Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con (Photo (C) Alan A Andrew)

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The New Dandy

Well, it's one week old, the second issue is out, and I was going to post more stuff about it but decided I couldn't say it any better than our friends over at ComicsUK, who, over the last seven days collectively think:

    • I bought a copy and whisked it off home for a read and, I must say, found it bloody brilliant! I loved the new strips and the comic itself was full of excitement. I just loved it. Now I can't wait for next week's issue.  Welcome back, Dandy. You have been missed.
    • CONGRATULATIONS to the creators, the editorial team and DCT for being bold with this relaunch.
      • I will let my sons read it as well (they are 12 and 10) and try to post their opinions in next few days but I think they are going to LOVE it!
      • Just read it. FANTASTIC! Enjoyed it from start to finish, I love Jamie's little doodle characters throughout the comic!
        • I've read it...liked the flavour of it..also some nice puzzles to make the Dandy last longer.. this is a comic worth keeping and rereading..Also Postman Prat is fun!! The best of all has to be Harry Hill and Pre Skool Prime Minister liked how he stopped a nuclear war. Also love the different colours on each border..
          • I like the Dandy better than The Beano!! Great to see zany and silly in large doses in the comics again..
            • After all this fuss, I just had to have a look through this comic today: bright and colourful, with much better quality paper than the DANDY I remember. [twice as many pages as I remember as well]: very 21st-Century outlook and design.
              • The cartoonists and writers all seem to have had great fun working on this, and I wish this new update of the comic great success.
                • The comic certainly does stand out on the shelf. It's design is very modern and not like any other comics.
                  • Bought it, read it, loved it!
                    • I am really really impressed. The artwork is great and the stories are funny. I think Harry Hill is fab and Postman Prat has so much potential. I always liked Desperate Dan,but now he's in another league -I was looking at some of his recent strips on Jamie's website. Very funny.
                      • Very nice looking comic indeed, if I was 10 years old again I'd be a happy bunny with this version - lovely bright colours , great paper and modern art styles
                        • Liked all the strip art (the stories are aimed at kids and go over my head re humour, but if was 10 I'd be gutting myself lol) in particular I really liked George V Dragon,Harry Hill and Kid Cops.
                        • I think the new Dandy is brilliant. It's all comic strip, and all the comic strips are good.
                          • Picked my copy up this morning as an old fart I found it refreshing, I now declare Dandy the best humour comic on the market.
                            • Some good art and stories, I tended to like the strips that had some familiar detailed background to them, like Harry Hill,Postman Prat,Little Simon & Pepperoni Pig,
                            •  Well done everyone who has worked on the new 'Dandy'I hope it's a great success and I don't see why not.
                            • Got the New Dandy, really liked it There's several strips in there that I'll happily buy it every week in order to read.
                            • I'll add myself to the list of people who are massively impressed at Wayne's range of art styles
                            • As a 54 year old I picked up the new Dandy expecting not to be impressed but the opposite turned out to be the case. I like it. It is alive!
                            • t's a MASSIVE improvement from the quality of the paper as soon as you pick it up you know your in for a treat. Im sure the kids will love it. It's a real contender,it looks like the Beano has it's old rival back and the games on to win over the kiddies with two top quality productions! Strips like the new bananaman made me chuckle just for the drawing style and poses, very lively! Same goes for the energy in Harry Hill and the others it's got a great boisterous attitudeit's a fabulous production huge congratulations to everyone who was involved, you have made me feel more optimistic about the future of British comics!
                            • My personal favourite was George and Dragon, but I did like the Harry Hill script as it harks back to the feel of the Krazy Gang in Cheeky.The funniest thing was listening to my 16 year old moaning that the likeness of Simon Cowell wasn't good enough!
                            • I grabbed a copy yesterday, and I have to say I was so impressed. Its fresh and just what was needed. It would be great for the beano and dandy rivalry to return, now that the Dandy is a comic again
                                    Nicely put.


                                    Kid said...

                                    Sorry to seem negative, NP, but all those glowing accolades fail to thrill me. As history attests, the people who feel the need to dash off letters about comics are always in the minority. Most of the people who buy it won't bother writing to anybody, regardless of whether they like it or not.

