Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Virunga

I was fortunate enough to attend a screening of the film, Virunga, today.  I would passionately urge everyone to see it.  I have seldom seen such a powerful expression of all that is best and all that is worst in humankind.

The film follows a group of rangers tasked with protecting the land, the plants and creatures of the Congolese National Park, Virunga.  Their job is a dangerous and sometimes deadly one, bringing them into frequent contact with ivory hunters and poachers.  As if this wasn't bad enough the park is watched with hungry eyes by people keen to explore its potential as a mining site for rare and precious minerals and as a possible source of oil.

What is truly of value in this world?  Is it gold?  Is it diamonds?  Is it oil?  Those things are rare certainly.  Without them there are things we would not be able to do.  But many of the uses we put them to serve no purpose other than to indulge our own need for self glorification.

It seems to me that this film confronts one of the great questions of our age.  Our system of value is hideously distorted.  Possibly it has been so since before we became human.   Like all animals we are greedy.  We want to thrive, to succeed, to be rich.  But I believe that we urgently need to ask ourselves, each and every one of us, what those things truly mean.   This is not a new thought.  It is in fact a cliché.  But what does it say about us that we can have known the truth of something for generations and yet still be unable to change it?  

Our current global system is based on a principle of continuous economic growth.  Doesn't the absurdity of that leap out at you when you see it?  How is it possible to continuously grow in a finite space.  It is not.  It is impossible.  And we live in an age where the sheer number of our species is forcing us to recognise this fact.


I do not say that it is wrong to seek to grow.  But where is it possible to grow?  It is possible to grow in our education, our understanding, in the exploration of our universe and our own world, in promoting peace, in friendship, in empathy, in developing skills, in refining craft, in art. Does this sound like a load of hippy bulls**t to you?  Well I tell you this, every single moment that I have valued in my own life has been through one of those things.

There is a point in the film when two men working for the company that wants to explore for oil in the park express their incredulity that anyone could risk their life on behalf of a 'f***ing monkey.'  They cannot believe that anyone would value a gorilla above themselves.  If it is a question of saving a species over having a bigger house, a bigger car, power, influence, well, who in their right mind would choose the gorilla?  I WOULD!  I would give every single barrel of f***ing oil in the world if it meant that we could preserve that species.  What I struggle with is believing that anyone else could think otherwise.

Please do go and see the film and if you are clever, could you please work out how we can fix ourselves because we can't go on as we are much longer!

http://virungamovie.com/

Sunday, 26 October 2014

the river wins!

My Comic, 'the River,' has won the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Prize! You can read about it here:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/26/observer-cape-comica-graphic-short-story-prize-2014-rachel-cooke


Or read the whole story here...

Sunday, 15 June 2014

and Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, fathers!


Not sure how my dad will like being depicted as a giant gorilla...

...but it was supposed to invoke feelings of primal protection and care... not make him think he was big and hairy.  Besides, I think I'm bigger and hairier by now... but then, where do I get that from?

Oh, well! What can you do?  I love him, that's the point ^-^. 

It must be tough being a parent.

ELCAF

Viv and I had a stall at ELCAF over the weekend.  It was my first comics festival.  I was staggered by the numbers who came along.  Ok, Chris Ware was there but even so!  With audiences like that it is hard to understand why comics have such a small percentage of overall book sales in this country...

I very much regretted not having the poster I had been working on ready in time.  I came very close!   Oh well, it is done now and I will have it for the next event, whatever that might be.


Thanks to the organisers and everyone who helped to make it such a good day.

Friday, 6 June 2014

LAUNCH!

Jim's Lion is  launching at the Illustration Cupboard on Wednesday 11th of June from 5.30.

http://www.illustrationcupboard.com/exhibition_details.aspx?eId=229&ePage=0

come along if you are around!



Monday, 2 June 2014

Jim's Lion in the world

The time has come for Jim's Lion to be set loose in the world.  This is always a terrifying moment because although you try your hardest to make things as well as you can, you never quite know how people are going to react...  The good news is that Jim seems to be going down pretty well so far.  It was in the Times over the weekend and I just read one review that is quite possibly the best I've ever had:

http://www.thebookbag.co.uk/reviews/index.php?title=Jim%27s_Lion_by_Russell_Hoban_and_Alexis_Deacon

Thank you John Lloyd!  To read about someone understanding so completely what we were trying to do with this story makes me very, very happy.  It is everything you hope for when you set out to make a book.

I so hope this story does well.  It means a great deal to me personally for all sort of reasons...

In other news, there is going to be an official launch for Jim at The Illustration Cupboard on the evening of the 11th of June.  Please do come along if you are around:

http://www.illustrationcupboard.com/exhibition_details.aspx?eId=229&ePage=0

there will be artwork from the book on display and some for sale and you can buy copies of the book if you like!

Failing that I'll be at ELCAF the following weekend with plenty of copies of Jim in tow and perhaps a giant prehistoric diorama if I can get it done in time.  I'll also be doing a children's drawing workshop on the day (on the theme of evolution ^-^)

Hopefully see some of you there...