The little bear from Darkest Peru has, this month,
And to celebrate, there have been lots
of articles about the fellow
and his creator Michael Bond. Paddington has
popped up all over the
place of late. He's starred in that campaign
for Marmite, he's
been granted his very own range of figures
by the folks at
Robert Harrop (on sale at
Boojog), and best of all, an
all-new Paddington book has just been published...
Here and Now our ever-young immigrant must
finally decide once and for all where his "home"
really is - which
sounds jolly relevant and topical,eh?
Of course, on the back of those books we had
You know, the
FilmFair version, with our stop-motion star truffling
his nose at the 2D cut-outs around him, as
the late Sir Michael
Hordern narrates. The series first launched
over 30 years ago,.
would you believe? - My, how time flies...
And my, how Paddington
continues to beguile and delight...
big curves (29.05.08)
And so we bid
farewell to artist Beryl Cook, who passed away
peacefully yesterday, 28th May, aged 81.Self-taught and simply
wonderful, Beryl is most often referred to
as being famous for
painting big curvy women full of fun and laughter
- usually erring
on the saucy side. And it's true her girls have
the same seaside
appeal as the likes of Donald McGill...But more than that... If you
take the time to explore her world, there's
just something about
those girls, and the pubs and working men's
clubs they frequent.
Yes, there's that hen night joie de vivre. But
alongside it, there's...
something melancholic about their situation... and
These gals are going to have a raunchy, good
Of course, it was inevitable that Cook's
curvy characters would
get the animated treatment some day. Thus we had "Bosom
two cracking films which debuted on BBC1 in January
gals and guys from Beryl's paintings were brought
to life by Ginger
Gibbons and Grand
Slamm, working for the folks at Tiger
And they went on to win a Grand Prix at Annecy.
films have yet to be released on DVD, which is
shame, because the
productions really do capture the essence
work in motion...
Well, you must have heard the news by now. There's
a big, brash
British comic weekly in town, as of this month.
It's called The DFC,
and it's the brainchild of David Fickling,
who loans his name to a rather
successful publishing division for Random
House books. And
those are his initals in the comic's title,
Mr Fickling certainly has an eye for a good
book (here's a great
they publish). So we can be pretty certain
he knows what makes
a good comic. The talent he's roped in for
the project includes
the likes of genius author Philip Pullman,
John Aggs, Dave Shelton,
James Shelton, Kate Brown, and the remarkable
Now the even bigger thing about this top new
weekly is the fact that
it's subscription only. That's right. The
DFC is not for sale in stores.
And that's a huge gamble, given that it won't
be accruing casual
readers via the likes of WH Smith, and that
costs will put it out of Pocket Money reach.
But the trade-off
presumably means they can print to subscription
there's no need for advertising within those weekly
So will The DFC hit a Home Run? Who knows!
But its launch is most
certainly very welcome round these parts.
Weekly fun comics have
become something of a dying breed in recent
years. Although the
genre isn't quite as dead as The DFC's publicity
wagon would have
us believe. Indeed, they incorrectly assert
that this comic is the
first new title on the scene in the last 25
years. But we'll forgive
'em that slip, because elsewhere, they've
worked wonders. There
was a big launch party for the comic on May
15th, which The Hound
was unable to attend... Not that he's miffed,
of course... It was only
a party, after all... Er-hum... Anyway, ever
since, David Fickling's
name has been slapped across the media left, right
and centre -
both online, in print and on the radio. You can't deny,
out all the stops to make the launch a success...
You can spin by the official site here.
And if you like what you
see, and what's on offer in future issues,
then you can subscribe.
Er, at once.. and all that...
May is shaping up to be a big, big month for British
we have the London launch party for a super
new fun comic for kids,
which The Hound has been invited to attend..
but alas... this dawg is
pinned down to his attic-come-kennel in north-east
no hope of a reprieve...
So instead, let's turn our attention to another
newcomer. It's an
anthology comic aimed at an older audience, published
Comics and called - er - "Bulletproof".
Now the thing about "Bulletproof"
is this: it features work from a
real mixture of British talent, some new,
some well established.
And there's 80 pages - or 10 strips - for
us to peruse, for just £2.50.
It's been printed in US comic format, and it makes
no bones about
the fact that it's reaching out for action
fans and folks who like
their thrillers with a bizarre British bent.
So amongst the strips
we get a masked vigilante called Redstitch,
superbeing known as Occultus, and - er - two mushroom-shaped
Funguys visiting theTwelve Disciples... Well, okay...
So it's out there,
and very much hit-and-miss, and therefore not to
But, darn it, it's a new and hopefully regular
comic anthology which
may well unearth some great new comic talent.
And to that end, Bulletproof are also reaching
out to new talent
online as well as in print, thanks to
Showcase. It's like
an online advertising board where comics creators
themselves. And the best bit is, submissions are
free. With luck,
new talent will make a splash on the boards
before moving on to
the anthology and a high-flying comic career!
