Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

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

Friday, 26 April 2013

Lichtenstein? No Thanks.

The latest issue of VIZ takes to task the memory of Roy Lichtenstein, the Pop "Artist" of the 1960s who became very wealthy and was much lauded through his incredible skill and talent in copying from others. The artworld prides itself on 'found objects', and in his case, he 'found' his 'inspiration' in the pages of ephemeral comic books and elevated the images into 'Art'. Except his talent for composition, line, lighting, perspective and colour was as suspect as his moral bankruptcy for appropriation with no mention of the real artistry involved- the draughtsmanship of the likes of Tony Abruzzo, John Severin, Bob Powell Mike Sekowsky, you name 'em.

The real 'genius' of Lichtenstein was in looking at his comic book collection so closely that he spotted this ad on the inside back cover and sent off for one.  It meant he could blow up any image to huge 'wall size' and trace around it. Which he did again and again, never as deftly or confidently or boldly as the original illustrator, but attempting to.

Art critics raved about his 'imagination', his 'foresight' his 'ability to take trash and make it Art' and his 'brilliant captions which both tell a story and hide the truth of his art'. Except he just copied those as well.

End of rant. Thankfully, anyone reading this or this will see that VIZ feels the same way about this charlatan that I do, that Dave Gibbons does, and that you might, too.

[ I 'borrowed' these images from 'Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein' (see it here) which did all the work for me here.
Oh the irony.
However, the invective is all mine].

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Uh-Oh! It's Her!

I've been drawing Minnie the Minx in the Beano every week since October, and haven't mentioned it here. Perhaps I should. It's been a great pleasure to draw the little minx, it was always a favourite strip of mine in The Beano, and I'm fairly sure some of her pages from 1958, 59, 60 by the legendary (but real) Leo Baxendale, are amongst the very best and very funniest pages I've ever seen.
Although I've only been doing Minnie regularly for six months or so, I have drawn her before. Minnie The Minx was one of the first pages I drew for the Beano in 1998, ghosting Jim Petrie for five or six episodes, includng a two-parter where Minnie travels to the USA and meets her cousin, who turns out to be an even worse minx. I also did one where Minnie appears on 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire'.
More recently, I ghosted a few Ken Harrison-style Minnies and usually feature her in BeanoMAX every month where she appears alongside Dennis, Roger, and some of the Bash Street Kids. 
So when I found out that I would be drawing a regular Minnie, it didn't feel any different at first- but now I feel very honoured to be doing it. Recently, I drew some annual pages too. Most of them have been written by Iain McLaughlin who wrote for Jim Petrie and Ken Harrison too, and he relished devising Minnie's crazed antics.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

1963 and all that

My new blog, "1963 and all that"  will hopefully be a nostalgia-fest and an eye-opener, looking back on the events of fifty years ago, some in detail only now possible.
Give it a go!

Friday, 12 April 2013

BC- Before Colouring

This is what things look like before they get the magic of colour added- in this case, by Nika. Here are practically the full extent of my colour notes to her back in 2007 when I drew this, destined for a Gibsons jigsaw that year. Anyone seen the finished coloured version?

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Longer Countdown Than Expected...

The BBC have decided that Count Arthur Strong's TV series will be better off being premiered in June rather than April- so hold on to your popcorn and relax a couple more months. I'll leave you with the Count's wise words from 2006: "Madmen like that give lunatics a bad name, and that's why headcases get stigmatized, the bloody idiots!"

Monday, 8 April 2013

Scouse Mouse- Shed Again

I had to delete this post recently because for some reason it garnered dozens of weird spam comments every day! So, from memory, here is Fleetway's 'Scouse Mouse' comic which I helped George Nicholas devise along with Julie Evans back in 1988. We worked together in what was basically a shed in the far outskirts of the furthest part of the most distant bit of the county- yes, it took ages to commute. Scouse Mouse was George Nicholas's creation back in 1983- by the time I joined the team, he had published quite a few Scouse Mouse products and painted him into the Longest Mural In The World at Alder Hey Children's Hospital. We ran this particular comic with Bob Paynter at Fleetway for six months, merging with Whizzer and Chips where we ran for about another six or nine months. I made my scripting debut with this comic, writing, drawing, inking, colouring, lettering, as we all did.
 Here's a good cover drawn by me, inked and coloured by George.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

No Ordinary Mouse

George Nicholas, who devised Scouse Mouse, was always thinking of new projects. In the mid 90s, he'd had enough of doing these newspaper cartoons, so handed them over to me. At £30 a week (£5 per strip, per day!) it wasn't exactly the greatest job in the world, but it was work. Over about six years I must have written and drawn more than 2,000 of these! Here are a good sample of almost a week's worth as printed in the Liverpool Echo. If you're wondering, the mouse is called Scouse, the chicken is called Chaz- yes, a male- and the dog is called Sconedd- that's pronounced 'SCON-ED'. These were published in 1993. We knew that with a name like 'Scouse Mouse' we may not get much interest from regional or national newspapers, so we devised a cunning ruse of renaming the strip and the character. We tried 'Ricky Rodent', 'Rocky Rat' and 'Mike Mouse'- which was when we realized
it wasn't really going to work out. But we tried.

Another Reject- Jupiter Moon

In 1990, there was a bit of a VHS/Betamax situation going out between Sky TV and BSB (you remember The Squarial? Thought not. Remember VHS and Betamax?). BSB was British Satellite Broadcasting, and for a few months, had three or four seperate channels and some good programmes. They even had their own soap opera-but this was a SPACE soap opera! It was called 'Jupiter Moon' and starred Anna Chancellor. The Daily Star was the lucky rag that bid for an exclusive Jupiter Moon comic strip- and for some reason I can't recall, I got the job of drawing it! Here are the only three examples I still have- sadly, the whole project came off the rails a month after it started when BSB folded. I never even got a free squarial. But then I already had cable. Shame. But anyway, here's all that remains of my Jupiter Moon, comic strip wise.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Nice Hair! Nice Pants!

On this day, 1 April, 1974, two guys met up at a party in LA. Nothing unusual in that, except these two were guys who, up to ten years before, had spent practically every day of their lives together and, with two other guys, brought a lot of happiness to the world by just being young men with skinny suits, shaggy hair, and some songs.
Yes, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were both at this shindig 39 years ago today and were photographed together for the first and last time since the last Beatles photo shoot in August 1969.
Kind of sad.

By the way, Macca, that mullet and goatee is sort of weird. Better not keep that! And John, don't live in NYC. OK, sorted that! Isn't time travel wonderful.