Posts Tagged ‘comic’



AstroIt is not really well known that Japan has been a major player in the development of cartoons and comic art. I think they deserve more credit; credit where credit is due — take Iwao Takamoto, for example, Iwao worked for Disney on films such as “101 Dalmatians” and “Lady & The Tramp”, but he also created Penelope Pitstop and Scooby-Doo for Hanna Barbera.

Scooby-DooTakamoto was Americanised, and his subjects were western in all respects, but the Japanese nevertheless managed to develop their own spin on things, and this has grown to be a massive market of  Animé (animations) and Manga.

For Animé, we have Studio Ghibli of Tokyo who make full-length animated movies, and are often referred to as the Japanese Disney. My children adore Spirited Away, My Neighbour Tortoro, Pom Poko, Ponyo and Howl’s Moving Castle. In fact, Spirited Away is the only film made outside the English-speaking world to win an Oscar, and it grossed over $274 worldwide.

Studio Ghibli

Manga is often known as BD – a Belgian/ French term “bandes dessinées” which simply means “drawn Strips”. This is considered better than the American term, “Comic”, which carries the implication of being funny or at least not-serious.

There is a long traditional Japanese history in Manga, and is very influential in producing graphic art novels, particularly of a serious or adult nature. Manga stories are often made into Animé, if popular enough.

TezukaThe Golden Age of Manga dates back to just after World War II, and to one man — Osamu Tezuka.

At just 17, Tezuka created his first pieces of work, The Diary of Ma-chan and Shin Takarajima (New Treasure Island). He single-handedly invented the stylistic attributes that makes Manga distinct. He gave Manga its style, particularly the invention of Manga eyes, which have been massively influential on Japanese Manga and Animé.

1989-02-09, Tezuka died of stomach cancer in Tokyo.

As an idea of how highly Tezuka was regarded, the city of Takarazuka, Hyogo, where he grew up, has opened a museum in his memory. Japanese Postage Stamps were issued in his honour in 1997. And, the Japanese toy company Kaiyodo began manufacturing a series of figurines of Tezuka‘s creations in 2003.

Osamu Tezuka is held in high regard all over the world; and rightly so. He is a massive influence on street art, graffiti, and comics.

When I first saw his work, I was amazed that it was from the 40s and 50s. He was so ahead of his time. This is merely my small tribute to a great man. Check him out on the internet — and then spread the word.




Don_Martin-woman_hit_by_bottle_daduntMAD Magazine was amazing; it really inspired us to draw. Most of the actual jokes and satire went way over our heads because we did not have those cultural references, we didn’t know the celebrities.

However, that did not matter one jot when it came to the great Don Martin… what can I say?  He was just out-and-out amazingly funny.

He had his own style of drawing, and of describing the action.

I loved it.

It was always the first thing I thought of when someone referred to MAD, and the first thing I turned to when I bought a copy was the “Don Martin Dept”.

I cannot help it; I simply admire the work. Hinged feet? Genius.

Don_Martin-Cooks_Up_More_Tales Don_Martin-running_like_mad

I was really saddened to hear of his death in 2000.  He had been with MAD from his early twenties through the peak years for comics, the 60s and 70s.

Martin was such a massive influence on everything and everyone!  The way he exaggerated movement, the ridiculous sounds (and the way the got the idea across), and the complete departure from reality in terms of proportion, and the way joints and limbs work. [There’s even an on-line Don Martin Sounds Dictionary]

Martin could squeeze a laugh from the smallest detail –and as kids we all poured over his stuff, paying tremendous attention before copying into our school jotters.

Enjoy — donmartinweb/




RICK GRIFFIN was another hero and huge influence on me and my generation.

[Picture of Rick Griffin's Murphy Comic]Griffin, Mouse, Kelley and Robert Crumb were they guys we all wanted to be, man. We all got technical pens, Staedtler Mars and Rotring pens or rapidographs, and started doing our own comics in the new style that was inhabited by Fat Freddie’s Cat and The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.

[Picture of Comic Strip by Griffin: Murphy]I guess most kids today would associate “Cowabunga” with Bart Simpson, but it was Rick Griffin’s “Murphy” that coined the term way back in the 1970s. His impact has been so great that “Griffin” is today a surfing area in California, USA.