                                    I bet DANDY EXTREME got just as many seemingly positive responses, but look what happened to it.

                                    However, I do hope it is a success, but I still feel that it needs to improve in quite a few areas.

                                    NP said...

                                    Don't bet anything on Dandy Xtreme having had glowing responses, because you'd lose. It was almost universally ignored or loathed by Comics UK.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Comics UK perhaps, but I bet it had its fans. I'm sure there's loads of people who hate the new version who just don't make their views known.

                                    Without a word of a lie, not one person I've spoken to in Glasgow has had a good word to say about it when I've asked their opinion.

                                    Lew Stringer said...

                                    I'm not looking for an argument Kid but how many of those people you spoke to were the target audience (ie: children)?

                                    Kid said...

                                    None of them were 8 year-old kids, that's for sure - but I feel that your claim that children are the "target audience" is to miss the point. Here's why:

                                    First of all, to me, the target audience is anyone who is a potential buyer - regardless of their age. There's no reason why both children and adults shouldn't enjoy the DANDY, and the fact that most (if not all) of the positive responses that Nigel has posted seems to come from adults bears that out.

                                    (And I should point out that I'm not talking about those adults who say that their kids loved it, but those adults who say they themselves loved it. And by adult, I'm talking about anyone 18 or over.)

                                    MAD is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. I read it as a kid, but so did people of ALL ages (from about 9 or 10 up, I guess). But what was the "target audience"? Who knows, who cares? Mad was funny and well drawn and that's all that mattered.

                                    The strips in the new DANDY are neither funnier nor unfunnier than they've ever been, so what's the difference? Some strips are well-drawn and meet the requirements of clear, sequential storytelling - and some aren't. To me, that just seems obvious to anyone with any comprehension of what constitutes a professionally well-drawn strip.

                                    The fact that some people (regardless of whether they're kids or adults) may LIKE the "not so well drawn" strips does not make them "good" just because they're popular.

                                    But does it matter? Just so long as the comic sells well is surely the only priority. Yes, if you're an accountant - but I feel that publishers have a responsibility to provide the VERY BEST it's possible to offer - I don't feel that the new DANDY fulfills this function.

                                    I myself am an artist - I know what constitutes good art. I know what constitutes a good comic, and I have no hesitation in saying that - on several levels - the DANDY fails to be as professional a publication as it could be.

                                    So - shoot me for wanting the very best.

                                    Kid said...
                                    This comment has been removed by the author.
                                    Anonymous said...

                                    'I know what constitutes good art' is a staggeringly arrogant statement. You know what you CONSIDER to be good art, but art - like humour - is highly subjective. Try and remember that before you shoot down anyone else's opinions on what THEY like and THEY enjoy.

                                    - Robbie.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    I bet MAD know very well who their target audience was, and is...

                                    Do you have any of your work online, Kid? You seem to be going round in circles trying to express your view, so it might help to explain in a more visual way what it is you feel is missing from this comic?


                                    Kid said...

                                    No - "I know what constitutes good art" is nothing more than a confident, factual statement, based on long years of experience of sequential art. It's all about standards of technical and artistic accomplishment, in my view.

                                    That's why I know that Ken Reid, or NP can draw comic strips to a professional standard, and that eight year old kids (with the possible exception of child prodigies) can't. (And that also includes those who draw like eight year old kids.)

                                    However, I was responding to a specific question by Lew and I refuse to be apologetic for holding an opinion. I was not "shooting down" as you say, but merely "disagreeing" - and explaining my reasons as to why. Let's not turn NP's blog into a slanging match.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Look at Nigel's strip in the comic - good, clear, storytelling and artistic craftsmanship. Pleasing to look at, and not something that just anyone could emulate.

                                    Now compare that against the strips that many a child could actually give the artists a run for their money.

                                    Case proved, case closed, I'd say.

                                    Kid said...

                                    And as for your "round in circles" comment - I'm a bit of a "square" when it comes to my tastes in art. Squares tend not to go round in circles.

                                    Lew Stringer said...

                                    You're entitled to those opinions Kid and I do understand your preferences for more detailed artwork. However, to say that some of the material in the new Dandy isn't "professional standard" is unintentionally insulting to the commissioning editors who have employed the artists and to the artists themselves.