"Bulletproof" #1 can be purchased
right now, from your local
comic shop, or online direct
from the publishers. There's also
a b/w sampler-stroke-preview available - "Bulletproof"
#0 - for
collectors to hoard...
There. I've said it. And I mean it. And I think
it's because it's
something of an underdog series, really. Bob
has been building
worldwide domination, Pat has been posting
success all over
the place, and Fifi has been growing and growing
But chugging steadily along all the while,
behind those high-profile
creations has been Stan, and Little Red, and all
the jolly folks
Keith Littler, Russell Haigh and the folks
at that Little Entertainment
Company have invested so much thought and
care and attention into
this toon. Mr Jones, Walter, and Mr Turvey
are masterful. They're mad
as hatters, but they're not just caricatures. They
have so much depth
to them. And as Stumpy - dear old Stumpy!
- the muttonchopped yokel
with a penchant for knitted sweaters... well...
his relationship with Elsie
is just wonderful... These two riff off each other
so beautifully... They
have that certain kind of chemistry you only find
in folks who've been
married a long, long time. Oh sure, they mutter
and mumble and moan
to one another, they chastise and tease, but
underneath it all, in every
word and gesture you can see how much they
love each other...
Goodness. Such depth. In a preschool cartoon!
Preschool be darned. Little Red Tractor gives
as much pleasure to the
watching adults as it does to the littl'uns. You
know, folks often ask if
today's tv world has room for an updated version
of Trumpton or
Camberwick Green. They joke about the things that may
happened to those countrified folks in the intervening years.
Well, maybe it would look a little like Babblebrook.
And speaking of the "look", the
Babblebrook environment is supremely
realised. There's so much detail on offer, from
the tiny textures of the
corduroy on Mr Jones' clothes, right up to the
way the landscape
itself is lit, and sky is so - erm - weathered...
So why the rave now? Well, there's a new DVD
out this Summer. Little
Red Tractor: One Potato, Two Potato...
Revelation on 21st July, and a preview copy plopped
letterbox the other day. It brings us stories
about a storm, Mr Turvey's
wayward rowboat, Mr Jones' hot air balloon, and
the annual Babblebrook
Potato Race - the latter of which is a splendid
example of the sort of
character banter and bustle which makes this not-so
little series so
very special indeed, and means that The Hound
has got on his
soapbox straight away to crow about this top
And if you still need convincing, well, there's
a moment during the
episode "Row Yer Boat" where this
viewer found himself looking at the
rain spattering off a corrugated roof. Yes,
rain. Spattering. But the way in
which it was realised... It was spattering
off one particular edge and
pooling close to Stan and Stumpy and Little
Red as they bantered...
Darn it. I love this series...
on One (14.05.08)
Igor, this is late...
But it's time to celebrate...
'Cos Nine's being run... on BBC1... Isn't that news just great?
Alright, alright, enough with the dodgy verse.
Let's just make
the announcement. "Frankenstein's Cat"
premiered on the CBBC
Channel, back in February. However the show is
shown terrestrially for the first time. It's
on BBC1 every weekday
afternoon at 3.55 pm. The run actually started
12th May, but The Hound was a little late catching
with the news...
Goodness, these are coming like buses now. Commercials,
Or to be more specific, Thunderbirds commercials.
Virgil Tracy was seen outwitting The Hood
in an advert for Specsavers.
And now - ladies and gentleman - witness the wonder,
of Brains... drenching
himself... and getting his groove on...
This is in fact an ad for Drench, a bottled
mineral water drink
from Britvic, and the film makers use
some super-sly puppet
work to get Brains into gear. Is there some CGI
in there too?
Well, however it was achieved, we know for
sure it was
directed by Ringan Ledwidge, a founding partner
at production company Rattling
Stick, who've been responsible
for a whole lot of advertising goodness in
Meow! - It seems the judges at this year's
Cartoons on the
really did love Frankenstein's
Cat to bits, 'cos they've just given him
a very desirable prize in the form of the Pulcinella
for Best Childrens
Show 2008. The festival took place in Salerno
last week, and prizes
were handed out last Saturday (April
12th). Series creator Curtis
Jobling and producer Jackie Edwards were on hand to
their handsome award. And the reasoning behind
the win is
"For presenting a unique and gloriously
quirky fast-paced, funny tale..."
Hmm. Couldn't have put it better myself. "Frankenstein's
Cat" now joins
a rather illustrious Hall of Fame which includes
the likes of Charlie and Lola
(Best Series for Infants 2007), The
(Best Series for All Ages 2006), Peppa
Pig (Best Series for Infants
2005), and "Creature Comforts" (Best
European Programme 2004).
