So what does The Hound have to say? - Well,
I grew up in the 70's,
and although I wasn't a regular reader of
the weekly editions (I was
boy, after all), there was nearly always a Beano Annual
waiting for me on Christmas morning. Baby-Face
Finlayson, Billy Whizz,
Billy the Cat, The McTickles, Little Plum,
Roger the Dodger, Grandpa
and the rest. Each of these strips was rock
solid, beautifully executed
and presented in three-colour glory. I've
returned to those annuals
again and again over the years to admire the
craftsmanship that went
into them. I turned 40 this year - my own landmark
date - and they're still
with me, next to my computer, on myreference
shelf. Old friends who've
been with me for the best part of my four
decades on this earth.
Wow. Four decades for me, seven for The Beano.
I think that's what's
so remarkable about the comic reaching this milestone
Beano has become part of the very fabric of
It's not just a comic anymore. The world
turns.. we've been to war,
we've protested, we've grappled with the markets,
we've gone global,
we've wi-fied... and all along, The Beano
has been there... A great
many of us might never have even have read
it, but we all know it's
there each week, on the newsagents' shelves...
It's forever in the
background of our lives... like our favourite pub...
Ewing is a fabulous comic artist-stroke-illustrator who works
in the ligne claire clear line art
style, as perfected on the continent
by Hergé and his ilk. Now, fans of The
DFC - the new subscription
weekly which launched at the end of May - are soon
to be treated
to Garen's latest strip creation "Charlie
Jefferson and the Tomb of
Nazaleod", which makes that comic a must-have...
But whilst we're waiting for Charlie to arrive,
Garen's been playing
a terrific daily game on his
Facebook pages. He's been undertaking
an A-Z of comic characters, as chosen by us
- the folks who visit.
It's not a competition, and there are no prizes.
But jolly visitors get
the chance to choose what the maestro draws
each day, and that's
a top prize in itself.
The rules are simple. Each day, we move on
to the next letter of
the alphabet. Folks post the name of a relevant
they'd like him to draw, and the one with the most
Garen's using the game as a way of limbering
up each morning.
It's his way to get the old creative juices
flowing. And the end
results? - well - so far we've been presented
with his unique
representations of Axel Pressbutton, Billy
the Cat, Captain
Haddock, Dan Dare, Elektra, Faceache, Gaston
Hobbes (as in Calvin & Hobbes) and Iron
Man. Now that's
a varied bunch, eh? And it's bound to get
even more varied,
as more and more folks join in the voting
Oh, and if you're looking for a more solid
reason to participate,
you might like to know that Garen's going
to be donating all the
original drawings to the
Caption auction, which takes place in
Oxford on 9th August. Any proceeds go to the Caption
is a fun game from one of Britain's brightest artists. How bright
is this man? Well, he's finally got a publishing
deal together for
his long-gestating wonder "The Rainbow
Orchid". But that
news needs a separate headline here, in order
to give the strip
and its creator the proper fanfare they deserve. "The
has been on Garen's drawing board for far
too long. It is, frankly, a
masterpiece-in-waiting... Oh, but look at
me... Already too excited...
Heh... Calm down, Mr Hound, calm down...
A watercolour by Beatrix Potter has just been
auctioned off at Sotheby's
for a record-busting sum. "The Rabbit's
Christmas Party" was painted
in the 1890s, and like its title says, it
depicts several rabbits getting
aquainted at a seasonal gathering. It was
one of a selection of
Beatrix's works previously owned by her brother,
The picture had a catalogue estimate of between
£40,000 - £60,000.
But in the end, the hammer went down
at a whopping £289,250.
And that makes it he most expensive book illustration
sold at auction!
October's mellow yellow headline? Sooty, Sweep and
Soo had been put up for sale by their
owners, Bridgefilms/HIT Entertainment.
Apparently, the fellow just didn't have enough
to offer such a mega-size
licensing firm - bless 'im.
But us Sooty fans need fear no more, because
deal has now been
struck, and he's about to get izzy, wizzy and busy
with none other than
his most recent human stage friend, Richard
Caddell. Richard's been
appearing alongside Sooty for the last decade,
having taken over the
role from Matthew Corbett, and now he's teamed
up with his brother
to purchse the rights for something approaching £1M.
And he's got
lots of plans for our favourite puppet pal. Which
is super news
indeed, because it means that 50 year old Sooty
be with us for many years to come...
Oh, yes. Look what's turned up on YouTube. It's
that "Bottle Organ"
episode from the new series of "Summerton
Mill" (as raved about,
back in February).
Mill is just a sublime series. And it kind of defies
categorisation, in the way that it reaches
out to everyone, big and
small, old or young. And at the end of the
day, nothing really happens.
Well, not a big round story as such. Instead we're
invited in to the
valley to watch little moments in the lives
of Dan, Fluffa, and Dr Naybhur
and Mrs Naybhur. Actually, "moments"
is rather non-committal. What
we get are, in fact, pure trembling heartbeats
of... I don't really know...
innocence... and wonder... It's so hard to
put in to words... but this
series is like a warm hug from your parents or
your loved one.
There's so much heart here... It's a world away
from any other
series on the market right now. It's special
and unique, and once
you've seen it, you're not likely to forget it...
And I'll shut up now, so's you can take a
look for yourself!
Over the last decade, Bob the Builder has built
extraordinary worldwide franchise, based on
exploits... Eight classic seasons... An eco-town
Four feature-length films... Four more specials...
