Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con . . . in GREECE!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Exit Leo Baxendale, pursued by Three Bears






The first name I recognised in comics was Leo Baxendale, who signed his name on the front cover of WHAM! In 1964 introducing me to the astonishing fact that comics were actually drawn by real people.
Until Sunday, he was still my favourite living cartoonist.

He was adept at drawing detailed swarming crowd scenes just as much as close-ups of fear, greed, horror, joy or loathing-ridden faces and everything in between. No one could draw comics like Bax. And it seems odd to say it in the past tense, even though his last major published periodical work was in The Guardian in the 1990s.


In the 1950s he gave us Little Plum, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids and The Banana Bunch, still amongst the very top drawer of comic creations, two of them have been continually produced every week in The Beano and probably always will be.
Click to see full size

Leo was a larger than life character (the stories of his brief reign as king of comics at the Beano are legion, exciting and possibly true) and his self-taught tremendous energy and vitality made all his strips as hilarious as anything ever published. To this very (sad) day, he’s the only comic artist to have made me laugh out loud. I have only three pictures on my walls. One is a print from 1966 by Leo, the others are original art-size prints of pages from WHAM! that Leo coloured by hand.


In WHAM! And SMASH! He introduced possibly his greatest and funniest character, the slimily evil Grimly Feendish and the one picture he did that inspired and thrilled me beyond everything was his cover of Bad Penny on SMASH! Number 3. I kept that comic with me every day from February 1966 until now, the only comic I ever salvaged from my mum’s eternal spring cleaning drives. In 1994 I was able to tell Leo himself. He said he remembered being very pleased with the way it turned out.

Click to see full size
Leo ought quite rightly to be pleased with the way everything he drew turned out.
There'll never be another.



Even if you haven't knowingly seen any of Leo's work, you have seen the work of those of us directly inspired by him, like David Sutherland, Mike Lacey, Ron Spencer, Martin Baxendale (no surprise there!) Tom Paterson, Steve Bell, Lew Stringer, me (of course!) to name only a very few.






Sunday, 19 February 2017

On the Road AGAIN

Me and Nika are on our travels again this year, visiting Comic Cons where you can get a free badge or comic and see us drawing!
29 April    Edgbaston, BIRMINGHAM
6, 7 May    ENNESKILLEN, N. Ireland
3 June   WIGAN
17 June MerseyCon, LIVERPOOL
23, 24 September   LEEDS Thought Bubble
4 November    BLACKBURN
We may have some others to announce over the summer and into autumn, we're still deciding!
One show we WON'T be doing, as usual is the MCM Comic Con in Liverpool on 12/13 March, so anyone expecting us to be there, we won't be!








Thursday, 19 January 2017

Judgement Day!

 Yesterday (Tuesday) I had the considerable pleasure of attending to the tricky problem of helping to select the winners in a country-wide cartoon competition for British Gas, in a top secret London location (it was near the pub). I can't tell all the details yet but I can inform you we all worked hard (especially Sinead!) and were very impressed by the entrants. Anyway, stay tuned for the big news soon!

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Mapping Our Progress

In the last 22 months, me and Nika have done 22 Comic Cons or other events where our company
Red&Black Comics Ltd has sent us to draw, talk, give away free stuff and meet Beano fans. We've done Sunderland, Newcastle, Glasgow (twice), Kendal, York, Bolton, Southport, Liverpool, Manchester (City Centre and Trafford Park),  Birmingham, Belfast, Dublin, Cardiff, Reading, Exeter, Brighton, Bournemouth, London (Baker Street and Docklands) and Thessaloniki. And come to think of it I did a solo in Edinburgh in June too. Dunno where Nika was. Down the shops I expect.


In 2017 we're doing Birmingham and Enniskillen for sure, others to be announced or when and if we get invited. So if you've ever wanted to see us draw The Beano characters, and we haven't been to anywhere local to you, why not ask your neighbourhood Comic Con to ask us if we'll do it.   We probably will!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Dennis in Greece

 Phew! What an experience!
We knew we would like the people, the food, even the weather, after all, Nika lived there more than 15 years and I've visited there more than a dozen times, but we had no idea that one of our most exciting, friendly and enthusiastic Comic Cons of the past 22 months would be in the cool city of Thessaloniki, Greece!

Normally at Comic Cons we spend most of the day heads down, drawing, meeting Con-goers and sometimes doing presentations, interviews and masterclasses in drawing. Here, we did all that and more! The cartoon class was a spectacular success, everyone there did a great job and intently followed what I demonstrated, going on to create new drawings of their own! I must admit our two shows were both great, and I, modestly, was very entertaining in my way, as was Nika in her way. You can see our different ways above.

It was an excellent weekend of events and fascinating new comics and graphic novels, from Greece and France (the events were in the French Institute) most of which we don't see in Britain but are of world class standard and deserve to be seen more widely. Thanks Nick Roxx Ztar Dalampiras and all the guys, it was a very good event and we were pleased to be invited!  And thanks to my Thessaloniki pals George and Georgia and Nikita, Yannis and Taris and Tassos and Stamos too, and most especially Maria (left) for all her help, great company and fantastic hair.

 

Monday, 5 December 2016

Spilling The Beans

I have decided to go ahead and spill some beans after years of being considerate and generous. I'm going to get a bit real on here. Soon!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

From Reading to Manchester

We went to Reading last weekend - very chilly spot!- and spent two days sitting next to and chatting with Living Legend Simon Donald, (him off the Viz magazine) There's one hard working fellow! This Saturday and Sunday we zoom over to Manchester, to the Sci Fi Con at Bowlers Trafford Park. where not only me and Nika but John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra will be saying hello to comic fans!

Monday, 31 October 2016

Salonica! December!



Another overseas Comic Con for me and Nika on December 17/18! Thessaloniki, in Greece! Come along, even if you're not Greek!
 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Further Events!

 
Me and Nika will be appearing at the big MCM London Comic Con at Excel in docklands Friday afternoon 28 October, Saturday 29 October all day, Sunday 30 October up till about 4, and I'll be doing a big Beano Talk on the Friday at 2.30.
Then we have Reading Comic Con November 26/27.
We're doing For the Love of Sci-Fi con on 3/4 December in Manchester, believe it or not!

And, for our last Con of the year, an overseas con  for the first time on 17 and 18 December!

We'll be announcing some 2017 shows before long, so keep checking in!
Come on and see us, don't say we never came round your way!
 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Menacing in 3D!

After many months of planning, discussing, drawing, brainstorming, tweaking and plotting, now it can be revealed!! The new Dennis and Gnasher TV series will be a bit different!
This isn't even definitely the way he'll look, there have been a lot of adjustments over the past 21 months and there will be more still over the next six months before the first of the new 11 minute shows will be ready!
So, stand by for action, and mark December 2017 in your diary!