“Murphy” was a big influence on comics and comic book artists, of that there is no doubt in my mind. If you look at how Rick drew Murphy’s hair, it is plain that this style has informed Dennis The Menace and even the Fat Slags from Viz!

[Picture of Griffin artwork: Murphy Sez] [Picture of Dennis the Menace] [Picture of Fat Slags comic by Viz]

It was in his later psychedelic period, along with Kelley and Mouse, that we discovered Rick Griffin — through the artwork he did for the likes of The Grateful Dead, Jackson Browne and Man.

[Picture of Grateful Dead Album Cover] [Picture of Griffin's Jackson Browne Bonnie Raitt LP Art]

[Picture of Man album cover] [Picture of Grateful Dead Album: Blues for Allah]

I was always struck by his lettering; he seemed to have a way with incorporating the words into the work. Griffin and Roger Dean were the big influence here.

I would say that Rick Griffin has been massively influential in graphic art — lettering, fonts, typefaces, logos and even tattoos and graffiti!

I would go further and state that Griffin has been one of the most powerful and influential artists that have ever lived.

If you think about it, there is a close association between bands like The Grateful Dead, and bikers like the Hell’s Angels.  An entire sub-culture has adopted Griffin’s skulls and lettering — for decorating vans, motorcycle petrol tanks, helmets, leather jackets, tattoos and graffiti.  This has bled into today’s diverse scenes — such as from Hip Hop to Marilyn Manson — from Rappers and Sk8ers to Goths, and Moshers. The biker theme has moved into heavy metal, and Griffin himself worked on album art for bands like The Cult.

  • UPDATE: 2009-05-12: Just this year, Rick Griffin is THE designer accessory in the world of fashionable shoes for BMX, Moto-X, and Snowboarding — check out Vans and Vault — especially Vans.Vault 2009 Collection.

[Picture of Grateful Dead cover art]I can even see stuff Griffin did that must have influenced HR Geiger (and therefore the style of Alien films and loads of Science Fiction). Monochromatic, filled with skulls and bones, yet somehow mechanised by being in mechanised scenarios, if you see what I mean.

Oddly enough, especially when you consider all of the above, what Rick griffin did next was a real surprise — he became a Jesus freak!  This caused a great fuss in the comic book and album art world at the time — not a lot of people could get their heads round that one.

Here’s an interesting article about Griffin as a Christian Comic Artist — at:- Strangely enough, another hero of mine — Dudley D Watkins was a huge cultural figure, comic artist and Christian comic artist.  Weird.

A really good gallery site is maintained here:

Finally, and even though Rick was killed on his Harley back in 1991, he somehow still has an “official” website:




I have always enjoyed Cinders’s “Broomie Law” cartoons in the Herald.  I know she lives in Glasgow with her husband and kids, and I think she’s about the same age as me, and that’s about it — apart from a rumour that she’s originally from Canada.

There are not as many female cartoonists and comic book artists around, for some unknown reason.  Maybe Cinders can be a role model!

[Picture of Cinders Mcleod comic strip] [Picture of Cinders Mcleod comic strip]

She has managed to be witty AND have a female voice, at the risk of being all lesbiany and suffragetty, and has great observations about the weird modern world we inhabit.  She’s a real treasure… and she ought to be better kent (famous). Anyway, I’m doing my bit on my blog, hope it helps!




[Picture of a cookery book comic strip draft sketch by Dave devine]It’s funny to go through old rubbish that’s been cluttering up the place for years.  I found this comic strip sketch I did on how to cook pasta.  Hilarious!  But then again, I was only 17 or 18 when I did it.  Back then I did loads of comic strips and earned a wee bit of money.  As I recall it, I was trying to move into — or maybe even create — new areas for comics, this would be the long-lost comic-book cook book that never was! Oh well, I tried!  This is one of the earliest attempts I knocked up obviously as a result of my insomnia.  Hey, if comic books could get kids into cooking, then maybe someone like Jamie Oliver should get behind this idea and make something of it!  Don’t be put off by my crappy artwork