Monday, 16 November 2009

Sex and Politics - Who says they don't mix?

This excellent video by Tim Ireland sums up for me the subliminal messaging going on in today's newspapers. It's secretive, pernicious and nasty. Don't worry about the poorly drafted laws and ill-excused wars, as the 30-year-old Viz once said "Look! Tits!"

Thanks to Rich Johnston on Bleeding for highlighting this. Oh, and there's strobe effects (you have been warned):

"Wake up" - Rage Against the Machine

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Comica 2009 Report

Last Sunday (9 November 2009) I attended the Comica comic festival at the ICA. Run by the ubiquitous Paul Gravett, Comica is one of the best comic events in Britain and it certainly raises the standard for more sophisticated, high-brow—and more importantly—international comics. The festival was very busy and there was an excellent small press fair with too many brilliant titles to afford at once. I'm still kicking myself for not getting back to Richard Cowdry's table to buy the latest issue of his brilliant Bedsit Journal Comics - sorry Richard!

The heaving hall of the small press fair!

My find of the show was the utterly brilliant Paul Slater's Fried Eggs in Brine published by Atlantic Press. The man's talent is incomparable, and his off-beat, surreal WWI-set humour reminded me of Glenn Baxter. I thoroughly recommend everyone who loves illustration with a skewed perspective (figuratively speaking!) to buy this book!

Fried Eggs in Brine by Paul Slater

Bumped into so many friends—old and new—it was great, and managed to grab brief chats with Pat Mills, Mark Stafford, Bryan Talbot, Corinne Pearlman and many more. There was a fun wall, where cartoonists were given a line of dialogue from "a certain British graphic novel," and they had to interpret it as they saw fit. It soon became apparent the graphic novel was Watchmen and some of the drawings were sublime silliness.

The excellent Marc Ellerby's addition to the Watchmen art wall.
Sinister ducks. Quack-quack. Quack-quack.

More artists add to the Watchmen wall as onlookers admire.

The main reason I was there was to support two of Ilex Press' authors, Helen McCarthy (The Art of Osamu Tezuka: God of Manga) and Fredrik Strömberg (author of the forthcoming Comic Art Propaganda) as both were doing talks related to their books.

Below is the first half hour of Helen's talk (before my battery inadvertently wore out!) and was a revelation of information and imagery—even for me, and I commissioned the book! Helen really knows her subject and her combination of passion and professionalism is evident in this talk and the book. Sit back and enjoy the talk and then look below for some more images by Tezuka that aren't in the book.

Helen McCarthy wows the crowd with her encyclopaedic knowledge of Osamu Tezuka with some great video footage

Here's a few of those pics that were in the talk, but didn't make the final cut of the book, through simple lack of space (courtesy of Helen and Tezuka Production):
The Monster of the 38th Parallel (1953, Shonen Gahosha) was first written in 1948 as Tuberculoses for Osaka publisher Tokodo.

The cover to Cycle News, 1964

From The Golden Turnk, Nishi Nihon Newspapers (evening edition) 1957,
later redrawn and reprinted by Kobunsha.

Cover to Suzuki edition of Mysterious Thief Z

The other excellent talk was to promote the launch of Ctrl.Alt.Shift's new comic anthology, Unmasks Corruption. It was hosted by me old mucker, Frederik Strömberg and the panel included the excellent political cartoonist Polyp, the ever-lovely Kate Evans (we did a panel together at the Brighton Festival a few years back) who has created such excellent graphic novels as Big Brother and The Carbon Supermarket. Also on the Panel were British comics stalwart and legend Pat Mills and up-and-coming star Benjamin Dickson (look out for a review of his Falling Sky graphic novel here shortly). All of the panel had contributed to the book and the discussion was revelatory and important. I'd like to see more political activism done in comics, as it seems there was a big rise in the Eighties (Crisis, et al) but has been a dearth since. As Polyp wisely pointed out "Our democracy is hanging by a thread" and we need to inform the public as much as possible about governmental and corporate corruption (and more importantly do something about it).

Cover to the best political comic anthology to be printed in far too long a time

Despite suffering from flu-induced asthma, Fredrik chaired the panel admirably and even managed to get substantial plugs in from Comic Book Propaganda. Below are a few pics and the introduction to the panel before my battery ran out (again)!

The Comic Art Propaganda: Ctrl.Alt.Shift panel (left to right): Polyp, Kate Evans, Fredrik Strömberg, Elettra Stamboulis, Pat Mills, Benjamin Dickson

Video introductions on The Comic Art Propaganda: Ctrl.Alt.Shift panel

An exclusive peek at the cover to Fredrik Strömberg's Comic Art Propaganda (Published in February 2010 by Ilex Press in the UK £17.99, and by St Martin's Press in USA later in the year.)

"Wake up" - Rage Against the Machine