Bumper Summer special this week – a double-sized New Statesman for your holiday reading pleasure – with a suitably themed, non-time sensitive comic to go in it. Had fun drawing this one and trying to mimic book cover designs.
The double issue means there won’t be a New Statesman next week so there won’t be a comic either. Next one in two weeks. But… if you’re itching for more of my comics – I’ve redesigned my website and added a load of recent work to it: check it out here.
The Planet of the Apes film franchise is very good at satirising some of the worst aspects of human nature and our capacity to destroy ourselves. I thought, with the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes out, it might be fun to see the apes using social cleansing tactics against the status quo. Possible pitch for the next movie.
I originally wanted to have a full-on Wicker Man meets Kill List meets Eyes Wide Shut pagan party happening. Maybe some resurrection ritual for Thatcher taking place while a journalist calling for lobbying transparency is being burned inside a wicker effigy. Y’know… that sort of thing. But we toned it down in the end. In case you missed it, here’s a link to the original story.
I originally had a Google-Glass-at-Glastonbury concept for this comic but a week late comic about Glastonbury was just a little too tardy, even for me.
I liked the idea of addressing a few bits of recent news/events (Boris buying the water cannons, Wimbledon, Suarez etc.) alongside some general observations about British summer using the same visual conceit.
Part one is online here if you missed it.
I’m starting work on Part 5 of the comic this week. Part 3 should be online next month.
With the World Cup, and now Wimbledon, there’s a lot of sports commentary and punditry wallpapering the TV landscape. I find having it on the background while I work oddly comforting. Having listened to so much of it, I thought I’d try and put it to good use for this week’s comic.
The parallel between sports punditry and some of the worst political analysis isn’t too far off though. After a while, it’s all just inside-baseball. A littany of abstract stats or needless speculation designed to fill the minutes between something substantive happening. Comforting background white noise.
Those despicable anti-homeless spikes that appeared last week were just another example of what’s being called “hostile architecture“. We’ve got bus stops with slopes that barely prop you up, benches that are designed to prevent skateboarding or lying down, and all sorts of nasty additions to public (or what should be public) spaces. It’s got horrible dehumanising, dystopian overtones and it makes me really angry.
The unspoken joke of the comic is that if we had teleportation technology like that it’d a) definitely not be used for good and instead used for something like this and b) probably cost a fortune. A fortune that could be spent on solving problems that contribute to homelessness and poverty, rather than forcing it to hide further under the carpet.
Network’s one of those films that feels more prescient with each passing year. It’s one of my favourite screenplays. If you haven’t seen it (you should – it’s definitely worth a couple of hours of your life) here’s the relevant scene.
I think the idea for this started as a thought about the stereotypical British knack for grumbling and complaining. Which led to thinking about the way most of us deal with bad or worrying political news – sharing social media links, clicking on petitions, or making sarcastic comics. But so few of us get involved beyond that. Having said that, this made me smile.
I had a thought about diving into a politician’s mind as a tourist and not being able to stick it out for long without going mad. It eventually turned into this. It’s also a bit of a play on the kind of political cartoons that I find a little obvious – the label-every-metaphor-and-object approach that crop up for gag panels – and taking it in a weird, twisted direction. Nice excuse to experiment with bright, saturated colour schemes and strange habitats too.