SINCE bursting onto the comics scene waaaaaay back in 1937, Britain’s oldest comic, ‘The Dandy’, has undergone many changes as the decades have passed.
Currently, The Dandy exists in a glossy, comic/magazine hybrid form called ‘Dandy Xtreme’, but the latest issue (no. 3507, if my counting is correct) will be the last issue in that format, as the comic once again slips into a little cartoony cocoon, ready to emerge in a new form on Wednesday the 27th of October.
The exact detail and nature of the new-look is being kept top secret, but what we DO know is that it is coming down in price to £1.50, and that among the strips inside will be my first ever published comics work, ‘George vs Dragon’ - so there’s a VERY good reason to buy it already!
More news as it comes…
FOR OVER 25 years, Manchester-based animation studio Cosgorve Hall Films produced some of the very best and most fondly remember cartoons in the country. From the iconic Danger Mouse, to beautiful stop-motion affair such as The Wind in the Willows, the studio built up a reputation for quality, and justifiably became one of the biggest animation houses in Europe.
It is therefore terribly sad to report that Cosgrove Hall has been closed down for good by ITV, and sadder still that the closure of such a proud, British business has been hardly noticed by anyone at all.
Indeed, I only became aware of the studio’s closure after deciding to pay a visit to Cosgrove Hall’s website, which I found redirected straight to ITV’s own homepage. Wondering what on earth was going on, I hit Google and tried to find some news.
After much searching, I managed to find out that after closing Cosgrove Halls’ studio in Chorlton in early 2009, ITV then put the business under review in October of the same year. Ploughing deeper into the search results, I managed to find this sole paragraph that confirmed that as a result of the review, Cosgrove Hall Films officially ceased trading at the end of that month.
And that was that, a great studio quietly put out of its misery, garnering a couple of sentences of mention in the media.
Personally speaking, I find this very sad indeed. I had the very good fortune to work with some of the talented folk at Cosgrove Hall, when I was developing my Carrotty Kid idea for TV. The people there were lovely and enthusiastic, and really wanted to produce great cartoons despite being starved of cash at nearly every turn. The studio spent much of it’s final years as a ‘studio-for-hire’, producing work on behalf of other companies, but the desire to try and return to what they did best, in producing their own, original shows was clearly and passionately evident. It’s just a pity that they weren’t given any real chance to do so.
So, a sad and ignoble end to one of the country’s finest animation houses, and another kick in the gut to a home-grown animation industry which was already on the floor. Surely our kids deserve better than nothing but imports and a diet of reality TV talent shows? I’d like to think so, and if you feel the same why not join up and support the Save Kids’ TV campaign?
If Danger Mouse can no longer save the day, maybe we can.
EXCITING news, comic fans!
My comic strip George vs Dragon, which reworks the Saint George and the Dragon tale as a slapstick, Wile E. Coyote-esque farce, will be appearing in the The Dandy comic in the not-too-distant-future! YIPPEEEEEE!
For the uninitiated, The Dandy is Britain’s longest-running children’s comic, having started publication waaaaaaay back in pre-war Britain, in 1937. Since then, it has become a fixture of many kids’ childhoods, giving rise to iconic character such as Desperate Dan, and Korky the Cat.
I’m thrilled to get the opportunity to work for the comic, as not only is it a very well-known and prestigious title, but it’s also one of the (many) comics I read loads when growing up, and from which I learnt a great deal about cartooning and writing short, simple, funny comic strips. I can vividly recall pouring over those comic pages, teaching myself to draw and wishing I could do the same. To be one of the guys now DOING the comics is pretty much a dream come true, and I feel very lucky indeed. And excited. AND NERVOUS.
Keep checking this very blog for further updates, and be sure to tell everyone you know to keep a Dandy handy when the strip sees publication!