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Badger D“Why on earth has that character got the head of a badger?!” That is a question I’ve heard many many times (twice). And I’m expecting to hear it even more once this crazy graphic novel is released and rockets up The Times bestseller list! (That. Is. Not. A. Joke.)

“Stop avoiding the question, Flicko!” Okay. We’re talking about anthropomorphism, as in, applying human forms or attributes to something which isn’t human. Of course, we all know this has been going on for years!

The ancient Egyptians had their share of animal-headed deities (e.g. jackal, falcon and crocodile), the Hindu pantheon as well (e.g. elephant and monkey) and in centuries past European explorers would often return home with tales of distant lands populated by men with the heads of dogs, even up to the medieval period.

But really it’s from literature and other media that I’ve taken my influence. Whether it’s The Island of Doctor Moreau, Alice in Wonderland, Une Semaine De Bonte, The Magic Finger, Jungle Book (which I hear has been made into an excellent book-of-the-film), Snoopy and any number of animated ‘funny animals’.

But in the early Rupert Bear stories, that’s where I particularly found talking animals to be pretty creepy and disconcerting, yet fascinating, especially as they lived alongside their human counterparts without anyone necessarily commenting, “Er, excuse me, but do you know you have the head of a hamster?”

So that’s my justification, y’honour, for including an evil mad scientist with the head of a badger in my comic! It’s grounded in an established history of literary anthropomorphic acceptance.

It’s handy as well, as it communicates – without words – this is not a normal situation; this is a fantastical world you are entering. I like to think it stimulates curiosity.

And if you’re drawing a black and white comic, a badger is ideal! I know, based on that, he could have been any monochromatic animal. But to be honest, there’s a certain simmering malevolence I was going for that I don’t think a Friesian cow could exactly pull off. Let alone squeeze those udders into a lab coat! I rest my case.

imageI’ve grown a moustache for INKtober. If you’d like to sponsor me then keep reading.

INKtober is, of course, a time to celebrate the art of inking and an opportunity to display our wonderful illustrative pieces to a watching world, BUT it is also a time to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Those who don’t possess the skill and artful finesse of others. That’s why this month I’m raising vital funds for less-talented comic artists.

Particularly during October these sorry creatures can’t even glance at Twitter or Facebook without being bitterly reminded about their own lack of drawing ability. Please spare them a thought.

This condition affects far more people than you may realise. Even now you could be sitting next to someone who has no artistic talent!

You yourself may even be a less-talented comic artist. If you’re not sure or you’re too embarrassed to ask, here is a helpful list of common symptoms that sadly afflict these miserable individuals:

  • Barely legible lettering.
  • Too many close ups.
  • Two people speaking and the first word balloon is on the right.
  • The main character looks different in EVERY panel.
  • The figures all have long legs and massive chests (and that’s just the men).
  • They DON’T use Bristol board!
  • Every other page is a splash page.
  • Every other splash page is a double spread.
  • Front covers are ALWAYS a figure looking out and pouting (and that’s just the men).
  • They are right handed.

So please join me in raising much-needed awareness for this debilitating weight that burdens our fellow men (and the odd woman), especially at this time of year when their self-worth can be so easily bludgeoned whilst the rest of us make merry.

To view some of their well-meaning (but pitiful) visual attempts click here.

If you’d like to donate to this un/necessary* cause, you may do so here.

Thank you for inking.

Sir Windsor Newton
Chairman for the Charity LACK (Less-talented Artists are Comic Kinfolk)

* delete as appropriate

Blog Images copyLookee, here are some images from upcoming pages in the exciting and marvelique ‘Mockingbird: Nightmare on Another Planet’. To be fair though, at the rate of one page a week, it might be a year or two before you actually see the pages these drawings are from. Soz, everyone.

About The Author

July 25, 2013
Portrait of the author as a young badger

Portrait of the author as a young badger

Flix has been writing and drawing comics since he could first dribble on a piece of paper and stick a crayon in his eye. Creating such forgettable characters as Master Spy, Super Gramps, Dick Button, and of course, Battle Buster & the Battle Brigade — all before he’d even reached his teens!

Years later people started paying him to dribble on paper and stick crayons in his eyes. It was around this time he coined the phrase ‘self-unemployed’ to adequately describe his adventures in and out of the work place; dividing his time between drawing and writing with the worldchanging occupations of data-entry and customer services.

It was during this bountiful period of creativity that the germ of ‘Mockingbird’ first came to him and that eventually grew to become a full scale epidemic in comic book form (which you now have the opportunity of holding within your sterilised hands).

Today, he lives in a small seaside town on the Queen’s side of The Channel, with his wife, Maryann, and their three small children, Nova, Bramwell and Pearl Tiger. He still gets the odd chance to dribble on paper, but now it’s the kids who stick the crayons in his eyes.