a century of silent helpers: part one

Posted in comics, news, other by Tom on May 21st, 2014

The first part of a 50 page, interactive comic about development aid (drawn by me) is now online here. A dutch version can be found here. The comic was written and researched by Tjeerd Royaards.

This was the comic I mentioned at the start of the year here.

I’m starting work on Part 4 of the comic next week. I think the chapters are going online monthly, but I might have that wrong.


in the frame – cut out and dress your own

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on May 19th, 2014

72. Cut Out & Dress Your Own Internet Misogynist

This is partly in response to the debate over the gender diversity in the new Star Wars films after this photo landed. It’s also a response to the way people reacted to this critique of a icky male gazey comic cover. It’s also a response to the sort of online abuse women like Laurie Penny or Lena Dunham receive that other male journalists or showrunners in their position don’t.

I enjoyed playing with the “cut out and keep” conceit a lot.


in the frame – noah’s admin error

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on May 9th, 2014

71. Noah’s Admin Error

I haven’t seen Aronofsky’s Noah. I hear it’s pretty bizarre so it was fun to imagine a more mundane deleted scene.

I like the suggestion in this that Farage is a centuries old, biblical immortal keeping opportunistic bigotry alive.


in the frame – putin’s room

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on May 2nd, 2014

70. Putin’s Room

There’s mixed opinions about the effectiveness of sanctions. I know the latter stages, like the third, are pretty hard on the economic stability of the country it targets. But it always ¬†comes across like grounding a teenager: a temporary measure that can be ignored or worked around if one is resourceful.

I think my editor and I were sold on this idea when I wrote the line “I sanction your face!”.


bullying illustrations

Posted in illustrations, news by Tom on April 30th, 2014

A couple of illustrations I produced for Butch & Sundance Media last week. The images are for a short movie/training programme for aspiring teenage journalists. I was asked to illustrate a couple of scenes about bullying.


in the frame – isolationist england

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on April 17th, 2014

69. Isolationist England

This was for the Easter special so it had to be filed a few days ahead of schedule as these double issues go to print early. The comic had to be non time-sensitive. Not least because this issue stays on the shelves for two weeks instead of one.

I liked the idea of doing a twisted propaganda poster for holidaying in England. With a vintage, idyllic 1940s/50s setting that had darker things going on. It felt right to do it for an issue that might be read on planes/trains/automobiles while people visit family or go on holiday. I think I could have been more experimental with the illustration style and made it look even more like a classic 50s illustration but I’ll bear that in mind for next time.


in the frame – the smog

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on April 11th, 2014

68. The Smog

I tried my best to evoke a John Carpenter vibe to this one. I watched lots of old 1970’s horror trailers (beyond the obvious The Fog which this is riffing on) to make sure this struck the right tone. Was fun to revisit Edgar Wright’s Grindhouse trailer Don’t. Such a perfect pastiche of those sort of trailers. I had written a slightly more righteous and serious piece about air pollution in the UK for this, but my editor correctly steered me in a lighter direction. New Statesman editors: Saving me from myself since 2012.


in the frame – ad break

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on April 4th, 2014

67. Ad Break

The idea of UK politics based toys tickles me. I find the coverage of the Clegg vs. Farage debates so overwhelmingly OTT that it feels like we’re meant to expect a real, genuine showdown of great import. A boxing match for the ages. Interviews with the two politicians before and after the debates come across like WWF trash-talking VT footage without the fun. We’re told to expect serious issues discussed with serious words and serious intent. Instead, we get the usual, bland, soundbitey¬†distractions.


in the frame – fair and balanced

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 28th, 2014

66. Fair and Balanced

The faux-balance we’re often presented with on the news can be really irksome. Just give me an actual, well-informed expert with facts – I don’t need a counter-point from someone with an opinion. I use Twitter. The need for the BBC to present an impartial, unbiased image can end up leaving a casual viewer less informed than they started out. I was reminded of my feelings about this when Owen Jones wrote this piece about the right-wing bias at the BBC.

A nice coincidence – I only realised after the fact that I was drawing a Lovecraftian tribute during Hellboy’s 20th anniversary. Seems fitting.


in the frame – in moratorium

Posted in comics, in the frame, news by Tom on March 21st, 2014

65. In Moratorium

When the word “divisive” got trotted out as the Tactful Understatement of the Year when the media marked the passing of Thatcher, that word took a bit of a beating. It got used a lot last week too – when people were talking about Tony Benn. So much so that it started to lose it’s meaning. There’s often a “word/phrase of the week” (remember when we didn’t know what ‘quantitative¬†easing’ meant?). So I started thinking about what happens to those forgotten, overused and/or misused expressions…

After I’d filed the comic, ‘Selfie’ ended up having a pretty huge media week with the No Make-Up cancer awareness campaign. Making those final panels a little more prescient than I expected.