Say... Is that a pattern emerging? We've
had wins every year for
British toon series of late. Let's hope it
Oh, and before we wrap up this news item,
let's also give Matthew Walker
a round of applause, because his 3min film "John and Karen"
won the Best Short Film award at the same festival. (John
is a polar
bear seeking reconciliation with his penguin friend
So Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds puppets have returned
to UK screens
via a commercial for Specsavers:
The ad's been directed by Tobias Fouracre
at Tandem Films.
a fine bit of fun. And the return of International
Rescue has merited
much media coverage, with folks getting oh-so excited
for the advert's
retro feel. Wouldn't it be great if they could
bring back the puppets for
real. You know, like in an all-new tv
But of course, as regular readers here will
know, rights holders Carlton Intl
considered doing just that very thing, a few
years back. They even
commissioned an action-packed promo, to see how
such a thing might look
nowadays, and lots of folks (The Hound included)
got rather excited about
the prospect... Only they got cold feet...
They reconsidered the budget...
Would folks really be that interested in a
puppet show nowadays?.. And
whilst they dithered, Working Title got the
greenlight to make a certain
live-action feature film that threw any potential
new show out with the
bathwater... And in the interim period, Matt
Stone and Trey Parker have
shown us just how much fun they could have
with puppets on a mission...
And Gerry Anderson himself has taken a
brave and brilliant stab at a
different kind of return...
And so the circle turns... the debate continues...
will those Thunderbirds
really ever return, as puppets, or in CGI,
or anything else inbetween?
Time to fanfare a couple of upcoming cartooning
and comic events
which you simply shouldn't miss:
First up, Matt
Buck has been in touch to tell us about the forthcoming Shrewsbury
International Cartoon Festival. Matt's part of the PCO
(that's the Professional Cartoonists organisation)
and he's keen to
expound on the event which takes place 18th
- 20th April in and
around the heart of Shrewsbury. Apparently,
some 40 professional
artists from around the UK will be converging
on the place. There'll
be a talk from Steve
Bell, workshops with Andy Gilbert, Angela
Martin and Tim Harries, Cath Tate of Cath
Tate Cards wants to tell
us how to get published, plus a host of top
toonsters will be drawing
live in The Square. On top of that, there
are a bunch of exhibitions,
and far too many chances to meet and greet
the artists about town.
line-up sounds fabulous, with Shrewsbury being virtually
over-run with cartoons and cartoonists for
And then... well... it's the biggie... It's
the Bristol International Comic
Expo on 9th - 11th May. This one will see the exhibition halls
overflowing with comics, comic artists and
events. Guests this year
are set to include Jim Shooter, Yanick Paquette,
Dave Gibbons, Alan Davis, Bryan Talbot Walt Simonson,
Mike Ploog, Duncan Fegredo, and - well - take
a look at the line-up
yourself. It's a giddy mixture of comic stars
from both sides of the Pond.
Plus you'll have dealers and exhibitors galore,
and topping the bill,
the presentation of this year's super shiny
as voted for
by us, the comics fans.And frankly,
if you call yourself any kind of
comics fan, you ought to be making a bee-line for
the British Empire
& Commonwealth Exhibition Hall and the Ramada
200 at last! (12.11.07)
This time last year, The Hound was celebrating
the imminent arrival of
a very jolly milestone. He was closing in
rapidly on the big 200. That is
to say, the 200th animated series to have
entered the TvToons index.
He had his streamers and party poppers at
the ready... The cake was
in the oven...
then, fate intervened. 2007 has been a ridiculously busy year.
I've been pulled everywhichway, offline and
on, and the amount of new
additions to the various indexes have slowed
to a mere trickle of late...
But finally, twelve months later than planned.
We've done it. We've hit
that double century, courtesy of Roger Hargreaves
and those fantastic Little Miss,
who joined the site this week. And it's rather apt because,
Mr Hargreaves was a masive influence on this
dawg's formative years.
His Mr Men books were my first love when I
was five, and their
elegant simplicity encouraged me to pick up
a pen for myself and
get drawing... Why, those are just felt pen
drawings.. I could do
what he did... Easy-peasy...
But of course, that's the beauty of the Mr
Men. They are, in fact,
defiantly sophisticated. Oh for sure, my young
hand could draw a
big wobbly shape, colour it purple and call
it "Mr Greedy". But
Mr Hargreaves' original had such splendid
control to it. A perfect
smile... dinky little fingers on the tummy...
I spent a whole Summer
drawing Mr Men over and over, but they were
never as good as
those originals.... and maybe I'm not alone, given
the furore that's
been building over "The Mr Men Show"!
let's not get mired in that debate. Instead, let's celebrate
that 200th addition to the index. Of course,
there are still plenty of
missing shows - Roger Hargreaves' "Timbuctoo"
amongst them -
but you can bet the index will keep growing,
slowly but surely.
As long as they keep makin' them, Toonhound
will keep on