The random witterings of Jonathan Morris, writer.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Into The Museum

August is going to be a bit of a quiet month for me, blog-wise, as I’m a bit busy with stuff. Imagine me as Neville Shunte from the Monty Python sketch, but instead of making train noises, humming the Doctor Who theme and wearing a multicoloured scarf. Because that would be an entirely inaccurate mental image.

Anyway, I have a few things to plug. First up is barely a ‘me’ thing at all, more of a recommendation. And what I’m recommending is a visit to the Cartoon Museum to see their exhibition of Doctor Who in comics from 1964-2011. I think it’s about a fiver to get in. I was lucky enough to be invited to the gala opening and was so impressed with what I saw I will be going back again, as a punter, for a proper long look.

Fortunately for me, the exhibition concentrates largely on my favourite form of Doctor Who comics, those published in Doctor Who Weekly, Doctor Who Monthly and latterly Doctor Who Magazine, by Marvel and latterly Panini. There are loads of lovely pieces by the legendary Dave Gibbons and the no less mythical John Ridgway, with most eras of the comic strip covered very thoroughly, all the way up to the present day. Which is where I come in – the Museum has on display the original pencil artwork by Roger Langridge for my Planet Bollywood! comic strip, plus a couple of pages of artwork by Martin Geraghty from the story The Golden Ones. I felt very proud and had my photo taken. It’s a pity there’s not any examples of artwork by Rob Davis or Dan McDaid there, but it seems churlish to quibble when presented with such a surfeit of riches.

It’s very illuminating, seeing the original artwork for things. I’d always assumed most artists worked on A3, with their work being shrunk down to magazine size, but Roger Langridge works on A4, and even pencils in all the shading (where other artists will just draw an outline and write ‘x’ to indicate lots of black.) You can also see how important the inking and colouring process is to a strip; the skill is in bringing out the best of the original artwork, adding more texture but without overwhelming it. David A Roach and James Offredi are the guys who ink & colour the current Doctor Who Magazine comic strip and both do a fabulous job.

It was also fun, at the opening, to actually meet Martin Geraghty, who is currently drawing my next story for Doctor Who Magazine, and who I’m pretty sure I hadn’t met before, or if I had met before, it was at a party where I met so many people I didn’t remember any of them. I like to think this makes us like the legendary collaboration between Pat Mills and Joe Colquhoun on Charley’s War, where the writer and the artist never met, but now we’ve blown that comparison by actually meeting.

Speaking of Pat Mills, he’s going to be discussing his work on the Doctor Who comic strips at the Cartoon Museum on the 4th October, along with Scott Gray and, er, me. It will be like that Frost Report ‘class’ sketch but with ‘class’ replaced with ‘talent’. I know my place.

But please, come along. And if you’re in London, definitely visit the Cartoon Museum anyway, it’s well worth it.