Monday, 9 March 2015

Spirou et Fantasio

Spirou et Fantasio

Spirou et Fantasio (Spirou and Fantasio) is a book I picked up while visiting Erlangen Germany for the Comic Saloon. At first I thought It was a Tintin book, but on closer inspection I discovered a whole different history behind this bellhop. The character is considered a popular in Franco- Belgium and one of Europe's most iconic comics and has been running since 21 April 1938. The interesting thing about the character, is that it has been drawn by a succession of artists, where as Herge Drew Tintin and Albert Uderzo drew Asterix and Obelix. Contrary to common practice in Europe, the creator of the comic sold the rights to the strip to the publishers Dupuis.

The comic strip was originally created by the Parisian artist Robert Velter (who signed his work Rob-Vel) for the first issue of Spirou magazine (Le Journal de Spirou) April 1938. The main character was an elevator operator in the Mostique Hotel and remains mainly dressed in his red bellhop uniform to this day. The main character has a pet squirrel called Spip, who was also the series first supporting character, though he was introduced a year after the series originally started. 
The first new artist/writer to take on the role of Spirou was Joseph Gillain (Pen name Jije) in 1943. By 1944 Jije had introduced a new character Fantasio who would become Spirou's best friend. Because Jije had so many artistic commitments by 1946, he ended up handing the work to his understudy Andre Franquin midway through "Spirou et la Manison Prefabriquee."

Above is the book I brought while in Erlangen and started off this blog.. The mysterious machine in the background and the woman dressed in a leopard skin costume a top a roof.

Above shows how the character had developed in the hands of other artist over the years

The image above is a fairy modern take on the 2 characters, though once again drawn by a different artist and this is one of the few images where the Spirou Character isn't seen in his traditional Bell Hop wear.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Comics... So What? Event

Comic Mini Masterclass

Working alongside the Cartoon museum, Staffordshire University is running a Mini Masterclass in Comic work. Dedicated to a sole bastion of the British Comic Industry 2000AD, the class was run by Adrian Tooth, John Charles and Jason Brindley. The aim is to give people who might never have thought about drawing comics, an attempt to do some work, using a script and under the professional direction of the freelance comic artist. 

The aim of the event was to encourage people to talk about what is their favourite comics and more importantly why. 

Initially introduced by Adrian Tooth who outlined what the event was and why we were doing it. Here Ade is watched by Judge McBeth!   

John Charles talked through layout and the importance of letting the readers eye flow around the page.

Using a few of his own examples from his illustrious careers John explains the theories of comics

Jason Brindley show some examples from his own Graphic Novel "Death Comes to Dillinger" and how he uses layout to show and give feeling to the story. 

More importantly Jason is a brilliant artist and he shows how he uses paint to create character 

And how this can then be used in the computer realm using 3D Maya and digital paint to bring to life his latest drawing for this event 

Above is a selection of images from the 3rd Year Cartoon and Comic Arts students working on the 2000AD Mural for the Comic... So What? Event. Even Judge Dredd took on a more selective Comic Arts  feel with his glasses and Bow Tie.

We were very lucky to get a member from the Judge League down to help us and he was with out doubt an excellent life model.

He let Ryan (3rd Year Comic Arts Student) try on his helmet, as you can see we've got a natural Sly Stallone Character 

What does Judge McBeth Read off duty, Watchmen. Excellent read sir!

John Charles - 2000AD and MarvelUK artist starts the comic drawing sessions off using scripts from 2000AD

We had a range of people interested in the day with an interesting array of abilities etc. An Excellent measured drawing of Judge McBeth 

In full glory, Judge McBeth

Images from the workshops running during the day

Comic Work Shop 

A very good panel under construction by one of the participants

Class in full throw - Adrian Tooth sharpening pencils?

Newbeeies to comic arts being put through their paces by John Charles and watched over by Gareth Cowlin and 2 3rd year Cartoon Students. 

Reece and Ryan looking like they are up to no good.

Ok... Stand ... Pose .... FIRE!