                                    Simplicity of style does not make artwork inferior. Comparing new Dandy to 40 year old Mad comics doesn't take into account that comic styles change and always have done.

                                    No doubt some adults in the 1970s thought Leo Baxendale's 'Badtime Bedtime' and 'Willy the Kid' style was inferior compared to the Roy Wilson style they'd grown up with, - but I'm sure you wouldn't agree with that would you?

                                    Tom Browne, Roy Wilson, Leo Baxendale, Jamie Smart; all different styles that are representative of their times and all popular with the readers of their times. None "better" than the other. Just different styles for different times.

                                    It's all down to personal taste and the evolving nature of comics. As long as a comic artist can tell a story and his work is understood and enjoyed then it's done a professional job, and the material in the new Dandy seems to fulfill those requirements.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Lew, I'm sure Nigel would prefer that we don't hijack his blog to air our "failure to agree", so with his kind indulgence, may I suggest an alternative?

                                    If people search out my recent "Everything's fine and Dandy - or is it?" post at kidr77., they are free to express themselves all they like on the matter and we can continue the discussion there.

                                    However, to address your points, I'd say that it's unintentionally insulting to the artists who understand what storytelling is about and who can actually draw, to describe some of the strips as "professional" and regard them as being of equal merit. It simply is not the case.

                                    I'm not even referring to what you call "simplicity of style" - I don't have a problem with varying styles within a comic - as long as they are well drawn. However, we'd be here forever if I were to go through each individual example of where I believe some of the strips have failed to meet the standards of competent, well-rendered story-telling.

                                    Perhaps some adults in the 70s DID think Baxendale's style inferior to Wilson's - probably at least just as many didn't. You're on tenuous ground 'though, when you start arguing from what you assume is the case rather than what you can conclusively demonstrate.

                                    There are quite a few artists in comics whose style I'm not particularly keen on, but whose ability to draw is not in doubt. In cases like that, as you say, it's all down to personal taste.

                                    Tom Browne, Roy Wilson and Leo Baxendale, although they had differing styles, could undoubtedly draw - using them as an example to prove your case fails miserably on that very point.

                                    Some of the strips in the new DANDY fail to tell the story in an adequate manner - certainly not in as professional a manner as they could or should do. That's not down to personal taste - that's down to cold, hard fact.

                                    Kid said...

                                    I don't know why, but some of my comments are popping up in triplicate. I've deleted the repeats.

                                    Lew Stringer said...

                                    Here's my final word on this thread. Going back to Nigel's use of quotations, here's a comment that a young lady has just left on The Dandy Facebook page:

                                    "My two children really love it (6yrs and 9yrs). I've bought them comics before, which they never bothered to read even though they both like books. But they are actually reading this for the last two new issues."

                                    And that sums up the essence of children's comics: entertaining the children. Job done.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    "That's not down to personal taste - that's down to cold, hard fact."

                                    No, it's down to personal taste, I'm afraid. I know so, because I completely disagree. So where's the fact?

                                    No-one is denying that you have the right to your opinion, it's when you try to pass off your opinion as unequivocal, non-debatable fact that I take umbrage.

                                    - Robbie.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Which proves nothing, Lew, because although they might be reading it, it doesn't mean that they actually like all of it. Perhaps it's HARRY HILL that caught their attention. Also, if you're suggesting from that comment that there's not bound to be at least an equal number of children who don't like it, then we both know it's hardly likely. I also wonder why it's the parents who're visiting these sites. Are any kids actually bothering to express themselves, I wonder.

                                    What I take umbrage at, Rob (well, I would if I could be bothered)is you electing to use your personal taste for inferior quality art as a benchrmark for deciding what is valid, objective (in the sense that it follows tried and tested criteria) ctiticism. A turd is a turd regardless of however many people may see it as legitimate artistic expression. And that IS a cold, hard fact. (Once the steam dissipates, that is.)

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    "What I take umbrage at, Rob (well, I would if I could be bothered)is you electing to use your personal taste for inferior quality art as a benchrmark for deciding what is valid, objective (in the sense that it follows tried and tested criteria) ctiticism."

