Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense) #84
Yes, another week nears its end, it’s Friday already and that means time for our weekly news and links round up:
The late, great Jon Pertwee is honoured by the unveiling of a new Blue Plaque by the Doctor Who Appreciation Society at the New Wimbledon Theatre, the heritage plaque commemorating the “Actor, Entertainer and Time Lord”. I’m sure they took utmost care to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow before attaching the plaque to the wall (via Jon Culshaw)
Some good news (couldn’t we just use more of that these days?) – The Guardian reports that the Dulwich Picture Gallery is planning a major retrospective of the work of the wonderful Tove Jansson next autumn. The exhibition will include Tove’s fine art work and illustration, plus some very rare Moomins strips that were unearthed among a pile of material being archived by the now defunct London Evening News, which had serialised Tove’s work for a number of years.
“It was hugely important to Tove that she be recognised as a talented fine artist in addition to being creator of the Moomins. Balancing her painting and her other projects alongside the demands that the Moomins made of her was something she struggled with all her life,” Tove’s niece, Sophia Jansson, of the mixture of the art the exhibition will include.
Improper Books is to repeat their delightful trick of baiting readers at Thought Bubble with free twelve-page samples of the third in their exquisite Porcelain series by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose. Regular readers will recall we reported a few years ago on Improper doing that with the first Porcelain graphic novel, which turned out to be a hit at Thought Bubble, generating a lot of buzz – and catching the attraction of a visiting French publisher who snapped up the rights (success!!). That first book went on to be one of my personal Best of the Year picks, and I adored the second volume just as much, a beautiful work with a dark core, and luscious artwork. I can’t wait for the third book to come out and I am sure the sampler will be a hot property at Thought Bubble again. MULP: Sceptre Sun #3 by Matt Gibbs and Sara Dunkerton is also coming from Improper and will be available at Thought Bubble and the Nottingham Comic Con.
National treasure Aardman Animation, collaborating again with European powerhouse StudioCanal have announced a second feature-length animated outing for Shaun the Sheep, to be directed by Richard Starzak (Shaun the Sheep Movie, Creature Comforts) and produced by Paul Kewley (Shaun the Sheep Movie, The Farmer’s Llamas). Production on the second movie kicks off in January, and follows recent news on the in-production Nick Park film Early Man for Aardman that we touched on the other week. Always good to see more coming from the wonderful creators at Aardman and excellent that StudioCanal is continuing to work with them on finance and the all-important distribution.
Graeme Neil Reid contributed this cracking “Cyberman Family” portrait depicting the cybernetic Doctor Who villains in their various versions from across the fifty-plus years of the series, from the cloth-faced debut in the Hartnell-era The Tenth Planet through Tomb of the Cybermen style and on right up to the latest design of the popular villains. It is part of the “monster month” on the Doctor Who site, where you can check out the larger version and download a copy as a tasty bit of Who-themed wallpaper for you computer or phone.
Grim London launched this week from Impero Design, nicely timed for Halloween and the longer nights of autumn and winter – visit the site, enter the postcode or borough name to search on the map of London to bring up locations and the awful facts behind those streets, the dark stories behind the walls and windows and down the winding alleyways, witcthcraft, murders and more… Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the first area I looked up was Whitechapel.
More sad news this week – following the shock of losing Steve Dillon so bloody young (see here) later this week it was announced that we had lost of one of the great ladies of science fiction and fantasy, with the news that the wonderful Sheri S Tepper has passed away. I’ve adored Sheri’s writing since my teens (a lifetime ago, it seems), and as well as some terrific storytelling I hugely admired the way she often brought a much-needed female perspective on gender roles, perceptions and issues to her writing, and I wonder how many women reader and writers she inspired and how many male readers and writers she helped to gently educate and open their perspective (I know she did for me, and I thank her for that as much as for her stories; I’m sure I have more to learn but how much more that would be if not for writers like Sheri or Ursula Le Guin…). Hugely respected and much loved among the SF&F community. Beauty should be on the shelves of any serious SF&F collection.
The Gollancz blog points readers to this introduction Sheri penned in 2013 for the SF Gateway Omnibus as part of what formed her approach to gender in her books: “When I was four, I was told by my grandmother, who was my main caregiver(?) that I had a baby brother. I said, innocently, “I’ll still be your grandbaby, won’t I Nana?” To which she replied, with great satisfaction, “I have a grandson now, I don’t need you girls anymore.” The girls referred to were my cousins and I. I have never forgotten it. This is my earliest memory. It was also my introduction to the worth of females in my world. In the family of grandparents, parents, uncles, a great aunt, later events were similar.” The full text is on the SF Gateway site here, and in a supposedly more enlightened modern day that nonetheless sees women threatened with sexual assault merely for posting an opinion on Twitter, we should all look at it.
Gerardo Alba and Allyson Shwed’s Caminata Nocturna strip in The Nib looks at the immigration debate in the US elections from the Mexican perspective, with our intrepid pair daring to try the Caminata Nocturna, the “night walk”, which simulates some of what it is like for those trying to get over the border from Mexico into the United States.
And also recently from The Nib, Matt Lubchansky’s “The Fall of Dilbert” strip using the cartoonist’s famous character to riff on Scott Adams himself and his spectacular and often bizarre political (and often incoherent) rants that he has been posting publicly.
Much geek fun to be had this weekend – Saturday 29th October sees the 2016 edition from our friends at the Nottingham Comic Con, which takes place at the Nottingham Conference Centre and includes guests such as Abby Bulmer, Dan Berry, Laura Howell, Improper Books, Avery Hill, Rachael Smith, Marc Laming, and Roger Langridge.
Also taking place this weekend, the massive MCM London expo, at the Excel centre, Royal Victoria Dock, with a large number of guests from worlds of comics and also TV and movie science fiction and fantasy and animation. Some of our staff have been busy building up our stall for the weekend:
The always delightful Darryl Cunningham posted this wonderfully smile-inducing piece of work and I reckon we could all use something to make us grin:
Chris Riddell in the Guardian on the mountain of allegations of groping and more sexual predatory vileness from Trump, as the spirit of Democracy KOs him, appropriately enough in the locker room (I especially like the imprint from his tiny hands on her robe, nice touch)