Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, more hirsuite than ever. 2014. Let's see what happens...

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Bad Publicity?


Last Year (on my birthday, thanks!) my latest Beano strip came in for a bit of Press attention from the late, unlamentable News of the World and others. When I initially heard the proposed name of the strip, I did have misgivings . . . but I felt we did a good job on it, Alan Digby, who wrote it, me, who drew it and Nika who coloured it, including all those crimson faces and steam the strip required.







Of course, it was all over-hyped and contradictory. How often do the press accuse The Beano and Dandy of being 'too Politically Correct', and here they are lambasting us for being 'defiantly un-politically correct'! Still, never let facts get in the way of a good story.

I appreciated, however, their highlighting the picture of 'Calm Uncle Clive', obviously in paroxsyms of rage, as it was the only 'sight gag' I contributed ( I think) during the brief run of only four strips.

13 comments:

Lew Stringer said...

Well said Nigel. I suppose newspapers have to fill their pages with something (and they have more pages to fill these days). Comics are such an easy target because they know most of their readers won't be aware of the full story. Pull a panel out of context and bob's your uncle.

Kid said...

Talking of facts, NP, what's the scoop behind their claim that mental health campaigner were calling for the strip to be ditched? Was their any truth to this? If so, it seems to me that they were merely reporting a story, albeit a minor one. But, hey - there's no such thing as bad publicity. And did anything the papers say lead to the strip not being continued, or was it simply down to lack of reaction by readers?

Newspapers are such an easy target - personally, I don't think I know anyone who even trusts the date at the top of the page, never mind blindly believes anything they say.

NP said...

It's all to do with spin. Newspapers already have their angle before they write a story (I've had two other experiences of that over the years) and so they pick, chose, bend, distort and misrepresent details in order to achieve their goal. For instance, in this case they engineered this 'outcry by Mental Health campaigners' by simply phoning them all and (mis)quoting the strip and printing the reactions (where there were 'suitable' ones). As their readers would never think to check the comic itself, the agenda is set by the 'news'paper. The adverse press persuaded The Beano to drop the strip despite it's initial good showing in the poll. More on THAT later.

Kid said...

Okay, I can buy that. Dave Hunt, editor of Eagle, once related the following tale in the pages of the comic. A reporter 'phoned him, claiming that his paper had received complaints from parents about the level of violence in the Eagle - did he have a comment to make? Upon Dave probing the reporter for specific details, the reporter eventually admitted that, because it was a slow news week, his editor had told him to 'phone Dave in order to drum up a story - there had been no complaints from parents at all.

However, papers do this sort of thing all the time - and their target is not just restricted to comics. Surely everyone knows this? Papers no longer exist to report news - they exist to make money. I would've thought the publicity the Beano received would lead to at least a few more people picking up a copy to see what the fuss was about.

Shame on DC Thomson for wimping out and not exploiting the (minor)free publicity. If they believed in the strip and felt the accusations were groundless, they should have defended it. I seriously doubt that many people would have put much faith in an obvious filler piece in tomorrow's fish & chips wrapper 'though. People are much more savvy nowadays. Surely?

Lew Stringer said...

Unlike a comic, which makes no claim to be anything other than fiction, readers expect a newspaper to have SOME degree of accuracy, so, yes, people learn towards accepting the "news" as fact.

For example, numerous times people have said to me "I read that the politically correct brigade have stopped Desperate Dan from eating cow pies". Even some comic fans believe that, yet we know it's complete nonsense and that modern-day Dan is still chomping on cow pies.

"There's no such thing as bad publicity" doesn't always ring true, as comics have found to their cost several times.

Lew Stringer said...

Sorry, I meant "lean" not "learn".

NP said...

I'm constantly disappointed by the credulity of some 'news'paper readers. "But it was in the papers!" they insist, to which I could reply "But it might still be true". I'll post more on Si Co if appropriate.

Kid said...

It must be different up in Scotland - as I said, no one I know expects newspapers to be accurate - they know papers push their own agenda. My town's local paper is jokingly referred to as the EK Sparky (yes, as in the comic) because no one takes it seriously. On the point of whether Dan eats cow pies or not - so what? I see no sinister repercussions springing from that little tidbit. Incidentally, it's reputed that Morris Heggie admitted that such was the case (with the cow pies) back when it was first reported, so maybe they just reintroduced them again later. (And the potential for influence is not necessarily dependent on whether something is presented as non-fiction or not.)

Perhaps DC Thomson is reaping what it sowed when it tried to manipulate the media a few years ago in a cunningly conceived sales ploy. Remember, when Dennis, Dan and Bash Street were announced as receiving PC make-overs?

Kid said...

Announced by DC Thomson that is.

Lew Stringer said...

No one suggested the cowpie tale was sinister Kid. I just used it as one example of newspaper's untruths.

I could cite the 1950s anti-comics propaganda again if you like, but you probably know about that by now.

Blimey

Kid said...

I wasn't suggesting that you were suggesting anything sinister - only pointing out that a newspaper getting minor facts wrong isn't necessarily going to impact on comics in any significant way and is therefore probably nothing to be overly concerned with.

Also, the fact that you have to go back nearly 60 years to provide an example tends to show how out of proportion your concerns are. As far as I'm aware, there's been nothing on anywhere near the same scale since. And it's arguable that a lot of good (in the case of comics) came from that so-called 'witch-hunt'. Anyway, let's not turn NP's site into a venue for that old discussion. You can address it on my blog if you like - the subject is floating areound there somewhere.

Lew Stringer said...

I simply used those examples to show how some people do believe what they read about comics. That's all.

Kid said...

Yeah, but 60 year old examples only (arguably) show how people believed what newspapers said about comics 60 years ago. In the main, we tend to be more cynical these days. (Also, I think it's debatable whether newspapers got it entirely wrong back then, despite some excesses.) Anyway, we both know what each other thinks on the subject. So - read any good comics lately?