                                    But yet your opinion can be passed off as fact?

                                    All I was saying is that I like a lot of the work in the new Dandy, as do many other people. You do not, as do others. Neither position is a fact, merely an opinion.

                                    I respectfully disagree with your views, and think my appreciation of some of the strips you dislike is an equally valid viewpoint. That's all I'm saying.


                                    Anonymous said...

                                    By the way this:

                                    " your personal taste for inferior quality art "

                                    is you foisting your opinion upon me. I do not have a taste for inferior quality art, I like what I like, thank you very much. YOU think it is inferior, I think it is very good indeed. Please do not make me out to be some kind of fool, thank you.

                                    - Rob.

                                    Kid said...

                                    You are drawing your own inferences as to what I am "making out" in certain instances.

                                    Some things are subjective and are down to personal tastes - I might prefer Curt Swan to Rich Buckler, but both gentlemen could draw according to a standard that was widely and perhaps universally accepted.

                                    Other things are objective, I would argue. A painting by Constable is definitely art - half a sheep in a glass case is definitely not - regardless of how many people "ooh" and "aah" over it.

                                    In the case of the DANDY, we're not talking about stylistic differences (at least, I'm not) - we're talking about the ability to draw to a professional standard that has been widely recognized down through the ages.

                                    If you would, kindly save your response for my upcoming post on the subject over on the pages of my own blog. We've monopolised enough of NP's.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    The word 'Killjoy' springs to mind.

                                    Kid said...

                                    And my opinion as to what constitutes good art is not based merely on what I like, but on a more solid foundation. No doubt many examples of art which are technically proficient would fail to ring my bell. Just because I don't like something doesn't necessarily mean it's not art - in the same way that just because you DO doesn't mean it is. However, unlike you, I'm not using the fact of whether I like it or not as the determining factor.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Well, if Nigel doesn't mind us battering the subject to death on his blog, neither do I. It's up to him.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    I'm a bit of a "square" when it comes to my tastes in art.

                                    No arguing with that one, but whatever tickles your fancy is fine with me.

                                    You'll never be caught out if you back the certainties of the past over the innovations which might just point the way ahead. Works for the Daily Mail, doesn't it?

                                    I prefer circles.

                                    I'm guessing you can prove squares are better simply through the power of your wondrously cryptic and self-consuming argumentative technique?


                                    There seem to be two Robs here!

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    "Other things are objective, I would argue. A painting by Constable is definitely art - half a sheep in a glass case is definitely not - regardless of how many people "ooh" and "aah" over it."

                                    No, that's subjective again. Just because you personally don't like it, doesn't mean it is automatically not art. I'm no big fan of Hirst's work either, but I do recognise that it is art, even if it is doesn't work for me.

                                    - Robbie.

                                    (I was posting as 'Rob' previously, then started signing 'Rob', apologies to the other Rob! :D

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    Wait, I meant I was posting as Robbie, then started signing off as Rob! I'm confusing myself, now :D

                                    - Robbie (not to be confused with Rob).

                                    Kid said...

                                    I remember the story about a sergeant-major on the parade ground getting verbally torn in to a squaddie. Tapping him with his baton (or whatever it's called), he said "Soldier, there's a bit of sh*t at the end of my stick!" Quick as a flash, the squaddie replied "It's not at MY end - SIR!"

                                    Which is my way of saying that if you find my "technique" cryptic, perhaps the problem lies at your end.

                                    I've lost track of who I'm talking to, but the problem with subjectivism in every case, is that - without an absolute standard as a guide - everything is reduced to being NEITHER good nor bad - but "that thinking makes it so". That's the same argument that certain classes of sexual perverts have used to justify their actions down through the centuries. If I don't accept it from them, I'm hardly going to accept it as justification for calling a sheep in a case art. It simply ISN'T.

                                    Shades of "the emperor's new clothes syndrome" apply in those circumstances, methinks.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Incidentally (if Nigel won't mind the plug), I've now posted some of my specific objections to the new DANDY over at - - feel free to comment.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    Well, in likening my argument with that of 'classes of sexual perverts'. you have now lost my respect, and my will to carry on this debate.

                                    I wish you all the best in your terribly black-and-white world, 'Kid'.

