Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist
This is him, at a recent Comic Con

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

DANDY Wednesday

Like every Wednesday, tomorrow is Dandy Wednesday. Here's Harry Hill explaining his superstitions in another comic strip which, as every week, has more jokes per inch than any other comic strip in the world, and that's official, 'cos I've measured them all. So if you need a laugh or several, that's where they are.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Dangerous Dan- That's all for now

Rolling off the presses as I type this is the final (sixth) episode of The Beano's summer strip, Dangerous Dan - or is it? Reader response, as always, will determine whether he shall return one day-  and there's a Readers Poll in next week's issue.
Anyway, looks like he wasn't just daydreaming after all!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Mum fans Special

The Dandy's famous toddling twosome, Cuddles and Dimples, was originally drawn by Barrie Appleby. When I took over in 2004, I only made one minor change- I made their mum less of a dolly bird and more of a... well, Hot Wife as someone once said.
This is probably her most famous appearance, from 26 May 3007, and, trust me, there IS a reason for the costumes, a really, really good reason. Escapes me for the moment... I was fully expecting someone at DC Thomson to draw in a tasteful coat or something on mum, but to my surprise, they didn't! And I know that one or two people have expressed their fondness for this particular frame.
Oh well, too late now. 
Coloured by Ruth.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dandy Day

Tell your friends! The Dandy is on sale today, as it is each and every Wednesday. It's big, colourful, funny, packed full of stuff and a bargain too.
So now it's over to you!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Strange World of Gurney Slade

We old-TV-show enthusiasts often came across the name- The Strange World of Gurney Slade- and heard it spoken of in reverent tones. Described as 'Alice in Wonderland meets The Prisoner' or 'Thurber meets Billy Liar', it sounded too good to be true. The fact that it was last shown in it's one and only repeat run in 1963 only added to it's mystique.
Then in 1992, Frank Muir kindly let us see the first episode. It didn't disappoint! Now, 51 years after it's debut, here it is, complete! And the praise heaped on it was entirely justified. It's both a template and dismantling of British TV of the forthcoming decade, and a fascinating attempt at creating something that could only work on television.
Written by soon-to-be Morecambe and Wise writers Sid Green and Dick Hills and created by and starring Anthony Newley and a cast of dozens that burgeons from week to week, it's sharp, satirical, thoughtful and, yes, funny, and would have worked perfectly in 1967 once everyone else had caught up!
Watch a trailer for the new DVD of it here
Newley wasn't too dismayed by Gurney Slade's lack of success (critics on the whole loved it, but viewers on the whole hated it!)  as he teamed up with another writer to do a sort of stage musical of the same kind of idea with Stop the World, I Want to Get Off in 1963, which introduced his most famous and enduring song, What Kind of Fool Am I?
Network have just issued this DVD, just another in the long line of titles they have brought out of hibernation., and as usual, a nice booklet and superb packaging.  There's no other DVD company that does such a good job.

Monday, 15 August 2011

There's a Ghost in My House

I'd been ghosting for The Dandy for a while when I finally got the chance to ghost for The Beano in 1997 thanks to the late Ken Cummings , a young scriptwriter who gave me a try out on those Pocket Size libraries.

A Ghost artist is someone who draws in the style of another cartoonist, and the comics used to be full of us! Here are some of my 'Ghost Jobs' from my early days at The Beano.
This was my first published work in The Beano! Not too bad, a fair representation of  Bob Nixon.

An obscure strip, and I only ever did one, which I liked doing a lot.

I've ghosted Ken Harrison and Tam Paterson's versions of Minnie, but this one is a fair mimicking of Jim Petrie

An even MORE obscure strip, and again the only time I ever drew it.

