Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense) #169
It’s Friday and that means it is time for Stuff (& Possibly Nonsense), Richard and Joe’s weekly round up of news and links spotted over the last few days:
Peter Firmin, RIP
Sad news as we learned that Peter Firmin, a legendary creator in Brit children’s TV animation, has passed away at the age of 89. Peter, often working with his partner, the equally legendary Oliver Postgate, animated such delights for kids as Bagpuss, Nogging the Nog, co-created on Ivor the Engine and so many others, including the Clangers. He and Oliver made so many kids happy and excited their imaginations; their creations still make those of us who are far older smile warmly just thinking about those shows. (via the Guardian)
I’m just back from my annual week off enjoying the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and as always I attended the McLaren Animation which showcases new talent in short animation (often I see some of those featured turning up in the BAFTA short animation category a few months later). The audience members who come along to support the screenings are also the ones who get to vote for the McLaren award (named for Scots-Canadian animator Norman McLaren); the festival announced the winner at the glitzy closing night party on Sunday evening, with Peter Peake winning for Take Rabbit.
Fine UK small press stable FutureQuake Press has just released issue 31 of their excellent 2000 AD fan comic Zarjaz, boasting cover art by Steve Austin, and tales by Lee Robson, Steven Denton, Matt Sharp, Jonathan Dhenry, John Osborne, David Peloe, Mark Howard, Simon Bennett-Hayes, Lizzie Boyle, Conor BoyleColin Clayton and RoboMOnkey147. From the description: “Torquemada- Grand Master of Termight demands you join him in Zarjaz 31 as he brings purification to the masses and Button Man Harry Exton makes his first appearance in ‘Lucky Man’ by Lizzie & Conor Boyle. 48 pages for the incredible price of £3.00.”
Playing for a Draw
Comics and football go back a long way, and with the World Cup running it seems like a good time for an exhibition – and that’s just what’s going on in an exhibition in conjuction with the National Football Museum and the Lakes Comics Art Festival:
“Playing for a Draw’, a new exhibition showcasing the history and creativity of football comics and illustration across the world, opens next week (Thursday 5th July) and runs until Sunday 2nd September 2018 at the National Football Museum in Manchester.
The exhibition has been curated by Steve McGarry in collaboration with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival and the National Football Museum.
Steve is one of the world’s most prolific and widely-published football comic artists. Based in California but born in Manchester, Steve is the most syndicated British cartoonist, a story artist on major Hollywood movies and a two-term President of the National Cartoonists Society. Over his four-decade career he has regularly graced the pages of soccer magazines Match, Match of the Day, Shoot! and created such daily strips as ‘World Soccer Diary’ in The Sun.”
“‘Playing for a Draw’ highlights the diversity of football art from illustration, comics and caricatures through to memorabilia and collectables. The exhibition includes artwork from the 19th century, through early classics such as ‘Roy of the Rovers’ and on to the modern day artists shaping the future of football artwork. Internationally, there is artwork from Japan, the USA, Europe and Scandinavia. In addition to historical artwork, ‘Playing for a Draw’ includes new work specifically created for the exhibition by Steve McGarry, including giant illustrations of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero and the women’s football star, Lieke Martens of Barcelona and Holland.”
The Scottish comics gongs, the SICBA Awards, were announced last weekend at the Glasgow Comic Con. One of our very favourite comics duos, Metaphrog, won the Outstanding Contribution to Comics Award (coming hot on the heels of them winning at the Excelsior Awards, chosen by school students), Best Up And Coming Talent went to Zhou Fang for Garden, with Zhou also winning the Best Graphic Novel category in an impressive double. Best Single Issue was awarded to Colin Bell, Neil Slorance and David B Cooper for the brilliant Pirate Fun, while Chris Baldie scored the Best Artist for Rolled a One, and John Lees took the Best Writer gong for SINK: Young Team.
Darryl Cunningham, Master of Arts
Some more nice news on the awards front as another of our long-time favourite, Darryl Cunningham, announced that he is being awarded an honorary Master of Arts degree from Leeds Arts University. Darryl returns to the Edinburgh International Book Festival this August and I am looking forward to hearing him discuss his wonderful comics work.
Sustaining Comics talk
Myriad Editions‘ excellent Grande Fromage, Corrine Pearlman, will be joined by Karrie Fransman, Sha Nazir, Andy Oliver, Hannah Berry and Rachael Ball for a discussion entitled Sustaining Comics: What the Future Holds? The event takes place on July 28th at 2pm in the Cartoon Museum, 35 Little Russell Street, London.
