Saturday, March 31, 2012

April Fools from years past!

With April Fools just a few hours away (here in New Zealand at least), I thought I'd show you a few prank-filled issues from the past, starting off with this Dandy comic, which is dated 1st April 1967 (although it probably went on sale a week before).

There was lots of pranks being played in this issue, the first one is the Korky the Cat strip in which a man is trying to rob him of his riches!

Inside Desperate Dan plays some great pranks on his nephews, and even goes on to fool the sheriff! Art by Dudley Watkins.

Dirty Dick, who doesn't get remotely dirty in this issue, has some great ideas for pranks - including a trick pen and some fake eggs! Illustrated by Jimmy Hughes.

Davey Law's excellent Corporal Clott story shows the big buffoon actually using his brain for once - in order to get him a free feed! Of course, it all backfires on him in the end!

The following Winker Watson story isn't exactly an April fools special, mainly as it doesn't mention 'April Fools' until the last panel, and also because Winker is always getting up to pranks like these! Art by Eric Roberts.

The Smasher is an excellent story with some great ideas for pranks despite the fact Smasher doesn't actually live up to his name by smashing anything. Drawn by Hugh Morren.

Another strip that got into the spirit of things was Brassneck, which includes the classic bucket above the door trick! 

And finally, Frank McDiarmid's wonderfully illustrated Big Head and Thick Head, which filled up the back cover. Unless you happen to own a cafe or a toffee factory, the only trick you'll be able to play from this page is the rope and bucket prank!

The Dandy really got into the spirit of April fools, but, as your about to see, Fleetway's Buster comic, didn't.

Judging by the cover above, you'd probably point at me and yell - "LIAR!", but trust me - thats all there is. 

Sadly, only two pages of April fools fun, and it's the same story for the Buster comic of the previous year!

Well, that rounds it up for now - I hope you've all got some ideas from the three comics I've shown you! Now go out there and get pranking!

An Interview with Neill Cameron

Neill Cameron is the cartoonist of Pirates of Pangaea for The Phoenix, which is written by Daniel Hartwell! This interview is about 2 1/2 weeks old, but it's still a very intresting read! It shows some of Neill's drawings in pencil and on the computer. The illustration on the tablet in the first screen is the front cover design for Phoenix issue 13, although the dinosaur mouth in the top right corner was later removed.


Describe the place where you write/draw.

In my studio at my computer, surrounded by mountains of paper and with my son poking me with sticks and demanding that I let him watch Transformers instead. At a giant drawing board I liberated from a landscape gardener who gave up on their dream. On massive canvasses propped up on the dining room chairs, while forcing my family to eat off garden furniture. On the sofa, lightbox balanced on my knees, watching Masterchef. In any number of local cafes and coffee shops. On trains, trains are good. Episodes of Pirates of Pangaea, in fact, have been produced on planes, trains AND automobiles. And with sheets of paper held up against a large window in Cyprus.

All over the place, really, is what I’m saying.

I have decided to illustrate this post with photos of the various parts of my house that are becoming overwhelmed by the crushing geological force that is My Work Mess.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’d be very sad if I lost my hat. Or rather, when. (I always lose my hats.)

What times of the day do you work?

I have a couple of hours getting my son ready in the mornings, and I think there’s a bit in the night somewhere where I sleep, but the rest of the time I am pretty much working.
Comics are time-consuming.

What distracts you?

I’m sorry, I was checking twitter. What was the question again?

What is your favourite smell?

Cat or dog?

I misread these two as being part of the same question, so I will say: I prefer the smell of cat to dog.

What is the worst job you’ve done?

I’ve had so many terrible jobs that I felt the need to break this one down by category.

  • For physical discomfort and appalling working conditions: working in a foundry.
  • For levels of abuse endured: working on an IT helpdesk.
  • For sheer soul-crushing misery: drawing bad comics.
What was the last song you sang along to?

I have spent pretty much the entire last two weeks walking around singing ‘Am I A Man Or Am I A Muppet?’ It deals with a profound existential question that resonates strongly with me personally.
It’s also rather catchy.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

Dinosaur times! Um, carefully.