                                    - Robbie.

                                    Kid said...

                                    I made the simple observation that child abusers and animal molestors (as well as many others, admittedly) use the "everything is subjective" argument as justification, simply to explain why I reject it as a tenuous argument with no credence.

                                    Your eager grasp of it as an excuse to retire from the discussion is simply because the point is irrefutable .

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    Hitler and Stalin both set themselves up as sole arbiters of a "universal standard" for art.

                                    Hitler was also a bit of an artist at one time, I believe.

                                    Don't infer anything from that, it's all in your head.

                                    I'm off, too.

                                    The other Rob.

                                    Sorry, Nigel. This could have been an interesting discussion.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Yeah, and Hitler used to throw hissy fits or storm off in the huff when he couldn't get his own way either. The simple fact is that you are no different to me in your attitude, in that you are also setting yourself up as an arbiter of art. It's just that - in your case - your definition of what constitutes art is wider than mine - to the point that almost anything qualifies.

                                    When that happens, the whole concept of art is reduced to the absurd. If the result of a monkey throwing a pot of paint against a canvas can be regarded as art, or if a childish scrawl can be regarded as a comic strip, then I'm a better artist than Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and John Buscema rolled into one.

                                    Don't be ridiculous, you say? Well, you started it. The undeniable fact is that - as far as the new DANDY is concerned - to equate some of the strips as being of the same level as someone of Nigel's calibre is to insult him, however unintentionally.

                                    I doubt that Nigel thinks that, and I'm certainly not trying to speak on his behalf - but the conclusion is inescapable.

                                    Yes, there is a point - when art is of a certain standard - that it's purely a matter of personal taste as to what one prefers. For example - Dudley D. Watkins or Leo Baxendale. (Not that it HAS to be a choice between them.) However, being able to hold a pen and scribble crudely-rendered pictures in a box does not make one a cartoonist.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    Which comic strips have you drawn Kid?

                                    CG said...

                                    Cripes! This is creating a stir, Nigel!

                                    Kid said...

                                    Oh, here we go - a weak attempt at a putdown. Going by that logic, I may as well dismiss the opinions of readers who like the strips I'm not keen on by saying "What strips have you drawn?" The implication being that not having done it means someone can't know how it should be done.

                                    I can't cook, but it doesn't mean that I'm unable to recognise a good meal. I can't sing, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't know a good singer. The fact is, I'm not judging what is good cartoon art based on what I can do - I'm judging it on what artists of the calibre of Watkins, Harrison, Baxendale, Parkinson, Millington, Reid, etc., have done.

                                    Anyone disagree that these people can/could draw?

                                    One of the reasons I never actively pursued a career as a cartoonist is because I'm too slow to make a living from it. I made far more money lettering, resizing (which involved a fair amount of drawing) and restoring artwork for reprint books.

                                    Some of my art is posted on my blog at - just remember to ignore the stuff from when I was a teenager and judge me from stuff done when I was making a living from working exclusively as a comics contributor.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    Seemed like a perfectly reasonable question to me.

                                    So you were never quick enough?

                                    That's a shame. Don't you draw as a hobby or anything? Be good to see what you can do when non-financial rewards are at stake.

                                    I am actually interested. You have obviously studied a lot of great artists, so the distillation of those observations into your own work would be good to see.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Well, if it was a genuine interested enquiry then I don't have a problem with it, but recently someone asked me a similar question merely to mock my credibility - hence my response.

                                    I suppose I could have met deadlines as far as cartoons go, but not with a product I'd have been entirely happy with. As for adventure art, I'd have been lucky to have turned out a page a week - and you can't make a living from that. However, when you can letter 10 or more pages a day without the need for research or any great effort, then a comfortable living can be made.

                                    Kid said...

                                    And I should have included Reg Parlett, Nadal, and a whole host of others on that list.

                                    Anonymous said...

                                    I just wondered if you'd had a go at something for the love of it.

                                    Kid said...

                                    Have a look at my blog - I've a few pages of my art on it. Read Nigel's blog first 'though - he's got some interesting stuff on it.

                                    James Spiring said...

                                    43 comments? Flippin 'eck, this is a blog, not a message board. Take it to the forums!