Monday, 31 October 2011

Mike Pearse - A Nightmare on Bash Street!

Just in time for Halloween, here's one of Mike Pearse's "extra l-o-n-g" stories from 2000, featuring the Bash Street Kids.

With no disregard at all for David Sutherland's long-standing career, what I love about Mike's Bash St. comics is how he injects more character to the kids - Spotty became a loud-mouthed practical joker, Sidney a cocky wannabe, and even Plug displays intelligence amongst his ghastly features. All different and perfect for character interactions to play from.

In fact, considering how many extended stories Mike has penned for the Bash Street Kids, I wouldn't be surprised if these were considered his favourites to work with, next to The Three Bears!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Muppets - "Once A Year Day"

Halloween comes but once a year - the Vile Bunch know how to celebrate their special day as only they know how in true Muppet fashion!

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The Spooks of Bottle Bay

Something to help get you into the "spirit" of Halloween - from the same company who brought us the wonderful Button Moon, Playboard Puppets also blessed us with the equally mad Spooks of Bottle Bay, which lasted three seasons between 1992 - 1995.
Some of the Spooks are out to play! Drawn by me back in 2009.
Mad seems like an ideal word to describe this show on account of the setting - as shown in the title sequence, Bottle Bay seems to take place in a fishing village within a ship-in-a-bottle trinket. In its way, it's also quite creepy to those who remember. From Sybil Sludge's gruesome Zelda-like appearance from Terrahawks to the manic plaid-covered Tommy Spook, who was forever grinning and giggling...

Yet somehow, it was one of those shows where I enjoyed being scared, in a good way. There was a light-hearted manner on how the scares in this series were portrayed, and the construction of the puppets always fascinated me whenever this popped up on CITV "in the day", with a theme tune as haunting as the spooks themselves.

In fact, just compare the mouth shapes of Fred Spook to Captain Large of the Bottle Army - almost a "family resemblance" in its way...

So for those who have never seen see the series before, or haven't watched it in a while, let us reacquaint ourselves with the first two seasons...whoooooo!




Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Peager

Peacock + Tiger = Peager!

IMO, "Peager" sounds more natural to say than 'Piger' or...dare I say...'Ticock'. Ooo Matron! =P

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Chuggington Sketches

Since I've not posted anything art-related here for....ever, I thought I'd remedy that once again!

After discovering and reviewing Chuggington, I thought I'd take a crack at drawing some of the characters, which I drew back in June earlier this year. Since each have more complex locomotive designs than what I'm used to seeing on British Railways and Heritage Lines, it was a fun challenge to attempt =)

Chuggington © Sarah Ball, Ludorum plc. I own nothing!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

They're the Baddies! Victor and Hugo...

Of all the shows Cosgrove Hall had produced over the years, it comes as a surprise when only a handful are still remembered to this day (thanks to DVD releases). Danger Mouse, Jamie & the Magic Torch, the Wind in the Willows, and even Terry Pratchet's Truckers.

But then there are shows from CH that somehow fall by the wayside, either by lack of interest from the public or lack of advertising from the TV Boffins - shows like Creepy Crawlies, Fantomcat, Albie and even Vampires, Pirates and Aliens. Anyone seen a (British) DVD featuring this lot?

But the most semi-obscure show from CH has to be these guys:

Victor and Hugo: Bunglers in Crime was another of Cosgrove Hall's wonderfully odd-ball shows, featuring two French criminal brothers always hatching "a meticulous plan" to steal valuable items - but hardly ever succeed due to their constant bumbling.

But there is more to this series than one would think:

  - The series combines the writing / voice-acting talents of Brian Trueman, Jimmy Hibbert and David Jason alone (with others such as Edward Kelsey popping up time to time). This would be the last time that Brian and David would provide their voices for a Cosgrove Hall series, as well as being the company's cel-painted show before going from Cosgrove Hall Productions to Cosgrove Hall Films.

 - David Jason's voice for Hugo (the short "brain of a brussel sprout") is based from that of Bluebottle from the famous radio programme The Goon Show! To add to that, often Hugo is constantly pestering Victor with the phrase "What is it that it is...?", another Bluebottle trademark ;-)

 - Often in animated shows starring anthropomorphic animals, everyone bar themselves is human. Whereas in THIS cartoon, it's vice-versa - the brothers themselves the only human characters!

But that's not all...

A crossover well deserving - drawn by Andrew Morrice!
 - Victor and Hugo weren't always Victor and Hugo to begin with. Originally, they started out as Gaston and Pierre from Count Duckula before being redeveloped slightly as humans. And as a result, with thanks to Brian and Jimmy's hilarious scripting, other characters from Danger Mouse and Count Duckula cross-over into V&H either in reference or as supporting characters!!

So with all the perfect chemicals for a winning show, what has happened to the "Bunglers in Crime"?

Well, the sad fact was that V&H were unfortunately created at the time when Children's ITV was undergoing an anti-cartoon phase in 1991-1992, causing Thames TV to lose their franchise. So according to various sources, the episodes were never shown more than once - at least for British airwaves. Last I heard, they seemed to have gained new life Down Under in Aus...

And apart from one episode on a Cosgrove Hall-themed DVD, the rest of the two seasons that were made are only available on lesser-spotted VHS cassettes and books (both hardback and audio!!).