What are you reading at the moment?

An awful lot of Sherlock Holmes. And, every week, The Phoenix!

If you weren’t an author, what would you be?

Significantly financially better-off. Also, pretty miserable.

Dennis the Menace creates British Stamps!

I've only just recieved the above comic, Beano issue #3628, and was intrested to see that the Dennis the Menace comic strip was all about stamps, to help advertise the Royal Mail's '75 Years of British Comics' collection. (For the cover, it would have been better if they'd used Walter instead of Curly, because Curly is supposed to be a menace - and stamp collecting doesn't sound very menacing to me!) I wonder if a few of the other comics featured in the collection were still around, would they have done the same thing? The Dandy didn't, but I'm pretty sure Buster would have!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Phoenix Issue 12!

Today is the last day you can pick up issue 12 of The Phoenix Comic, as lucky number 13 goes on sale tomorrow (Saturday).

It was a fabulous issue, starring the first advert (for the DFC Library) and the last Star Cat - but don't fear - Jame's Turner's excellent series will be returning very soon!

Last week's 'How to Draw' showed us how to draw zombies, taught to us by a man who does it for a living - Adam Murphy! And hosting the show this time is Richardo Tangle showing us how to draw characters for Planet of the Shapes! Planet of the Shapes has always been one of the Phoenix's best stories for me, always funny and great art - it's never let me down!

Dave Shelton's Frankencrab had to be my favourite this week, as once again Malcolm Bewley gets himself into a whole heap of eccentric trouble! I particuarly liked the box show below - it had some smashing artwork (literally)! Dave's DFC story Good Dog Bad Dog starts in Phoenix #13.

Hokusai was the undead guest in this weeks Corpse Talk, the only non-fiction comic strip with zombies! Written and drawn by Adam Murphy, you are pretty much guarenteed to learn something new every week in this brilliant comic strip!

So there you have it - so why not grab a copy for yourself TODAY! Or, if your local shop is sold out, order a back issue from their website -! (So you've got no excuse not to buy one!)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Getting Nelson Signed

(Above: An A5 sketch of Nel for me by Adam Cadwell - In my letter to him I drew a portrait of me, and he copied it onto the shirt!)

For those of you who have purchased Nelson, I'm sure you'd all agree it is an excellent read! However, say I lived in New Zealand, and I wanted to get my book signed, how would I do it?

I could think of two options, which were:

Option 1: Wait until I come to the U.K. on holiday, and try and meet up with all 54 creators!

Option 2: Send the book around, and get each creator to send it back or on to the next one.

Now both of those ideas seemed impossible or expensive! I mean, if I came to the U.K for 3 weeks, that 21 days, and that would mean I'd have to find several artists a day! And besides, I'd need other time to catch up with family and friends again! And posting it would prove massivley expensive!

Fortunatly - both Rian Hughes and Hunt Emerson came up with a suggestion - which was to send a sticker to each cartoonist and stick it in the front of the book!

My Nelson book is now signed by 5 brillaint people - Hunt Emerson, Kristyna Baczynski, Adam Cadwell, Suzy Varty and Sean Longcroft! And there's a few more still in the post! (When I do come to the U.K I do hope to meet up with a few of them if possible!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Comic Football Returns!

Comic Football was originally launched mid 2011, and lasted for just three issues (along with one free preview issue). And let's face the facts - it was terrible.

And now it's back, but this time they're are making comics for people on demand. Here's what the creators have said in an email to Steve Beckett, which he shared on facebook:
'We are launching a new satirical web site and we are looking for free contributions on topical sports stories/headlines/topics, they can be gags, sketches, cartoons etc wondered if you would be intrested in contributing and if you knew of any other artists who may also be intrested. It basically os a fun site taking the mickey out of sports and sports personalities and getting away with as much as we can.'

So naturally, I decided to look into it further, and it turns out that they have started by changing their website - It's very different from the old one, and it now looks as though the company is planning to produce magazines, posters, comic strips etc. for clubs on demand.

