Friday, 23 December 2016

Trumped Up - A year of comics by kids

In 2016 there was, it seems, nowhere to escape Donald Trump, and the classrooms of the country were no different. I visited schools in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Romania this year, and one trend became clear, year 6 were obsessed with Donald Trump. Above are the 19 examples of when Trump made the cover of the comics they all took home with them. As you'll see elsewhere, he made a similar number of appearances as their choice of celebrity for the demonstration strip.

As for the other comics they produced this year, here's a rundown.

I started the year with a trip to Ireland, and a classy selection they came up with in Dublin. Very pleased with my Spider-Man homage there.


In Glasgow, Haverfordwest & Kingston they seemed to have an obsession with fat people. And Jeff. Why Jeff was ever a thing I do not know, but this is his third year of being amongst the funniest thing primary school kids can say. Other memes to come.

Birmingham and Walthamstow, first butt of the year. Bananas recur occasionally, as do toilets, as you can see.

And there it is, the first of the Donald Trump covers. So subtle I didn't actually include it in the big montage at the top of the page, but The Adventures Of President Baby had a very clear candidate in mind. These examples are from a week's residence in Tadley in Hampshire. Double dose of babies and a bottom here.

This selection is from Okehampton to Healing in Lincolnshire to Horris Hill in Berkshire. More pigs you'll notice, and a double dose of ducks.

The first fully fledged Trump cover came from Darlington Library, the rest are from Reading and Woking, all part of Book Week. And more pigs.

As were these, from Gloucester and Swindon. No cliches to be seen.

A subtle Trump cover here, he's depicted in Team Dum And The Evil Cheese as a result of having been chosen for the demonstration strip. Hexham, Allendale, Chorley and South Wales. And we're back with the bottoms and the memes ("In Me Mam's Car").

Four from Bucharest, 25% Trumped.

There are a few hidden treat in these comics from Ireland and Birmingham, choicest of which is "Up The Ra" from a school in County Wexford. One of the best Trump covers, more toilets, and the only nippples of the year.

Dabbing, Jeff, "your hairline", bottoms, toilets, and Donald Trump. This selection from Barking and Wiltshire, has every meme (or, as we used to call them, cliche) prevalent in the minds of 10 year olds.

More of the forehead nonsense, fat folk, toilets, and some inspired variety from Ealing and South Wales.

And there it is, the Trumpocalypse. Trumpageddon, Trumptime Theme Time. One week in a school in Swindon, every single comic a Trump comic. This was peak Trump, way back in June, but honestly nobody thought that front cover on the bottom left would actually come true.

More Trumps, more dabbing, more pigs and rainbows. This time from Bethnal Green, Backwell and Wiltshire.

There was a Roman theme, from these schools in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall. Even that couldn't keep them free from Trump. Or toilets.

One of my favourite titles of the year, Your Nan Lives In A Wheelie Bin Outside Of Tescos, from Felixstowe (or possibly Norwich, Romsey or Hexham, it was a busy week), with its share of Trump, pigs & toilets.

Comics from a Festival and a Ferry. Pigs, Trumps, zombie butt cracks, as per. 

These were made in a vicarage, a summer school, and a pavilion. All in the shadow of The Donald. This week's Fat Man, by the way, was drawn from a Bible story, which makes a change.

Monster Finds Willy Bum Bum, the sort of title grown ups just don't make up. These from Edinburgh, Wiltshire & Birmingham. All other memes where you'd expect them.

I had fewer classes in the Autumn, so started to go to town on the colouring of the covers. And ain't they a treat. These from Ireland, Birmingham and Crawley. Not a Trump, a butt, a pig or a toilet to be seen.

And back they come. Butts, bananas, babies, these have it all. From Countesthorpe to the Isle of Wight.

Classic comic covers, probably the best of the year, from Suffolk, Crawley & Manchester. Very pleased with the Donald Duck (copied from my phone, don't get any ideas about my Disney drawing abilities) and that full colour long titled Vampire effort. Johnny Depp's Sausage is one of the biggest laughs in the current selection when shown to kids.

And the best colouring of the year, though I say so myself, on these from St Helens to Trowbridge.

These from Northumberland, 4 schools in 2 days, running the length of the A1.

Penultimate cluster of the year, from Glasgow. There's a subtle Trump on that first cover, and of course the last pig of the year on Posest Bacon.

So to the last school of the year, December the 22nd in Manchester. We have a computer game and a meme. Yes, they were Year 8s, how did you guess? One was clearly more inspiring to draw (and colour later) than the other.

170 front covers. A total number of days spent doing classes this year was 92 (some days produce one cover, not two), down on 2015's 117 and 2014's 120. A good year's classes, though it's good to have had more actual comic strip art to do, that paid the same. Here's to 2017 and whatever division of teaching-to-doing it might hold.

Kev F Sutherland, as well as writing and drawing for The Beano, Marvel, Doctor Who et al, runs Comic Art Masterclasses in schools, libraries and art centres - email for details, and follow him on Facebook and Twitter. View the promo video here

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