Wednesday 27 October 2010

Comics class kids meet The new Dandy

The new look Dandy came out today and I had the opportunity to show the first issue to the pupils in my Comic Art Masterclasses at Gosport Discovery Centre. Both groups were mixed ages, from 7 to adult, and I'm delighted to report that, firstly, I think the new Dandy is brilliant. It's all comic strip, and all the comic strips are god. It reminds me, more of anything, of Oink, the comic in which I began my career and which is fondly remembered by anyone who ever read it.

The kids, too, seemed impressed, and certainly Harry Hill as a cover star is a marvellous choice. Peppering the comic with other familiar TV faces, Cheryl Cole & Simon Cowell in particular, hits the target market's taste buds square on too.

To celebrate the launch day, I drew some of the characters on the flip chart, the kids responding well to the choices and my doodles:

The Dandy theme continued in the comics the groups produced in the classes. I drew Harry Hill on the front cover of the morning's comic, and in the afternoon group one enterprising artist created Harry Hill Gets Fit, a drawing and strip based on the Dandy designs:

I look forward to reporting back on the response to the Dandy from the chalkface over the coming weeks.

Kev F's Comic Art Masterclass

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Noel Edmonds comic appearance

Noel Edmonds appears in this week's Dandy. Just wanted to get my tuppence worth in and point out he appeared in the Beano earlier, in...?

... Hot Rod Cow The Movie. Here's the unlettered artwork. My original script refers to the character as Gnome Lemons, but that was changed to the less offensive No Lemons by the editor. There's also an appearance by be, a reference to the very brief stint I did as warm up comedian for Deal or No Deal, and a pic of Jon Ronson who mentioned me unfavourably in his report on a day in the studio, after which I wasn't doing warm up any more (unrelated, I'm sure).

This was part of a three week story that ran in the Beano in 2007.

Kev F Comic Art

Harry Hill's Dandy memories

Seeing the cover of the brand new Dandy comic, starring Harry Hill, about which I'm very excited and look forward to buying tomorrow, has reminded me of a comic from my own past. Here's Harry...

...and here's my own effort in the market, back in the day, back in the very very long ago day, a comic called UT. I know. Crazy name, crazy comic. It was an attempt to do a popular parody comic, pastiching popular TV shows & films. Like Mad magazine but funny, that was our pitch. The first issue looked like this:

We led with a parody of Inspector Morse (which gives you an idea how long ago this was, the earlier dummy had featured Twin Peaks) and subsequent parodies had Dennis The Menace in Nighmare On Elm Street 3D, Bread meets Alien 3, Saddam Hussein in The Addams Family, Dead Again, Cape Fear - it was 1991, you had to be there. Sadly, after a year, our brave attempt to shake up the humour market had flopped, but I still have fond memories of it.

It was seeing The Dandy filling its cover with comic versions of TV faces (Simon Cowell, Jeremy Clarkson & Noel Edmonds as well as Harry Hill) that reminded me. If UT were still going, that's who we'd have featured.

UT's Wikipedia page
Kev F's Comic Art Masterclasses

Sunday 24 October 2010

Bash St Kids Scary Story strip for Halloween

For Halloween, I have put online my Bash Street Kids adventure Scary Story, in its entirety for the first time (click the page and the strips will appear). Do please enjoy. If you like it, why not ask DC Thomson to let me collect them up in a book?

Click to see all 16 pages full size.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Another week, another 8 comics - Comic Art Masterclass

I've had a busy week of Comic Art Masterclasses in schools in Wakefield for three days, then Devon for a day. Every morning and afternoon a different group of school pupils has learnt the fine art of comics and produced a comic to take away. Their strips are inside, and they all contribute to the cover, the title of which they also devise.

Here are this week's 8 brand new comics:

The work of year 7, 8 & 9 pupils at Wakefield City High, year 9s at Crofton High Wakefield, year 5s at Ledger Lane Wakefield, year 6s at Altofts Juniors Wakefield, and two mixed groups of yr 3-6 and their parents at Tidcombe & Halberton primaries near Tiverton.

Kev F's Comic Art Masterclasses

Best Birthday cards ever

When you get to my age you tend to get a bit blase about birthdays. So it's all the more delightful to receive really lovely handmade cards that show thought & affection. Below are the cards by my neices Shona & Kirsty, age 8 & 6, and by my Mum, featuring a plastic sword that I'd left at the house on a recent visit. All 3 cards feature the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre, which are obviously popular with young and old. Thanks, my lovely family.

