Thursday 25 February 2016

Panel 30: Rock & Pop by Tim Bird @T_J_Bird

In my more naive moments, I like to think I'm in charge of this blog.

Fact is, this blog is the boss o' me.

Just yesterday I blogged about Mr Punch at the National Gallery and I was going to sit back for a week or two to let that one percolate. After that I was finally going to get around to a post on Wonder Woman in London. And then there are two totally fantastic new shows at The Cartoon Museum & The House of Illustration to review. On top of that I've got a thing-or-two to blog about Gillray AND The Simpsons.

Big plans.

And then I went to Orbital Comics on Wednesday and was blown completely off course when I bought this…

… my New Favourite Comic.

Rock and Pop by Tim Bird is about the how the commonplace is rendered elegiac by the presence of music.

It has my very favourite things in it: cartoons, music, London and, best of all, daughters.

For anyone who has ever loved a song, this lovely musical autobiography will strike a chord. I read it on the Northern Line yesterday and when I got off the train at Moorgate I immediately sat down on the platform and read it all over again.

It also features my local record shop Alan's Records in East Finchley!

And that's the location I've added to this Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London


You can buy Rock & Pop and all of Tim Bird's other comic creations at his website

COMING SOON ON THE CARTOON & COMIC BOOK TOUR OF LONDON… Wonder Woman moves to The Big Smoke and TWO excellent shows at The Cartoon Museum & The House of Illustration.

The original Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London posts first appeared on The Daily Constitutional

What's your fave cartoon? Drop me a line or Tweet @AdamScottG

Panel 29: Mr Punch at The @NationalGallery

Daily Constitutional editor Adam continues his Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London

Panel 29: Mr. Punch At The National Gallery

I'm almost 30 panels in to my Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London, and so far I've only glanced in the direction of Punch magazine.

Punch – Or The London Charivari was the leading satirical magazine in Britain from 1841 right up to the 1960s when the spikier Private Eye challenged its supremacy. Punch continued publication right up to 1992. A revamp lasted only from 1996 to 2002.

Punch has made cameo appearances in this blog – in my post on the great George Du Maurier HERE and later in the Christmas Special on Henry Cole HERE.

I will return to Punch – both in a dedicated post and as a reference point in future panels – later in the series.

But in the meantime it's a handsome portrait of Mr Punch himself at no less august an institution as The National Gallery.

Despite its prominence in the country's most prominent gallery – it is one of the first pieces on display upon entering the National – you may not have noticed it before. But it's almost certain that you have stomped all over it.

On the landings in the staircase from the main entrance - up the steps from Trafalgar Square and through the portico – there are some fabulous mosaics, the work of Boris Anrep laid in 1933 and 1952. Russian-born (1883 - 1969) his work can also be seen at The Bank of England and at Westminster Cathedral.

On the landing at the National Gallery we have four of his works –  The Labours of Life (1928), The Pleasures of Life (1929), Awakening of the Muses (1933) and Modern Virtues (1952).

These eccentric pieces feature Londoners famous and not-so famous in the roles of the allegorical figures – a Covent Garden porter, for example, represents Commerce, while Greta Garbo stars as Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy.

In Modern Virtues the cultural,  artistic and intellectual life of Britain is celebrated. Churchill is seen fighting off a swastika-shaped demon. And it is nearby that we find Mr. Punch.

Mr. Punch is there to represent humour…

… with Britannia represented by Lady Diana Cooper (1892 - 1996) - writer, actress, society beauty. Britannia is clutching a copy of Who's Who - a joke that keeps on giving, this: Britons then were as obsessed with toffs as they are enamoured with celebs today.

In the mosaic Britannia is seen placing a crown upon Mr. Punch's topper. The lovely suggestion here is that humour is king among the modern British virtues

Oh, I do hope so.

The National Gallery can be found in Trafalgar Square. It seems almost insulting to post a map, but here we go…

… and remember to look DOWN!

COMING SOON ON THE CARTOON & COMIC BOOK TOUR OF LONDON… Wonder Woman moves to The Big Smoke and TWO excellent shows at The Cartoon Museum & The House of Illustration.

This post first appeared on The Daily Constitutional

What's your fave cartoon? Drop me a line or Tweet @AdamScottG

Monday 1 February 2016

Panel No.28: Cry Havoc

SNEAK PREVIEW EXCLUSIVE! The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour Of London blog usually appears as a series on The Daily Constitutional(the London Walks blog) and is then collated here on this standalone blog. But for Panel 28 I'm breaking with tradition for an outstanding new London-set comic book Cry Havoc.