Jordan Peele, who had huge success last year with horror-thriller Get Out, is working with one of his Key & Peele collaborators, Charlie Sanders, on an anthology science fiction series Weird City, which has been picked up by YouTube for 2019 release:
“Writer/creator Charlie Sanders and I collaborated on some Key & Peele sketches that took on everything from the ‘Black Republicans’ to ‘Continental Breakfasts’ to ‘Family Matters.’ Now, with YouTube we present a series of comedy driven twisted-ass science fiction stories that take place in a world close to ours but just a little bit off.” (via Den of Geek)
No, not the classic live-action Gerry Anderson British science fiction series, this is the trailer for the forthcoming, Gillian Anderson-starring movie UFO went online this week:
Ansible points us in the direction of fan and artist Jeanne Gomoll, who several years back created the Space Babe icon for the prestigious James Tiptree Jr award. Now Jeanne has created a Space Babe Coloring Book, and sales go to help fund the continuation of the award, which celebrates specualtive fiction and SF which expands our undertanding of gender, surely an increasingly important thing in our society. You can buy the book from Jeanne’s Lulu store.
Black Shuck Kickstarter
Mark Allard-Will is trying to raise funds for a comics project based around one of the UK’s old folkloric monsters, Black Shuck, with Burning Black: Legend of Black Shuck now running on Kickstarter:
Ahmed Best and Jar Jar
This is just awful – actor Ahmed Best bravely speaks openly about how what should have been his first, big film role twenty years ago lead to such media and fan backlash, hatred and even death threats. Ahmed, as most of you will know, played Jar Jar Binks in the Star Wars prequels, a character who generated a huge amount of loathing by many fans. Ahmed tweeted a photo from a high bridge, the same spot where, depressed and hurt from the wretched attacks on him he contemplated ending his life. On a happier note this picture was him with his son on the same bridge, his new reason for living.
I’m a fan and I know how passionate some people can get, but ye gods, to attack an actor in this way is beyond any excuse. He is playing a role, he is not the character. I get that some loathe that character – to be honest I’ve little time for that character myself. But that doesn’t and should not reflect on an actor playing their role as best they could, and nobody has the right to hound anyone else in this manner, it is despicable and cowardly, and we’ve seen more of it since the new Star Wars movies began, with much of this sort of horrible hatred clearly underlined by sexism and racism too (all from those professing to be “true” fans, of course, despite acting in a way their supposed heroes would despise. Some fans), and we same similar with Star Trek Discovery last year.
I cannot understand why anyone thinks they have the right to treat actors, directors, writers and others in this wretched manner. As Kelly Marie Tran, recently so viley treated she quit her social media online, says as her character Rose in The Last Jedi, the only way they will win is “not fighting what we hate, saving what we love.” Simialrly last year’s Wonder Woman saw Gal Gadot’s Amazonian reject the lure of godlike power “I choose love.” In a world with such horrid hatred being poured out on others I would argue that heroes like this, female, male, trans, human, alien, powered by compassion are what we really, really need. And if you must spew hatred then direct that hatred at something constructive – choose to hate the fact there are people dying who could be healed if they had easy access to medical care, choose to be angry about the fact that every day children die of starvation in our world. With things like that to hate, why would you choose to wrap yourself in loathing and hate for another person like that?
The Guardian has a good article on this, and also, sensibly, includes numbers for places for help for anyone facing the crippling threat of depression and other mental illness, which I don’t think they will mind us repeating on here:
Samaritans UK: 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. US: the National Suicide Prevention Lifelines 1-800-273-8255 Australia: crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. For other international organisations willing and able to help you can search Befrienders Worldwide. It’s easy to despair at the constant barrage of hate like this, but just look at these organisations, many run by volunteers, and remind ourselves for every hater there are several good people who want to help.
Seamus Jennings on the vile Erdogan, a leader who had a long track record of misusing the courts in Turkey to try and stop political cartoonists from lampooning him and who has since gathering more power to himself jailed a huge number of cartoonists and journalists to stifle freedom of press:
Chris Riddell mashes up “reality” show Love Island with the Westmonster Cabinet on Brexit for a rather disturbing image in The Guardian:
Tom Gauld (who is back at the Edinburgh International Book Festival in August) on book editors for The Guardian:
Cameron Davis tweets that he has seen his webcomic of Indiana Jones punching a Nazi used all over the web recently – sadly most of the time people posting it don’t credit him as the creator, and they crop his Funnywebcomic website address from it too, so he doesn’t get any site click throughs either. Which is rubbish, please always try and credit the original creator when you post online, I know sometimes art appears anonymously, but most of the time it’s pretty easy to credit them, and it means you get to share the art you wanted but the artist gets a signal boost (and that may lead to more work and revenue for them so they produce more!). Also it’s just right.
Matt Buck – aka Hack – mashes up Blackadder Goes Forth and Brexit planning (or lack thereof):