Nigel Parkinson, Cartoonist

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

Sunday, 30 June 2013

The Bash Street Ghost

I've done a fair few ghosting jobs, this one, from 1999, is a nice attempt at doing a Bash Street Kids in the manner in which we have all become accustomed to seeing them, one of the few these past 50 years not drawn by David Sutherland. I always enjoyed doing The Bash Street Kids.

One More Menace!

The recent superhero stories in The Beano remind me that back in 1984, in the days when I might buy a copy every few months to check what was going on as I submitted my seemingly endless requests for work (didn't happen for over 12 years!) Dennis the Menace and Gnasher came face to face with the only person that worried them- Dennis's cousin, Denice The Menace! Drawn by David Sutherland and written I believe by George Cobb.

Ghostly Goings On

Here's something of a novelty- a Lord Snooty page from the March 10th 1956 issue of The Beano, not by it's regular artist, Dudley D Watkins, but by a ghost artist- and in this case, the ghoster is none other than Leo Baxendale! Not content with drawing three or four other pages a week, Baxendale also accepted these extra pieces of work. His distinctive style can be seen in the hands and faces, and also in some of the details. A good ghost job, but Baxendale didn't have the luxury of the time to craft an exact duplicate of Watkins' style, so his own hand is fairly clear. More ghost jobs soon.

Friday, 28 June 2013

Famous Beano readers No.1

This 1966 LP by John Myall's Bluesbreakers featuring Eric Clapton has often been referred to as 'The Beano Album' because of Clapton's reading matter. A few years ago, a rather nice item, a Gibson guitar with that particular May 1966 Beano reproduced on it, was made. Other similar guitars have been made too.

I remember in the 1960s many University students were spotted with a Beano- at the time I thought they were just finally getting onboard with the right periodicals- but it seems they were Blues fans paying homage to Clapton. In 1968, a student on University Challenge famously said "...reading The Beano" during the opening section when they were supposed to state the subject they were reading.

Clapton, by the time the LP was out, had left The Bluesbreakers and started a new group, Cream, who, as far as I know, never read The Beano.


More Beano

Another two examples from The Beano of the past.
Right, November 14th 1957, and Dennis The Menace is on the cover! At the moment, only one picture up in the top left hand corner, but it was a start!
Dudley D Watkins' drawing is at a majestic peak with this Biffo The Bear; he drew very loosely in pencil and then did the detail in pen and ink. His understanding of anatomy is very striking here, with his rendering of the dog, Bimbo.

March 23rd 1957, and the Bash Street Kids have arrived. This page by Leo Baxendale is typical of his 1955/6 style, which would soon change to the classic look that has been imitated ever since.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

74 Years 11 months this weekend

Which can only mean that in one months time, The Beano will be celebrating it's 75th birthday with a bang. There'll be a fab anniversary edition and more stuff and what have you, and I'm celebrating the event in a way too, by showing a few memorable pages from Beanos past.
Left is a Beano from the early 1960s with a classic fluid page from the master himself, Dudley D Watkins, with an altogether illogical story, but never mind, nice bit of work.

And below left is a mid-50s Dennis The Menace. That name sends chills down the spine of any self-respecting non-Menace, and in this instance, Davey Law shows exactly why!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Week, prepare for mockery.

Tonight's 'Mock The week' on BBC2 might just be worth a look.
Just sayin'.
Might NOT be.
EDIT: Was! he he! The Mockers, MOCKED! Bliss!

(PS if you're wondering about Chris Addison's comment about The Beano, all is revealed:
"Yikes! Disaster averted with last minute re-subscription to Phoenix comic. There would be blood. Well, sulks."

Dennis The Menace FINALLY!

At long last, Dennis The Menace (from The Beano) gets his very own regular monthly comic. It's modern, unexpected, exciting and NEW! It's on sale July 24th, I would guess from about 6.45am depending on your local merchant. So go try it. I think it's pretty good.



