harper’s Weekly at the start of the American Civil War, and which later proved prophetic. It should make interesting reading for enthusiasts of both history and cartoons.
Meanwhile, in Russia, a new cartoon strip depicting prime minister Vladimir Putin and president Dmitry Medvedev as superheroes foiling a Speed-style bomb plot has become an internet hit. Creator Sergei Kalenik says he created the Superputin strip to change people’s depressing views of Russia’s political scene. You can read the strip in English translation here.
June 24, 2011 No Comments
Golf’s man of the moment Rory McIlroy added a unique cartoon memory to his recent US Open victory. You can find the classic handover of artwork photograph in this story from The Sun.
Bloghorn hat tips PCO cartoonist Andy Davey.
June 23, 2011 1 Comment
Master Cartoonist John Jensen wrote to Bloghorn about the stories of criticism for the one year postgraduate study into Comics and Visual Communication recently launched by the University of Dundee. We publish his letter below.
Tom Harris is an MP whose hobbies include astronomy, science, fiction, cinema, karaoke and tennis. He was a journalist before he became a politician. His activities, particularly his wide range of hobbies (how does he find the time?) suggests a broad interest in the world around him.
Fiction or, if you want to be up-market, literature deals in words, whilst the cinema deals in pictures and they both, at their best, deal in ideas. So do comics, which deal in all these things.
The history of comics is itself a wonderful journey through time and many talents (admittedly some of them terrible!) but modern comics and graphic novels are revelatory. Countries such as the UK, France, Germany, Belgium and Italy publish works showing the wide differences, and occasional resemblances, between each other. The United States and Japan share the comic experience but manga and its storylines is different from the storylines and violence found in Marvel Comics or in DC publications.
Many studies, either useful or just plain interesting, are to be found in those little story-telling boxes. The University of Dundee is offering a one-year Masters degree in comic studies: one year, not three. Probably too many students will try to enter what they see as an easy option, but someone perceptive and genuinely interested in the juxtaposition of words, pictures and ideas will not be wasting their time or ours – except, of course that of Tom Harris MP. After a hard nights karaoke, taking in a serious study of ‘the relationship between international comics cultures’ would be just too tiring!
Bloghorn thanks PCOer John Jensen for his thoughts and invites you to share yours in the comments below. If you are interested in the local reaction to the comments of Tom Harris and the issue you can read them at the Dundee Courier.
June 23, 2011 No Comments
Twitter is a thorn in the side of the courts today, with the superinjunctions row, but in the early 19th century the publisher William Hone used the communications technology of his day — pamphlets and cartoons — to keep one step ahead of the law.
This 1819 caricature of the Prince Regent by Cruikshank, right, is from Hone’s The Political House that Jack Built. Freedland finds that as with Twitter today, information spread through the populace far ahead of the law’s ability to keep up with it, via the collaboration between Hone and Cruikshank.
June 21, 2011 No Comments
If you have been following this story you will be unsurprised that Bloghorn thinks comics, and cartooning in all its forms, are all too readily undervalued in the UK.
It is more acceptable in the cultures of Japan, the US and across Europe to consider the narrative techniques and visual artistry employed by commercial artists as a powerful form for business and personal communication as well as entertainment and teaching.
The best single piece of evidence we offer is the attitude of the UK arts funding body – The Arts Council – towards the national Cartoon Museum* which despite its popularity, and the long history of the form in the UK , receives no central funding. We wrote about this here.
Of course, there are some exceptions in this country – political cartooning, for example, tends to receive grudging respect for its obviously satirical and “real-world” relevance. But all too often, the “cartoon” and “comic” are used here as catch-all terms for anything that is unsophisticated, childish or tacky.
Tom Harris speaking about the establishment of a one-year Postgraduate degre in study of Visual Communication at the University of Dundee. – The home of publishers DC Thomson
Another political figure, the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, did exactly that last week. Criticising the Daily Mail, he described the paper as a “sexist, racist, bigoted comic cartoon strip”(Bloghorn is only interested in the second half of that assertion, which we feel is a little unfair).
Academic appreciation of cartooning is, in fact, not new: since 1973, the University of Kent has hosted the British Cartoon Archive, a collection of more than 150,000 pieces intended to encourage the study and appreciation of cartoon art, including comic strips. The Cartoon Archive is freely open to those wishing to carry out research, and is actively involved in promoting the art form – often in collaboration with the national Cartoon Museum, the PCO and its fellow cartoonists organisations, the BCA and the CCGB.
Bloghorn is made by Matthew Buck, Royston Robertson, Alex Hughes and Rob Murray on behalf of the UK Professional Cartoonists’ Organisation
* We say please consider becoming a member to help fund them
June 17, 2011 4 Comments
This story raised a storm about the value of the drawn form as a subject worthy of study. The row provoked by the Labour MP Tom Harris has provided some lively correspondence for Bloghorn. Rob Murray reports:
Dr Ernesto Priego, co-editor of The Comics Grid, publicly responded to Mr Harris by asking him whether he also believed that film courses constitute dumbing down.
Speaking to Bloghorn he said: “The new programme at Dundee is a triumph for comics scholarship worldwide.
“It will certainly be an asset for Dundee and the UK.
“The MP’s opinion was misinformed. It represents the view of many people who still don’t understand what comics are, have been, can be.” Dr Priego added: “I believe it’s also our responsibility to inform the wider public, and the policy makers, [of] the importance of graphic storytelling.”
Dr Priego is not alone. The Dundee East MP Stewart Hosie has also come out against his colleague’s comments. You can read his thoughts on the cultural value of comics here.
Bloghorn thanks Dr Priego who holds a PhD in Information Studies, focusing on comics and digital technology, for his time and opinions.
EDITED: Noon 16th June
Bloghorn thanks Gregor Murray from the office of Stewart Hosie for passing details of the local media story which you can read here.
Editor, Matthew Buck adds:
Isn’t there a need for more courses like Dundee’s (at degree level or, indeed, much lower down the education “value chain”) to help move opinion about drawing beyond such ill-informed prejudice?
It would help develop better practice of communication for both business and people in the digital age.
Please have your say in the comments below. Bloghorn will be publishing more reaction to this story tomorrow.
June 16, 2011 2 Comments
It’s free to get in — which is only fair as we taxpayers effectively own all the artworks on show – so I went along to see it. All the works have been selected by political figures, including Nick Clegg, Peter Mandelson, and the Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, who chose the work above, Michael Landy’s Compulsory Obsolescence (click to enlarge).
This caught my eye as it features a strip from Viz comic, as well as other cartoons and some humorous writing. There are letters, faxes and other paraphernalia, all of which are reactions to Landy’s most famous work: Break Down, which saw him destroy everything he owns in 2001.
Now, we’ve been here before, with “proper artists” appropriating the work of cartoonists, as well as posh galleries showing us what they think is funny. But this is a bit different.
Crucially, this is not a collage. Nor is it a print of a collage. In fact, the whole thing is a meticulous pen and ink drawing on a very big piece of paper (70cm by 99cm). That in itself made it quite impressive, as well as making me fear for Landy’s sanity as it must have taken an age to create.
The Viz strip, a two-page “The Critics” story which mercilessly takes the mickey out of Landy, is, of course, very funny. But what’s also funny is the thought of the victim of the strip slavishly copying it out. I found that oddly moving, like the ultimate expression of British people being willing to laugh at themselves!
Unlike the anonymous cartoonists appropriated by the likes of the painter Roy Lichtenstein, the creator of “The Critics”, John Fardell, is credited, as are others featured in the work. I found it a fascinating piece and could have spent a lot longer poring over its details.
June 14, 2011 1 Comment