I first drew The Bash Street Kids by mistake in 1984 (long story!) But from 1988 I drew them occasionaly. This one, from April 3rd 1999, was the first one I felt totally happy with, feeling that I'd got a good handle on the late Leo Baxendale/early David
Sutherland feel. As with most of these ghost jobs, the colouring was done in-house at DC Thomson.
Hand coloured by me,  I must have done a dozen 'Fun Size's but only one weekly. It's not a very close match for John Sherwood, but I was busy drawing other strips, most in my own style.

Again, coloured by me, by hand. I did three of these, and there was going to be a fourth, but somehow wasn't! Again, the style was supposed to be David Sutherland or Vic Neill, but ended up more like me. Not surprising!

Beano, I've got it covered.

Three more Beano covers from 1999, 2003 and 2004, all hand-coloured by me.

The first one, with the Vampire Dennis image, was, I think my second or third Beano cover, and, as I sometimes did, I had drawn it and coloured it and was just about to cram it into a postal tube when I decided I could improve it. This is that 'improved' cover, but The Beano were sent both and chose one.

The second cover, above, of Dennis and Gnasher snowboarding was a favourite of mine at the time, it was one of those that comes out fast and right and I didn't change anything. Took about an hour (partly because the hand-colouring was made easier as it was set in the snow!)

The third cover, left, is one of the last 'full page' images. I was quite pleased with it as it was again a very fast cover.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Beano Covers

Ten years ago, I drew a lot of these- Beano covers, featuring Dennis the Menace. This one in particular posed a few problems for me as I tried to plan how to draw it -until I remembered Will Eisner's 'Spirit'- and suddenly, there it was. Nice and simple, bold and graphic.

Hand-coloured by me.

5...4...3...2...1 !

Back in 1992 I had the great pleasure of working with Alan Fennell on Thunderbirds - and with Keith Page, who re-drew a lot of the faces on this, my first Thunderbirds story! I don't know why, but he did, and here's an example!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

What's his name

Once upon a time, the artist, illustrator or, my preferred term cartoonist, in comics was anonymous. then some weren't. It all depended on the publishers. Some had no problem advertising they had secured the talents of certain pencil and inkpot pushers.
But other publishers seemed to think that the readership preferred to imagine that the entire contents of a comic were by 'The Artist'.
You could see their point- DC Thomson allowed Dudley Watkins to have his name on the front of every Beano because they were proud of him (and he knew it- long story) but didn't allow anyone else (Allan Morely aside) to sign their work, seemingly because if the artist died or retired or - heaven forbid- sought work elsewhere, another illustrator would be needed, and they would have to draw as near as possible in the same style, and that would just be confusing- better not have ANY names at all. Fleetway were the same.
However, Odhams Press were clearly delighted to have obtained Leo Baxendale and allowed him to put his name boldly on every page he drew. Same with City magazines where Frank Bellamy's signature was emblazoned with panache across all his Thunderbiords spreads in TV Century 21.
And, back in those days, it was those two signatures, Baxendale and Bellamy, that impressed me- these drawings were by real people- they'd even signed their name!

When I started out in comics I had two pen names and my actual name, and would attempt to place one or other of them in the work. knowing that DC Thomson would erase them, and tried to hide it- I remember once hiding it in a downpour of rain which was blanked out, and in a patch of long grass, which wasn't spotted and blanked out- but then maybe it wasn't worth putting one's monicker on it if was so well-hidden that nobody had seen it, not even someone looking for it!
Other publishers were fine about it. (In the main!)

In 1998 when  back at the Dandy and Beano, I noticed nobody was signing their work, So, getting 'my own strips', Beaginnings and Owen Goal,  I put my name on them, knowing that they would be erased.

Except they weren't!

When asked, the editors said they felt the practice of obliterating signatures was a bit old-fashioned. Who couldn't be glad to see David Sutherland, toiling anonymously since 1962 on The Bash Street Kids, put his name on it eventually, as did many others. Nowadays, it's unusual not to see a signature.
I'm all in favour of putting the writers name on, and so on!

He's New

Beginning this week The Beano has a new character DANGEROUS DAN, SECRET AGENT, drawn by me. Here he is.