Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category
Just occasionally, a writer or artist – or both in one – emerges who is so astoundingly original that everything else suddenly seems like a facsimile of what has come before. Chris Ware, the 45-year-old American comics artist, is one of these. Widely hailed as one of the foremost practitioners working in the medium today, his new book, if one can call it that without being reductionist, is a work of such startling genius that it is difficult to know where to begin.
And that is part of the point. Take the “cover”, for instance. The work is presented in a large, rectangular box covered in seemingly random letters and fragments of images. It takes a while to trace a path through the puzzle and reveal the hidden title: Building Stories. This creation of a luscious vista of words and pictures that the reader must decode using a variety of subtle threads and directions is typical of Ware; abandon yourself to the process and enlightenment gradually dawns.
The lid comes off to reveal 14 different books, pamphlets, posters and miscellanea which, when pieced together, form a multi-dimensional story about the inhabitants of a Chicago apartment block. We meet, in exquisitely intimate detail, a melancholy thirtysomething woman with an amputated leg; a couple whose relationship is poisoned with the deepest acrimony; and the elderly landlady of the building, her life locked in a cycle of loneliness and nostalgia. All of this is presented in Ware’s distinctive style, which blends evocations of the aesthetic of the early 20th-century American south (Ware collects ragtime paraphernalia) with a melancholy existentialism and pawky humour. Continue reading on the Telegraph website
So it’s all kicking off again. As I write, the making of a film mocking the Prophet Mohammad has sparked violence in Yemen, Egypt, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and Libya. Details are still emerging, but the filmappears to have been made by an Egyptian intent on scapegoating American Jews. But this is of no consequence. The touchpaper of offence has been lit, and the conflagration has begun to consume the Middle East and North Africa.
From a British perspective, the violence unfolding in the region is bewildering. After all, we are the nation that gave birth to Life Of Brian. But as sure as night follows day, the liberal Left will soon start wringing their hands, beating their brows, and blaming alternately George Bush and themselves; the Right, afraid of appearing “un-PC”, will grumble behind closed doors that the blighters are fundamentally barbaric.
Rather than going down that wormhole again, it is more interesting to note that the Islamic ringleaders who stoke the flames of this sort of offence-fuelled violence are exactly the people who spew out truckloads of racist and anti-Semitic material daily.
Try running a Google Images search for the keywords “Arab” and “cartoon”. There is no need to insert the words “racist”, “anti-Semitic” or even “Jew”. Just “Arab” and “cartoon”. You can run the search by simply clicking here.
What you will discover is page upon page of cartoons concerning Jews and Israel. Some may, if you squint, be excused as “political”; a few may even pass for the work of Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell. Most, however, are sickening. There are Jews eating children, Jews gloating over bags of money, Jews with a blood lust, and so on and so on. The sheer irony of Islamic zealots having a hair-trigger themselves towards anti-Islamic cartoons and the like, while simultaneously churning out such vile racism themselves, is almost funny. Continue reading on the Telegraph website
Like most of the UK’s under-fives, our three have always had a daily allowance of CBeebies and DVDs. Recently, however, this has changed. One day, after trying – and failing – to demonstrate a Moonwalk, I went to YouTube and showed them that famous clip of Michael Jackson performing the move for the first time in 1983. They were enthralled, and watched in silence. Then they begged to watch it again. When they had seen it four or five times, they began to dance their little hearts out.
This experience led my wife and I to use YouTube to introduce the little ‘uns to everything from Fred Astaire to the Muppets. It’s much more stimulating than CBeebies. They love it.
Here, then, are our children’s top ten favourite YouTube clips of all time. View them on the Telegraph website
Beano, Dandy, Topper, Beezer; Bunty, Judy, Jackie; Roy of the Rovers,Commando. If that delicious string of titles hasn’t warmed the cockles of your heart, then either you did not grow up in the UK or your parents kept you wrapped in a paper bag.
Comics were – and still are – an integral part of our nation’s childhood and, increasingly, adulthood. In British Comics: A Cultural History, Professor James Chapman sets out to explore this “valuable but neglected source of social history” and discover what comics tell us about ourselves.
Traditionally, British comics have received nothing like the approbation of their French and American cousins. While France, Chapman tells us, subsidises her comics industry “to the tune of €4.5million a year”, and while the Americans regard their comics as “a vibrant form of mass popular culture, comparable to motion pictures”, we British traditionally see them as disposable at best, childish at worst.
Indeed, Chapman points out, we even passed legislation against them. The 1955 Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publication) Act forbade the creation of any children’s book that “consists wholly or mainly of stories told in pictures” and portrays “incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature”. Only two people have been prosecuted so far (none since 1970), but the law remains on the statute books. Continue reading on the Telegraph website