For a post on how the Cartoon & Comic Book London blog first came about, click HERE.

Thanks for reading!

ASG London, 1st Feb 2016


Daily Constitutional editor Adam continues his Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London

Panel 28: Cry Havoc

This Cartoon & Comic Book London blog sometimes takes on a life of its own. Time after time I sit down to blog about one subject only for another to elbow its way in and take over.

"Events, dear boy, events," to borrow from the quote often attributed to former Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.

(MacMillan was on my mind as I've been making notes for a post on political cartoons in readiness for the mayoral election later this year. The idea of Prime Minister as failed superhero starts in the UK with MacMillan in 1958, from the pen of London Evening Standard cartoonist Vicky

I'll be back to both Mac and Vicky at a later date.)

The post originally intended for this slot featured what is rapidly becoming a running theme in this series – Big Ben.

The world's most famous clock has chimed in on no less than EIGHT different cartoons/comic books so far – Deadpool & SpidermanThe Fantastic FourScooby Doo, three different Disney films and Kieron Gillen's Über.

The clock was due to strike nine in my assessment of the view from Diana Prince's new flat – she seems to have moved into County Hall, SE1…

… in DC's Wonder Woman The New 52 (visit the DC website HERE or pick up a copy at Orbital Comics on Great Newport Street WC2).

Yup, Wonder Woman's a Londoner now. I wonder if she pays the Congestion Charge in her invisible plane or if she just tosses the fines in the bin like the American ambassador?

Anyhoo… I'm holding the Wonder Woman post over until a later date but although the post has changed, the clock remains the same.


There it is again, ol' Big Ben

… on the cover of the outstanding new book Cry Havoc written by Simon Spurrier and drawn by Ryan Kelly. (Variant cover shown is by Cameron Stewart).

It's unfair to pass judgement after just one issue, but on the evidence here we're in for a white-knuckle ride with Cry Havoc.

This first episode is a fireworks display of great storytellingliterary and mythology references and exceptionally strong artwork. A particular nod goes to the colourists - Nick FilardiLee Loughridge and Matt Wilson. With the tale unfolding along three separate strands, each colourist creates a unique feel in their particular storyline.

The title refs Shakespeare; it is part set in London. It's got music in it (and a serious contender for the best comic book band name of all time – The Squids of Forbearance!). The narrative features supernatural creatures and the fantastic line, "I think I got mugged by a werewolf". AND there's a black ops mercenary mission behind the lines in Afghanistan.

Seriously. What's not to like?

Cry Havoc has particular resonance for this blogger as it features a location from one of my London Walks walking tours – Ghosts of the Old City. More, it features a direct reference to one of the London legends explored on the tour, that of the Black Dog of Newgate Prison.

I've visited the Old Bailey, on the site of Newgate prison, before in this series (in Panel No.14V For Vendetta) and that location features prominently in issue one of Cry Havoc. Artist Ryan Kelly has made some excellent choices in terms of angles on this famous London landmark. Big Ben doesn't make it into the narrative this time, but is deployed as an excellent setting device on the variant cover and London Zoo features, too.

But the London location I've chosen from issue one is Dalston.

Our contemporary comic book writers and artists are really putting our less glamourous neighbourhoods on the map (see earlier post, Panel No.10 on Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's The Wicked + The Divine set in Brockley).

Here's Dalston's debut in Cry Havoc, I'm loving the hipster gag…

… and Spurrier also adds some pithy comments about gentrification in his annotations.

Issue One is hanseled by a quote from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. And just like Conrad's tale, Cry Havoc opens in a seemingly familiar, almost reassuring London, only to quickly unfold into an unsettling, and thoroughly engrossing world of imagination.

We Londoners are spoiled at the moment for great London-set comics – the aforementioned WikDiv, the adaptation of Rivers of London and Metroland to name but three. 

Taxi to Metropolis? Gotham City? At this time o' night, guv'nor? You're 'avin a laugh, intcha? Cry Havoc is yet another reason to never leave London. Can't wait for issue 2.

Issue 2 of Cry Havoc is out in February, published by Image Comics.

*This post will go out on the Daily Constitutional on the 2nd February 2016

Coming soon on The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London… Vicky, Wonder Woman, Gillray and Comix Creatrix at the House of Illustration.