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Comic Art Masterclass comics by kids

As you probably know, I run my famous Kev F's Comic Art Masterclass in schools, libraries and art centres, travelling the country teaching kids the fine art of writing & drawing comics. By the end of a morning or afternoon with me they've produced a comic containing a strip by every single one of them and a caricature of each of them by me, we run it off on the photocopier & they each take a copy home. Together the class comes up with the title of the comic, I design the cover and they all add a drawing to it (did I mention we do all of this in a little over two hours).

It's rather popular, and seems to be a good thing both for the kids and for comics in general. Here are some of the front covers of comics my classes have produced in schools and libraries in the last few months...

Kev F's Comic Art Masterclasses

Sunday 17 October 2010

BICS report 2010

I made a fleeting and greatly enjoyable visit to BICS (Birmingham International Comics Show) this weekend, chatting to a handful of folks at Friday night's launch - good venue, good beer prices, we could hear ourselves talk, and I got a hotel room literally 100 paces from the bar - and on Saturday afternoon.

Although I didn't catch any talks, I managed to fill three or four hours of Saturday with solid comics talk around the tables.

The movie, Pulp, which had dressed one aisle of the dealer room as a film set, with fake comic artists sat behind fake comic displays, was a nice buzz. The chance for costumed fans and geeks to appear in an actual real life film is the sort of thing that would have made my head explode with excitement as a kid, and I hope the kids there felt the same.

I didn't see many kids there, ie under-18s, but I'm told that they were around and if so there was certainly more stuff for them than before. In particular the new titles from the DFC library, which will be going to the top of my list of recommended reading for schools (top of my Things-to-Find list were graphic novels & comics suitable for primary school kids, and Mo-Bot High and Monkey Nuts are perfect). Good talk with the Etheringtons about art classes in schools, they've been very proactive working with kids, doing the double of getting kids enthused about comics and (the bit I miss out on) then selling lots of books to them. Genius, more of that please.

Another very positive stand was Poot! comic. I was pretty sure I'd not seen Poot! since I was was working for the comics that shared a shelf with it in the early 90s (the Viz-alike titles Gas, Brain Damage, Zit, UT, remember them?). And I was right. The guys had run Poot as kids, folded it when the bubble burst in 1991, got proper jobs as accountants and the like and, last year, revived the comic for fun. And now, after a dozen issues, they have a distribution deal with Seymour, they've been accepted by WH Smith's travel outlets, and are currently selling 16,000 copies a month. On newsstands. I don't know about you, but I find that one of the most heartening stories in comics I've heard this year. An independent publisher is selling a comics magazine, printed on paper, in good old fashioned newsagents, and people are buying it.

Their starting point was simply looking at the shelves, seeing that Viz was the only funny comic there, identifying a hole in the market, and filling it. They're not making a fortune, but they are paying their contributors, breaking even, and enjoying themselves creating and publishing comic strips. If others could replicate this success I'd be delighted, and I get the feeling it's possible.

With these stories, and the tables of exciting looking new comics and art - I loved the manga style pictures drawn on sheets of cardboard and selling at a tenner each, a genius mix of comics and art, I love the guy who etches classic comic covers into sheets of copper and sells them as book covers, and I adore poring through Phil Clarke's pages of 1960s and 1970s comic art by everyone from John Burns and Don Lawrence to Joe Colqhuhoun and Jesus Blasco. Of course I never buy any, but I like to know it's there.

So, a fab time, and I'm sorry I had to rush away so soon. Did I miss something good on Saturday night? And are we all having fun with Jonathan Ross today? Let me know.

Anyone else have BICS thoughts, and did we all come away as re-enthused about comics as I did?

Kev F

Thursday 14 October 2010

The Socks on Ai Weiwei at Tate Modern

To prove they can be serious and look properly at art, The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre review Ai Weiwei's new installation at Tate Modern.

Saturday 2 October 2010

John Cage's 4'33" for Christmas Number One - Scottish Falsetto Socks tribute

The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre join the campaign to get John Cage's 4'33" to the Christmas Number One, with this their cover version of the track.

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