The day was enjoyed by all who took part and we collected a lot of information for the comic museum to help it to choose material to display in London Russell Square.

A real big thank you for those who turned up and supported the event and attempted the activities. A big hand out to 3rd Years - Becci Such, Callum, Reece and Ryan for helping out on the day.
A real big Thank You for Callum Lawrence Bardlsey for his help in putting together the artwork with Becci Such for the mural and all those who took part with the mural.
Callum & Blue
Michaela Clarke
Ryan Moss
Reece Pallatao
Kieran Hayes
Michaela Betts.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Trip to Erlangen

Trip to Erlangen

Below is a selection of the photographs I took while in Erlangen to sort out the Comic Salon and the possible visit to the area of Staffordshire University. It's hoped that a few of the other BA Hons awards from the FACT (Facility of Arts and Creative Technology) would also be able to participate in a few of the ventures out line by Peter Steger while I was doing my trip there.

Above is my first meal in Germany, a shoulder of Pork with Sauerkraut and one of the biggest potato dumpling I've ever seen.

Some on must have told Peter about my love of real ale as he booked me in a Hotel just down the road from one of the areas many micro breweries. This one in the Kitzmann Brau.

This pub was to become my local as it had the full range of beers Pilsner, Wheatbeer and Dark beer. It also had pretzels. Not a million miles from the Staffordshire University Logo

This is what the place looks like from the inside, the big ceramic thing on the left of this picture is the oven where they cook the food.

Above is some artwork I found on the streets of Erlangen.

Just to reassure everyone, they have their own comic shop 

Just to reassure Students, they also have McDonalds as well

Erlangen Town

Above is a bar I walked past call Bogarts

Some of the inspiring architecture in and around the Erlangen town Centre.

Siemens Museum and Archive Store 

The Following Beneath is the Siemens Museum, which our following conversation reveled there might be an opportunity for the Medical Illustration award at Staffordshire University.

Erlangen Council Offices

 Below is the View while walking to and from the Erlangen Government building 

This is a view from the 6th Floor of the Government building over looking Erlangen. The big building in the back is the Siemens main building.

The image above is the entrance to the  government building, it is also the place where the Comic Saloon takes place.

Erlangen University 

Above is the administrative centre for the Erlangen Universities. I bet our Vice Chancellors and the other staff would loved to be housed in here. It was originally the home to the Duke who founded the Universities.

The fountain in the park behind the University Administration building

Below is the theatre that Peter managed to get me exclusive entrance to 

Below is a Franconian bar as you would expect to see Bavaria 

We also discovered another Micro Brewery, This one had a special guest nesting on the Chimney, a pair of Storks.  

Below is a series of photographs taken while I was around Nuremberg. I met a chap called Frank Gillard on the train station, similar in the way spies must meet in Bond movies. Below are some images from St Lorenz's Church.


below is what used to be the hospital. It is now a restaurant.

Our Ladies Church in the centre of Nuremberg square which also offers one of the largest Christmas markets in Germany.


Above is the old fort which over looks Nuremberg and the view which you can see from the top. 
Below are some images back across the river having a look some sites.

Above is the hangman's bridge. The hangman use to live in the hose at the end of the bridge hence its name. Nothing as shocking as this was the place they hung people.

Above is my first venture into a proper German Beer Kellar.

The entrance to the Nuremberg National History Museum. Each of the pillars has one of the fundamental Human rights written on them and underneath there is a translation in a different language.  

The national Museum was initially founded in a monastery in the centre of Nuremberg. Since then it has grown and grown.  With additional buildings being added through out the years 


The museum boast an impressive array of artwork from the Bauhaus collection 

Ended up in an Irish bar in Erlangen

Did I mention that once a year, Erlangen threw the second biggest beer festival in Germany outside the Oktoberfest. This is where it takes place and below is an indication of how big it really is.

Erlangen also has its own Sculpture Park which celebrates a local sculptor by putting his work on permanent display to the people of Erlangen.