However, for those who do remember, let us hope that one day we shall see all of Victor and Hugo's bungles on DVD, in this day and age where even the most obscure of shows have managed to find new life for today's generation as such...and pray even harder that we Brits will get it first and not Australia...!! =P

For now, though, here's a handful of eppies to watch by - now updated with a fancy new Playlist!


Monday, 17 October 2011

From the Ashes...

...rises the Phoenix!

This isn't technically "new" to report, but for those of you who have been out of the loop, I'll give a brief update:

Back in February earlier this year, I gave a sombre yet loyal salute following the closure of Cosgrove Hall Films - a huge loss for British animation.

But then came a huge surprise to us Brits when, in August 2011, Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall came out of retirement to reopen their new studios in Stockport, Cheshire, alongside new partner, co-funder and Jakers! creator Francis Fitzpatrick.

....thus, Cosgrove Hall Fitzpatrick was born, and already they have two new shows in the pipelines, Pip and The Hero Gliffix, both which look and sound quite promising.

Personally, though, while I am over the moon to see Brian and Mark back in the animation field, I rather wish they'd go back to their glory days and start creating "wacky" shows again - the sort that made legends of Danger Mouse, Count Duckula and even Foxbusters. There are plenty of shows in the pre-school market being offered by other studios - so let's hope CHF start producing more of the fun stuff again for us abnormal, mad fans.

...although the less said about Eddie Retractorhead, the better....blechh >(

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Mike Pearse and The 3 Bears

Looking back at my Dandy Comic blog post a year ago, it prompted me today to go through my old Beano / Dandy collections from the '90s to mid 2000's for old time's sake. And I'll be perfectly honest when I say this:

The Beano has never been the same without Mike Pearse.

Out of all the artists who have contributed to the Beano over the years, Mike's work has remained as one of my biggest inspirations and favourites. His style was very different to what other artists / writers were offering at the time; in fact, it is very much in spirit of all the classic French Comics (such as Asterix, Marsupilami, Gaston) in terms of artwork and humour - which felt more real and chuckle-worthy, IMO.

Mike started out way, way back in 1999, with Beano Issue No.2974, by bringing The Three Bears back into the Beano. Along the way, during his five-year legacy, he also penned the Bash Street Kids, from super-long stories lasting entire comics, to 1-page "Singled Out" adventures, focusing on individual characters within Bash St. School. All of which I have kept near and dear since.

But after digging out my old Beanos and reading through Mike's 3 Bears storylines, my memories of each strip have remained as sharp as ever - and my sides are still splitting after all this time.

Five years just wasn't long enough for Mike - so wherever he is and whatever he's doing today.....good health mate, and thanks for all the laughs =)

And now, a selection of some faves:

Mike Pearse's first venture into the Beano. I'm glad that after the first few strips, Mike decided to draw and write his own speech bubbles, going by the mistake in the third panel...

While Ma, Pa and Ted still ambushed Hank's Store, Mike also had fun playing the characters off one another, as well as introducing a few new faces - namely, a pal for Ted...

And to finish off, this two-parter comic that truly left me in knots - even with two Bears, it's still funny as Hell!!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Getting Grizzly (Again)

Never mind preparing for Christmas - October is Halloween Season!

So in the run-up for October 31st, here's a few episodes of Honeycomb Animation's famous Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids series - featuring Revenge of the Bogeyman, winner of the Children's Choice Award, 2004!

Don't forget to Bookmark the Grizzly Tales Blog for news on the latest animated series on Nicktoons, as well as a chance to buy and download audiobooks of Jamie Rix's first four books!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Looney Tunes - "A Rival Story"

So word is out: The Looney Tunes Show is gaining a second series, despite the hugely divided views as a whole - the main complaint being that the episodes just aren't "looney" enough, if at all. No squash-and-stretch, no old-school chaos, no musical scores throughout each episode.

In fact, it pretty much demonstrates that this should have been shot as a live-action series never mind an animated sitcom where nothing - absolutely nothing - happens, funny or otherwise. Another example of fixing something that was never broken.

On the plus side, at least David Alvarez is getting back on the LT scene again as a storyboard artist for the Merrie Melodies segments. So there's one plus. Still...

Sam Register and WB, if you're bothering to hear the complaints - please address to them. Make the Looney Tunes FUN again. Take advantage of the fact that they are cartoon characters, and make them do the impossible, instead of having them standing around talking and talking and talking...

Actually, do us a favour. Just forget your original statement and try to be more like the original shorts. At least they're more memorable than this drivel...yes, DRIVEL. I said it, and I am not ashamed. Purist, thy name is Signore!

But if any of your writers are stuck with what to do with Bugs and Daffy from this point, here's an example of good verbal humour - with Dave Alvarez artwoik, even!

Perhaps I am over-exaggerating here, but unless someone over there gets their head on straight with how to handle these characters properly, or at least bring something new and funny to the table, then it's not worth switching the TV on any more.

"That's All, Folks!" (for now)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Harry and Who

Since the final (current) series of Doctor Who premiers tonight in the UK, I thought I'd share a little something I did.

Last week my local Primary School invited me for an afternoon session, teaching the kiddies how to draw caricatures. Went far better than we all thought, so wouldn't be surprised if they decide to invite me back again ;)

For this session, I made a wise move by choosing two famous faces that the children would recognise and learn from as eamples. So here we have Matt Smith and Daniel Radcliffe (alias Doctor Who No. 11 and Harry Potter). Enjoy!