Thursday, 1 March 2018

"Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown..." et cetera...

How about some links to the first published Conan short story by Robert E Howard? I've reformatted the text into something on the smaller side of a trade paperback, and there's even a choice of font. Bembo is the standard for pretty much every pulp publication and mass market paperback. Garamond though has what are called text figures and they read nicer. This is actually quite a nice version of Garamond with the exception of a wonky z.

The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E Howard, Bembo font

The Phoenix on the Sword by Robert E Howard, Garamond font

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

I found a scan of a very old illustration, which has got me slightly puzzled. How did I get away with flogging this tat? I can't quite recall why but I've chosen to execute this in Conte pencil, which is the most dreadful medium in the world to draw with, scrapey and scratchy, with absolutely no consistency in line at all. And what's up with the hands, fingers long enough for you? I seem to be having a Jack Kirby moment there.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Les Dawson

Gay marriage--any gay married couples here tonight?

Gay marriage--does anyone else see a contradiction there.

I used to be gay--I mean married. The wife said to me, 'I've had enough, things are going to change around here'.

'Really--light of my life [ironic] what's wrong?'

'You're sexist' she said.

Me? [quietly with gesture to audience]

'You take me for granted and don't appreciate me'

I says to her 'We can work this out my precious, I know it seems as though some problems are insurmountable but together we can do anything'.

Then we had this little moment together, you know--she looked in my eyes, tearing up a little. I stood there all stoic--put my arm around her'.

Then I whisper to her, 'You've just have put that little extra effort into getting the sleeves on my shirts right'.

--should be a laugh here--

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Dunno if you've noticed...

A caricature from a few years ago, that didn't get submitted for publication.

...but after more than a few years of comparative rarity,  political caricatures have made an instant come back. In the UK we had a quite active tradition of occasionally biting, usually cruel satire that has suffered quite a bit from censorship and a circumspection that is understandable taken in the light of the French experience.

Private Eye our erstwhile most prominent organ in the field of satire, has been for a decade or so, occupied with the more cosy coffee table type of material. Slightly ironically,  the kind of material that used to be the source of such contempt from Private Eye when that form of humour was practiced by Punch. The Eye's still worth a read though because, ironically again, it's become Britain's last real newspaper.

This resurrection of a passed art form has arrived courtesy of one political figure, who by happy coincidence, not only shares his christian name with a prominent cartoon character, his surname also happens to be transposable with some onomatopoeia and--he has a ridiculous hair style. It's game on for the caricaturists I think.

BTW, no I didn't draw the above on soiled bogroll, it's chip paper marked with a ring from a mug of tea. If you want to submit cartoons for publication, my advice is that political caricatures are treated like breakfast at the captain's table, you have to be invited first. As such you only see that kind of caricature from established contributors, all other topics are fair game though.

Monday, 14 November 2016


I've been thinking these last few days, mulling solemn events of more than a little significance. Wondering if there's finally a chance that certain people will finally have to face up to some reality. Realistically I have to put the odds at no better than 1 in 10, and the odds that some justice will be administered even lower, at least though there's a chance now. I'm not talking about e-mail servers, I'm not talking about Syria or the fictional distinction between good insurgents and bad insurgents. I'm not even talking about Iraq, I'm talking about where it all began, the Balkans. So long ago now it seems more than a lifetime and for more than a few, it has been exactly that.

The Balkan conflict in the former Yugoslavia is significant because it's when we started lying to ourselves. It's point the marks the departure from partisan bias in the media and the transition to state serving propaganda. And you know what, it's been a fucking trial living with it but at least now, I have that extra bit of insight into what living under an autocratic regime feels like; even if my level of comfort and safety has been maintained far above the level of those burdened by such circumstance. That's the irony really, it was done in the name of my benefit and for those in other nations and yet would the twin towers still stand had the a certain foreign intelligence agency, not been busily doing business with individuals like Osama in the Balkans? Would I be able to travel across the Atlantic without getting my privates groped?

A cynic would say: hens coming to roost, I am a cynic but those words are too bitter and too callous for me and the implication is not true. Consequences follow inevitably but the price seems always to be enacted upon the innocent, men and women at work. Of course, none of us are so innocent any more, the taint of guilt runs deep, it marks the complacent and acquiescent in equal measure. It seems fitting that like those without conviction in a significant cause, we're left chasing flags of no meaning in purgatory, as our culture decays into paltry divisions.

Maybe there's a way out, I dunno I don't have a crystal ball but here's hoping.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Master and Commander

Even though it's a slightly bowdlerised adaptation, What a fantastic film Master and Commander (The Far Side of the World) is. Somehow this particular clip seems very appropriate today.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Light the blue touch paper and then retire,
Another choice is also to be found
I talk of a worm that crawls through the ground
Not the crow that surmounts the lofty spire.
There's so very little for to us admire
When thieves stake their claim 'pon hallowed ground.
Trouble follows soon and I'll be bound
There'll be just a few illusions to expire.

We've seen it all before, maybe though this time,
We should take break to ponder why
It will be that Donald or Goldman's bank
That drives that nation down to the tank.
Who'll be the 'man' to make dead pilgrims cry
Speak, have your say, soon that'll be a crime.