Sunderland Comic con, at the weekend; famous Beano colourist Nika does some famous Beano colouring for fans.
A great first con for this region put on by a friendly and hard working team from BHP. Look out for Nika's next appearance, in Glasgow in July, folks!
Tell all your friends! There's going to be a competition soon- free to enter- right here on this blog! And the prizes are unbelievably brilliant!! And not available anywhere else- and you will definitely want one! So, keep looking- about 3 weeks I'd say, and then you'll have all the information- see you back here!
Two weeks from now, over the weekend of February 21 and 22, Sunderland hosts a Comic Convention that, amongst many no doubt delightful attractions, features the current main architects of The Beano's Dennis The Menace, namely writer, Nigel Auchterlounie, Colourist Nika and me, who draws it. It's the first time all three will have attended the same con together, so any Dennis fans should zoom straight up there and get your fill. Also there will be the Living legend that is Hunt Emerson, mine and everyone else's favourite, and amongst all his many accomplishments, a fellow Beano cartoonist.
Find out more HERE
In my nearly 35 years of comics cartooning his is only the 3rd Convention I've ever attended as a guest, and I think the 6th or 7th I've ever been to, so it's a pretty rare event, but come and say hello and meet the team, it could be the only opportunity! I'm going to be demonstrating drawing or something, and speaking about something or other, so let's find out what I draw and what I say together!
I sometimes get weird looks from people when they find out I admire Jack Kirby or Frank Bellamy or someone. "But... you do funnies and they didn't..." their puzzled eyes seem to plead. Not true. I've done action, they've done funnies. Cartooning is cartooning whether one is going for a laugh or for a creep-out slug fest sci fi romance.
I like Steve Ditko. His work. I've never met him, and, even though he is still very much alive and well and even drawing, probably at this exact moment, I doubt I ever will meet him. But I know him, from his work. And what work. Original, daring, dynamic, and what a masterful storyteller.
Another great Yoe book, Ditko's Shorts has (finally) been published.
What more can you say about Craig Yoe's dedicated thoroughness and fan's-eye view of what to include (great design as usual- the tactile cover is a lovely weird treat by itself)?
OK, moving on to the stories and Steve's artwork. What more can you say about Ditko's surreal and disturbing world of dark shadows, angular victims, gross perpetrators and above all, beaded-sweating men on the run?
The Beano is on sale on Wednesday, and it's the continuation of the story begun in the special Trinity Mirror edition of The Beano given away free on Saturday. Tell all your friends. It's the comic worth the money.
Today's Daily Mirror, Daily Record, Manchester Evening Post and Liverpool Echo (amongst other Trinity mirror papers) have (the same) free unique Beano today! We worked hard on it (VERY hard) and it's the start of a 3 part Dennis story, so grab your free one-off BEANO today!
Halloween is split into two parts this year! First half is in this week's ghoulishly great BEANO (on sale now!) and the second half is in NEXT week's equally fantastic BEANO! For only the second time in her 60 year career, Minnie The Minx is the cover star, ousting that spikey haired menace, Dennis. Still, I don't mind, I draw them both. Happy Halloween!
Thirty four years ago this very day I decided to take charge of my 'career', which had been going nowhere in a rather dispiriting way for a couple of years. In summer 1979 I'd even taken a local government job, and ended up in August 1980 as head of a department! I was looking at the prospect of a long career in the County council, and even a pension. Either that or get out and do what I wanted to do.
Luckily, my department was merged with two others, and I was offered either redundancy or a three year contract. They must have thought I was crazy, taking the redundancy! It was the magnificent sum of £300 (even in 1980, that was like, nothing,) but I also got my superannuation back, and that amounted to another £300. Now, with £600, I had an idea! I arranged to go to Paris!
It was August 15th 1980, and I remember standing in the Dover Hovercraft Departure Bay reading a newspaper account of John Lennon being seen coming out of a New York recording Studio and him admitting he was working on a new LP- his first for five years. Exciting news of the 39 year old reclusive former Beatle. My friend and I (I thought she was my friend, turned out years later she really wasn't. Enemy might be a truer description. Another story) enjoyed spending time in Paris, living in the Greek quarter, making my £600 last longer than seems feasible. You've seen The Rebel, that's basically what it was like, except I was a 6' 1", 11 stone 20 year old with lots of hair (yes, I was shorter then. Am taller now. Yet another story!)
So, it's now October 13th 1980, and I'm back home, wondering what to do, penniless and with no job. Only one answer- Get into Comics. So, I sat down with six big big sheets of Bristol board (actually 'fake' Bristol board- I was skint) and began drawing. My trip to Paris seemed to have energized me and I turned out some good stuff (relatively). On October 16th, I would bundle up three of the sheets, stuff them into a postal tube and address it to Bob Paynter at IPC, and the other three sheets to Bill Stirton at DC Thomson.
Who knew what the future might bring?