Sunday, October 26, 2014

Observer Prize entry-The Insider

Congratulations to Alexis Deacon who won the prize this year-a really fabulous artist. Here is my entry:

Friday, October 10, 2014

Children's Comics as Art

First some more wonderful episodes of Burp, as Jeremy Banx continues to utilise the extra page given to him to good affect. (Check out that sun with Burp's ship silhouetted against it). Thanks to Laura Howell for sending me a scan of an episode I haven't got any more-the tragic tale of Quentin De'Augg, who doesn't have that special gland we all possess that secretes a chemical that prevents us from becoming canine beasts of the night. An absolute genius set up. 

By the way, due to some bad printing the health warning at the bottom of the first episode below was cut off from my copy. If anyone knows what it says, please tell me! 

And now Banx's own favourite episode, and mine too, the wonderful 'Sand Planet'. 

It begins like Frank Herbert's Dune, but instead of parody Banx resorts to a sort of sci-fi poetry. I'm thinking at this point he was just revelling in the opportunity to explore language in a kid's comic about a stinky alien, and seeing what he could get away with. The result is brilliant. He tosses out this paragraph: "Silica..the sand planet...where there is only the relentless dusty for the gravitational anomaly waves that lovingly sculpt the sands into ever writhing cusps of gold..."

Now that's ambituious children's comics writing. Why should kids be talked down to in comics when  they can get the meaning from the visual context if they don't quite have the vocabulary? Talking as an ex-teacher I was always told to pitch things at a higher level to stretch the students-a logical thing to do. This is something I think comics are doing very wrong now-more on that in a post to come. 

Anway, how rarely is the medium utilised as well as this? Banx effortlessly employs this gorgeous prose to serve a brilliant punchline. Anyway, read it. You'll love it. And there's more just as good to come!