Judging Monsters & Unmasking Comics

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Yesterday, I had to judge the entrants to the Guardian Children’s Books monster drawing competition.

It was great to see so many exciting and colourful pictures! A lot of thought and hard work had gone into the drawing (and often, the accompanying text) and it looked like the entrants had had a lot fun being creative, which is what I’d hoped. The struggle was in picking a winner. Whenever someone judging a competition says “I wish I could pick them all!” it’s easy to think that they’re not being genuine, but I really, really wish I could. Anyway, a winner has been chosen and will be announced on the Guardian website very soon.

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Then I ventured out into the rain to attend the opening reception for the Comics Unmasked exhibition at the British Library. Subtitled ‘Art & Anarchy in the UK’, the exhibition is co-curated by Adrian Edwards, John Harris Dunning and the brilliant Paul Gravett. It looks at the history of British comics and their wide-ranging style and subject matter, with a focus on those works that challenge social, political and sexual boundaries. Fascinating stuff and beautifully designed by Dave McKean, it’s an amazing-looking, eye-opening exhibition.

As usual, I was hopeless at getting any photos but here are a few grabs from Twitter to give an idea of the evening. From the British Library’s own feed:

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Jonathan Ross, broadcaster and comics fan, gave the opening speech. Lawless Nelly is the exhibition mascot, designed by Jamie Hewlett, and apparently named by a BL staffer after Charles Dickens’ mistress!

From Bridget Hannigan’s feed:

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Woodrow Phoenix‘s one-of-a-kind super-sized comic ‘She Lives’. A huge piece of work in many senses.

From innovative comic-maker Douglas Noble’s feed:

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One of the nice things about the exhibition is the inclusion of screens displaying digital comics of various genres. Douglas’ work is particularly interesting and thought-provoking. I’ve being enjoying his current Parakoe series very much.

Lastly, one picture of mine! I was delighted to see the inclusion of ink+PAPER, the comics anthology that I created and edit, amongst the exhibits. It was open at the comic created by Katriona Chapman, detailing her experiences with flat-sharing and the state of the housing market. It’s a beautiful piece of work, and Katriona’s first ever comic, so I’m thrilled it’s being displayed.

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