(From the website):

"Who Do We Think We Are Different?

Comic Football is unique. Presenting creative products to the football family, tailored specifically to your club or organisation. We offer flexibility; from artwork only to fully printed product.

We create comic strips and characters for a new generation of football fans. We are not re-inventing 'Roy of the Rovers' but adopting a fresh and original approach to football.

Great quality product and content, at affordable prices. Unique, colourful, funny...and fun!"

Now this looks like something they could make quite a bit of money off, so that raises a new question - why are they looking for 'free contributions'?

By no means am I saying this is bad, but I think they will struggle if they are constantly demanding free cartoons, especially from poeple like Steve Beckett who have piles of paid work to be done. To find out more, read the brochure below, or visit the website -

This week in 1979 - The Beano!

I've wanted to do this for a while now, look at a comic from the current week several decades ago (based of course, upon Lew Stringer's series - So the first one I decided to feature is the following Beano from this very day in 1979, which you could purchase for a mere six pence!

First up, is of course the Dennis the Menace strip, which features Dennis' cousin - Denise (who to me looks a lot like Beryl the Peril)! The whole story is based around Dennis recieving a whacking - but it the end it isn't him who gets it! (Seems a bit drastic though, getting a bloodhound to hunt him down just to give him six of the best, doesn't it!?) Art by Dave Sutherland.
The Fix-it Twins was inside the front cover, and it's a story all about a crazy pair of twins who will (try to) fix anything and everything! Although trying to be helpful, things usually backfire on them! The story only lasted for two years from 1978 to 1980, and was illustrated by Ron Spencer.

Next up is Jim Petrie's Minnie the Minx. Now, I have mentioned this particular story on this blog before, because for once Dad's real name was revealed! A very nice story though, all the minxing is done by Dad instead of Minnie!

The Dennis the Menace Fan Club was massive - in it's time it collected over 1 million members from all over the world! (In fact did you know that before the band 'Scouting for Girls' were signed to Epic Records, they ran their own fan club, 'The Wolfcub Club', through their MySpace site. The name was a wordplay similar to the band's name, being based on the Dennis the Menace fan club!) And of course, this issue is no exception, with lots of letters and jokes to fil up this fantastic page. My favourite has to be the 'Star Letter' of course, where a fan from South Yorkshire sent in a balloon for Dennis to blow up!
Sweet Sue, like The Fix-it Twins, lasted from 1978 to 1980, but this story was illustrated by Bill Ritchie. This episode is all about her peg dog William (who appeared in a lot of the stories), who really doen't want to have to go for walkies. In the end he jumps into the pram, and Sue doesn't mind! Guess why...
And finally, enjoy this short Biffo the Bear strip, drawn by (I think) David Sutherland!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hunt Emerson - Spritely Records

We all know who Hunt Emerson is don't we - the wonderful cartoonist of the Ratz in the Beano, along with a dozen or so books, he appeared in NELSON and a whole load more! But did you know that, in his spare time, he is also a musician?
Yes, 'tis true, and most recently he created a song entitled 'I'm walking backwards too christmas', based upon a Goons song of a similar name, probably! (Although personally, I prefer the above version.) To hear the song, and see Hunt's excellent video, click play on the video above!
To find out more and to buy the records, visit the Spritely Records website by clicking here - (Did I mention there's a singing pig?)

P.s. - Jealous?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Thundercats and Blundercats!

This week has not just one piece of glorious Thundercats news - but two! First of all - Blundercats! An all new strip that will appear in The Dandy, drawn by the hugely talented Steve Beckett! The above image is Steve's original character sketch, which he sent off to the Dandy Ed! The cover art is seen below, accompanied by the final cover - which is on sale NOW!

And guess what?! A new Thundercats comic has been launched by Panini Comics UK! It goes on sale tomorrow (Thursday March 22nd), will have 36 pages, costs only £2.99 and comes with a free Sword of Omens! Here's the cover, but for more information head on over to Lew Stringer's brilliant blog here!
And since it's all about Thundercats, here's a Carrotty Kid story from a little while back!