But now, the building work has come to end.
Or rather, it's come
to its end in stop-motion form, with the news
that his next
series is to be produced as an all-CGI show.
have just announced plans for SD
Entertainment in LA to take
over production duties on the main show from
the folks at
HOT Animation - something that was flagged
up on this site a while back,
but which has now, almost inevitably,
come to pass...
Of course, the HIT publicity wagon is playing
up the move.
Bob's been with us for ten years, after all.
It's time for a change.
Something new. The change has only come about
months of research, and this CGI shift is intended to
emotional connection between the characters
and viewers (C21media)...
But you know, for this particular viewer,
Bob was working just
fine as he was. Stop-motion beguiles and delights.
It draws an
audience in with its magic in a way that can
never be matched
in a CGI production. For kids watching these
shows, it's like
seeing their own little model toys coming
to life in front of their
eyes. And in HOT's hands, Bob, Wendy, Spud
and the gang
completely bedazzled their audience...
Look, there's a reason why adults and children will
films like "Nightmare Before Xmas" or
"Curse of the Were-Rabbit"
over and over and over again, and why, forty years
on, we're still
watching those little worlds of Gordon Murray
and the SmallFilms
partnership. They have a unique fascination.
The crew on these
productions have to construct an entire bespoke
world. All the figures,
all the props, the scenery, the minutiae have been
built by human
hands... And behold... they live, they breathe!...
Oh...CGI just can't
match that... even at its very Pixar-like best,
the magic is different...
the attraction changes... that unique and specific
connection is gone...
Now that's not to say that Bob's new show
won't be fine and shiny.
But it will no longer stand out from the crowd.
It will no longer beguile.
So certainly, we'll wish Bob all the very
best. He's off on an a new
adventure, and hopefully he'll be keeping
his parent firm happy
for years to come. But there's no escaping
the fact that a
siginficant portion of his audience will see things
In their eyes, Bob's laid his last brick,
he's hung up his hard
hat and sold-up his family firm...
Yes, yes. The
DFC was fanfared here mere days ago. But the first
issue landed on The Hound's doorstep oveer
the weekend, just
demanding to be read and reviewed... and..
why, it's a darned
triumph, so it is... This David Fickling Comic
is Very Good Indeed!...
There's a great sense of style about this
comic. It gets delivered in
its own funky envelope, and when you extract
your copy, you're
immediately met with a handsome matt cover
- full colour, of course -
but completely different in tone to other
weeklies past, or present.
And the comic itself is A4 size. That, too,
is new to this reader.
That sense of style continues right through
the first issue. The strips
are terrfically varied. We open with Philip Pullman's contribution,
"John Blake", which is illustrated by
John Aggs. And it's a doozy,
teasing us into its seafaring adventure in six
splashy pages. It's a
great way to start proceedings, and it feels like
you're reading the
beginnings of a fab graphic novel - something that's
with Kate Brown's "Spider Moon", with
its sophisticated Manga
stylings. These two contributions alone are
woth the price of a subscription.
Meanwhile, Sarah McIntyre deligts us with her
bunny-hopping "Vern and Lettuce", and
Dave Shelton's "Good Dog,
Bad Dog" mixes lots of "ruff" humour
into its ongoing adventure,
Frankly, this reader could rave about The
DFC all day. But in
short, there isn't a duff contribution here.
Every strip stands out
as being unique and stylish. And there's lots
of variety on offer.
There's also a wonderful maturity about the
writing and the quality
of the artwork - no surprise, really, when
one considers the quality
of the books which David Fickling and company
Is there a downside? - Well, it's possibly
a little too safe for some
readers. Mummy and Daddy may approve, but
will your average
kid on the street? And then there's the episodic
nature of many of
the strips. We get teasing pages of story
that leave us dangling.
But that one's answered by the fact that your
you to keep on reading, next issue...
The folks behind The DFC have truly attempted
here. They've tried bloody hard to reintroduce
the concept of a
weekly comic to a new generation of readers,
and frankly, if this
doesn't work - well - The Hound can't think
of anything they could
have done differently...
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...
Ivor's Here! (08.06.08)
Back in March,
you might recall, The Hound presented a giddy
round-up of cartoon collectibles that were
doing the rounds.
Now many folks probably think these kind of
articles are included just
so this old dawg can make a quick buck-or-two
out of his visitors.
You know how it works. Plug a product, add
a link with an affiliation
code, and watch the pounds roll in... Blah,
But it's not like that. Honestly. The Hound
plugs these things
principally because he's a fan. He's writing about
the things that are
on his own must-have shopping list, and
if ever you needed proof that
such a list exists then you need only take a look
Oh yes. This is a thing of rare beauty. A
special thing to hang on the
wall and treasure for all time. It's my very
own limited edition, Ivor the
Engine print. "On The Railway" is
hand-signed by Peter Firmin himself.
And in a change to the original billing, it
turns out there are only 100
of these beauties available... which makes it even
Now this here print is on sale at the Animation
Art Gallery. And if
you notice, there's no affiliation code on
the link. I'm plugging it
because it's out there... because it deserves
because your wall will be so lonely without
one... The photo doesn't
do it justice, of course. But believe me, the colours,
and that frame compliment each other just
so perfectly... And like
I've said before, if I'm jazzed for things
like this, I'm pretty certain
you'll be jazzed too...