First the really good things. Comic creator Kate Brown has been awarded the graphic novel grant from the Arts Foundation Fellowship. This is the first time graphic novels have been included by the Fellowship (the other arts this year being cinematography, puppetry, textile art and jewellery design) and Kate is a very deserving recipient. Anyone opening up the first issue of The DFC would have seen her stunning work on Spider Moon and would have immediately understood why this new weekly comic was going to be so different and wonderful. If you missed it, her strip is being collected by David Fickling Books and will be available in April.
The second great thing is the impending publication by Blank Slate Books of Darryl Cunningham's Psychiatric Tales, compounded by the marvellous fact that Bloomsbury will be publishing it in the States. As I was reading parts of this book on Darryl's blog I remember thinking 'crikey, this could do really well', and I think it's going to. I've always thought that about Darryl's work - ever since reading his Uncle Bob adventures in Alchemist, and especially when reading his more recent Super Sam tales on the Forbidden Planet blog - I loved that so much that I sent it to Ben and David at The DFC and said they should be publishing him.
Both these stories are excellent news for British comics, and I'm really pleased to see two such talented writing-drawing comic creators get wider exposure for their work.
The bad part of this post is the news that legendary French comic creator Jacques Martin died in Switzwerland yesterday (21 January). He wasn't very widely known in the UK, (as far as I'm aware, only two of his Alix books were translated into English in the early seventies) but was a titan of Franco-Belgian comics, having worked as an assistant to Hergé and then going on to have his own work published in Tintin Magazine. While Alix was his biggest success, I was more drawn to the Lefranc books, though my lack of any recognisable French meant I had to make do with a very rudimentary comprehension of the stories - though that was good enough for me as the best I could get. I don't know if any of Martin's works are within the sights of Cinebook, but it would be wonderful if a wider acceptance of bande dessinée beyond Tintin and Asterix opened the door to that opportunity.