July 8th BBC2

Count Arthur Strong!
And there's an article about it all in The Times today, too.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Kirby Dissed

It's a tribute to Jack Kirby, which I like, but the cover.... Kirby would have HATED it. It's everything Kirby was NOT. It's static, it's generic, it's bombastic, it's stagey, it's melodramatic. It brings to mind a cover for a DC comics 100pager back in the 70s that the late Carmine Infantino, art director there, and life-long pal of Jacks, proudly showed Kirby one day. It had all the DC heroes standing as if on Glee, all looking alike, all shoulder to shoulder, like in a pagent. Kirby hated it, to Infantino's surprise. "You've got all those powerful heroes standing there, and they're not DOING anything!"
And here is John Morrow, who I greatly appreciate, he's kept the Kirby flame going with his marvellous magazines for many years. But this cover is so wrong in so many ways. I'm no Kirby, but I can't stand it either. Kirby was about power, action, drama, movement, story and character. This cover has none of that.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Terry Deary and Paul Gravett (and Eddie Mair)- Bad Show. (But at least Gary Northfield got a Nice Mention!)

I don't normally respond to uninformed opinion, but I think I will this time.

Listening to Paul Gravett  a 'comics expert' (sic) and Terry Deary ('author' of Horrible Histories, a childrens' book) pontificating about the 'Royal Visit' issue of The Beano on Radio 4 this evening, I was struck by how little they know about The Beano of today.
Mr Gravett, whose understanding of comics stopped in about 1988, proudly informed the listening public that 'Beano scripts are written inhouse by staff' while Mr Deary scoffed 'shouldn't be written by cartoonists'. Now, it would have been nice if someone, anyone, on the BBC's PM programme who knew anything about the subject had been on too. They were complaining that The Beano is stuck in the past and needs to do something new and modern. This is after them reading one issue, this week's, which is, I'm sure you'll appreciate, not a regular issue- it was done to coincide with a Royal Visit and needed to be a bit different, even a bit 'safe'- there is a protocol, etc, etc, come on, it's just one week. We routinely parodied, trashed and mocked famous people every week in The Dandy, but sometimes you've got to be nice to them.

So, to Mr Gravett, no, a lot of the scripts are not written inhouse anymore, many of them are now written by outside writers, such as Dennis The Menace and Gnasher which is more often than not written nowadays by Nigel Auchterlounie, and I bet if Mr Deary or Mr Gravett read one of his stories they'd most likely find it was 'something new and modern'.

Mr Deary seemed obsessed with corporal punishment, which was banished from the Beano about 30 years ago. Mr Gravett was keen to talk about the revolution in The Beano of 60 years ago. Yes, but have you tried seeing what a current issue is like (Royal issue aside)? of course not. Mr Gravett was pleased to promote the excellent Gary Northfield as an example of what The Beano could be doing (er- should you tell him or should I?) and suggest we all dash to our nearest Waitrose (I'll book the train ticket now, Paul) to pick up the comic HE proudly reads, The Phoenix. Nice plug. By the way if they DID sell it in any Waitrose I've ever been in, I would buy it. They don't. But do buy Gary's book, The Terrible tales of The Teenytinysaurs, though, it's brilliant, as usual.

Paul Gravett, a comics 'expert' (sic) remember, was on TV last year bemoaning The Dandy's demise and blaming it on the fact that it was 'stuck in the past'. If he'd picked up a 2010-12 copy, he wouldn't be smugly parading outdated nonsense like that. The Dandy of that era was nothing if not modern. Many criticized it for being TOO modern, for breaking too many links with the past.

Terry Deary, changing the subject to his own books, chortled snidely about books written by writers (er, I get it, I think) being better than anything by 'cartoonists'. Fine. I wonder how well your books would have sold originally without the allure of the 'cartoons' by Martin Brown, Mike Phillips and Phillip Reeve? Your publisher put them on the cover, after all. Don't be so shy next time, Terry, get them to ditch the 'cartoons' and just print your rather slender little volumes in all text. I just bet they'd be a real success.

Anyway, all publicity is good publicity, so thanks, guys, for the publicity!

You can enjoy the show here for the next 6 days (the bit I'm moaning about starts about 51 minutes in).

