We Ran the World

Art, Cartoons

Here’s a little taster of We Ran the World, a collaboration with writer Andy Oldfield which was originally published in The Damage*, a short-lived rival to Viz.

We Ran the World was a dig at the so-called glories of the British Empire, little Englanders, xenophobes… as well as the then-current Thatcher government. The strip normally occupied the centre spread of The Damage but this special edition ran to four pages. Andy would fax the scripts to me and I would squeeze in as much of my own daftness as there was room for.

We Ran the World - Twilight of the Gods - page 1
We Ran the World - Twilight of the Gods - page 2
We Ran the World - Twilight of the Gods - page 3
We Ran the World - Twilight of the Gods - page 4
The artwork was drawn to A3 size on bleedproof layout paper, inked by brush then coloured with Pantone and Magic Markers. All the brush hand lettering was on a separate overlay to preserve clarity of the text.

*The Damage was originally called Brain Damage but the name was changed after pressure from a campaign group representing the parents of brain-damaged children.

I’m biased. I thought The Damage was a far better comic than Viz but the public preferred the very British humour (dare I say ‘toilet’ humour?) of the Beano/Dandy styleViz strips to the more adventurous stuff in The Damage.

Roger Frames: rediscovered pencil rough

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - 1st rough
While rummaging through a pile of old pencil roughs (I call it my filing system) I discovered, or rediscovered, this first pencil rough for a Roger Frames cartoon.

It was for the third of three cartoons where the theme was Roger acting out a Batman fantasy triggered by his favourite ‘Budjit Game’ of that month.

As you can see below I changed the drawing completely for the final version, much simpler and more dramatic, prompted by Art Editor Ollie Alderton’s valuable contribution.

Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - 2nd rough

Here’s the final printed version.
Roger Frames - Batfink and gargoyle - printed proof

A week of catastrophes

Soapbox

The massive earthquake off the north east coast of Japan and the ensuing apocalyptic tsunami was a double catastrophe of lost lives, lost homes and lost infrastructure.

Five days on and the relief work is hampered by the ongoing nuclear crisis at Fukushima with the threat of a radiation catastrophe.

Failsafe. There’s a word to contemplate. Are the assurances given so far about the reactors’ containment and ultimate safety hollow? When things go wrong in this industry, secrecy, half-truths, wildly optimistic pronouncements are wrapped around the feeble and often mistaken choices made to put things right.

I firmly believe that my father’s death in January 1961 from cancer (he was 40 years old) was caused by Britain’s worst nuclear event, the Windscale (Sellafield) fire and leak, three years earlier.

Needless to say, I am deeply suspicious of the nuclear industry. Nuclear Power? No thanks.

This cartoon by Low had a profound effect on me as a young nascent cartoonist. It seems appropriate this week, over 60 years on.

Baby Play With Nice Ball?

Baby Play With Nice Ball? Cartoon by David Low | Evening Standard, August 1945.

 

Roger Frames buys Budjit Games

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames - masthead

I’ve been scanning in old art commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s. At the time, Future Publishing was probably my best client and I was producing artwork for many of its magazines.

The regular project that I enjoyed the most was illustrating the pages where the low-cost (Budjit) computer games were reviewed by the fictitious young, accident-prone kid – Roger Frames.

Issue #1 of the magazine saw Roger in basic black and white line but very soon – by issue #4 – a couple of full colour illustrations of Roger’s antics appeared every month. This increased to as much as four illustrations in some issues.

I’ve chosen a few of my favourites: some are scans from the printed magazine because the artwork was either not returned or been lost.

Roger Frames - snotty nose

Roger Frames: Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside

Roger Frames: Commodore 64 sand sculpture

Roger Frames: Computer Sand Sculpture

Roger Frames: All at sea

Roger Frames: All at seaRoger Frames - Hospital VisitRoger Frames: Hospital Visit

Roger & Debit watch the Chancellor's Budget Speech

Roger Frames: Roger and Debit watch the Chancellor’s Budget Speech

Roger Frames: Arrested for Begging

Roger Frames: Arrested for begging

Roger Frames - Asleep in the sun

Roger Frames: Asleep in the sun

Roger Frames - Sunburn

Roger Frames: Bad Sunburn

Roger Frames: The Untouchables

Roger Frames: The Untouchables

Roger Frames - Batman and the vicar

Roger Frames: ‘Batman’ and the vicar

Roger Frames - Batman and the vicar

Roger Frames: ‘Batman’ and the vicar

Roger Frames - Hanging on

Roger Frames: Hanging on

Roger Frames - Beach Treasure Hunt

Roger Frames: Beach Treasure Hunt

Roger Frames - Bath Tub Sub

Roger Frames – Bath Tub Sub
Originally posted on miketoons.blogspot.com – Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Roger Frames and his dog Debit watch the Chancellor’s Speech

Art, Cartoons, Illustration

Roger Frames and his dog Debit watch the Chancellor's Speech

This is a blast from the past. An ink and wash illustration commissioned by Commodore Format magazine in the early 1990s.

I illustrated many “Roger Frames buys Budjit Games” for the magazine involving the penny-pinching antics of Roger, who acted out his computer game role-play with disastrous consequences.

Working with Ollie Alderton, the art editor of Commodore Format, on Roger Frames has to be one of the most fun things I ever did.

Originally published on miketoons.blogspot.com.