What a Menace

Here we see Dennis the Menace living up to his name yesterday when a certain Royal Visit went off without a hitch at the new Beano printing works. Craig, Beano editor, and Ellis, DCT bigwig, meet the Royals, and THEN, so does DENNIS... oo-er- what could possibly go wrong?!
(I like your attitude, Claire!)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

This Week's BEANO

POW! Yes, that's correct, the next issue of what is very nearly the World's longest laughing comic, The Beano, features Dennis The Menace getting the old Mind Sock from a strangely big-brained Walter! But how does this state of affairs come to pass? There's only one way to find out! On Wednesday morning, head straight to your nearest stockist and grab the latest Beano- it's why Wednesday was invented!

A Right Royal Issue!

This week's Beano has a couple of Royal visitors- none other than Charles and Camilla, you know, the Prince of Wales, or, as he and his wife are known in Scotland, Their Royal highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay. Anyhow, they kindly agreed to be drawn by me and to join in gamely with the chaos with Dennis The Menace, Roger the Dodger and The Bash Street Kids (as you can see above). You can see it all in tomorrow's Beano!

Time to Grab a copy!

Londoners who don't pick up their free copies of Time Out, the listings magazine, today, may want to go and buy one tomorrow, as there's a special, unique-to-Time Out 4 page Dennis The Menace in London, as drawn by me! Of course, it's all in support of the Beanotown exhibition on Southbank. So what are you waiting for- go get Time Out!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Nearly on the shelves

Any minute now, the Beano Book will be out- I know it's still June, and we're six months away from Christmas, but it really is out very soon- and I can heartily recommend buying it. I know I will be for one, so why not join the many thousands of us and get one too? I'm betting it's full of good stuff. Hey, why not grab The Dandy too why you're at it?

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Kountdown to Kazakhstan

Almaty is the old capital city of Kazakhstan, over in the east, between Russia and China. One of the biggest countries in the world, and did you know that every apple we eat is grown from a seed that first grew in this region? Almaty means "place of apples". True. So why are we concerning ourselves with this far-flung country? Aha! One of our team will be able to answer that question soon.

August 27th... it's getting nearer

A few weeks ago I told you to put this date in your diary, and I hope you have, because you won't want to miss it. "How about some clues?" I hear you ask, weeping with frazzled nerves of frustration. But after previous sneak previews where the guesses got a touch esoteric, I've decided to decline. Only ten weeks to go...

Monday, 3 June 2013

Festival News

Meanwhile, back down on the Southbank in London's fashionable Southwark (there's a phrase that's new for this Century, eh Baby Boomers?) the Neighbourhood Festival's BEANOTOWN exhibit is drawing the crowds (pun strictly accidental) in it's first week. Here's a picture of the building with it's Beano bus mural as drawn by, er, me. It's got everything for kids of all ages, and a treasure trove of relics of the past and exciting new developments for the future. So, if you live in or near the great metropolis, hurry across to the Southbank, near the Festival Hall and BFI (nearest tube Waterloo, bus from Euston, 68, from Tower, RV1) and soak up the Beano atmosphere from now until the end of the summer! Tell 'em I sent you!

And, while there, remember to pick up London's famous what's on guide, Time Out.

Best of The Bunch

A year or so ago I did 12 episodes of The Banana Bunch for The Dandy, and, as is the custom these days, had to write the story myself too. This two-parter was a good one, I thought, nice lunatic villain and the Dogbanana shows why I invented him.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Who Is It? Who Is It?

I draw almost every day (I don't draw whenever I find myself in Greece- I attempted this once, in 2005, but it wasn't right- Ouzo and so forth doesn't drink itself you know) and sometimes I get to do something a little unusual- and THIS past week, there has been a LOT of unusual stuff on my drawing board- most of it drawings! Phew! Anyhow, I'll be letting you all in on it over the next couple of months, but one thing I can vouchsafe to you is- THEY'RE BACK!

He he he!

Southbank Beanotown

Throughout the summer (and even if we don't get one) The Beano celebrates it's grand 75 years at the London Festival of Neighbourhood, on the Southbank. There's an exhibition of rare Beano art and artefacts, EVERY BEANO ANNUAL-interactive things, and loads of fun. And the whole festival looks like being a right old hoot too. And while there, don't forget the London listings magazine, Time Out. Don't say you weren't told! Find out more right here