U.K. comics and the London Olympics: the aftermath
The Olympics are over, and London returns to normal. Surveying the Twitter feeds and blogs of that city’s comics creators, we see a very mixed reaction to the Games of the XXX Olympiad. Some loved it, others hate sports so much they fled the city for the duration, and some cynical souls were total converts after Danny Boyle’s epochal Opening Ceremony. Here’s a selection of reactions from U.K. comics folk.
Did you know there’s a Rich Johnson as well as a Rich Johnston? Rather than being a wispy bearded gossip-monger, the man we’ll call The Other Rich is a teacher-turned-cartoonist, influenced by the tradition of the great DC Thomson comic anthologies The Beano and The Dandy. I loved the work he produced as the nation got swept up in euphoria and expectation. His Bradley Wiggins tribute, the Wigbot (above), reminds me of the joke that originated after the Beijing Olympics: the British are good at any sport that involves sitting — cycling, rowing, sailing — but not so much the other stuff.
Darryl Cunningham deserves to be much more recognized internationally. His work alternates between creating crusading non-fiction strips with the ability to quietly break your heart to more action/adventure-based strips that start as conventional genre work but then take all kinds of twists as they follow their own Freudian/Lynchian dream logic. Your enjoyment of his one panel gag reaction to the tournament will be enhanced by perusing the webcomics of Liz Lunney. “Depressed Cat wins gold for sighing.”
Behind the national euphoria and the crowded Olympic Park, there were plenty of reports that the rest of London was deserted, A “ghost town,” according to some journalists (I’d link to the Financial Times, but its content is hidden behind a paywall). John Freeman’s news blog Down The Tubes reports that recent times have been particularly hard on London’s Cartoon Museum, with recent high-profile events in the city having a negative rather than beneficial effect on business. It sounds like it needs support more than ever, so there’s a potential day out for anyone wondering how to keep the kids amused during the last weeks of the school holidays.
U.K. comics polymath Steve Cook cleared out of his East End abode for the duration of the games, reporting back on his blog from a tour of European cities. He made it back home for the last night, with his photographs taken from just a few streets away providing totally conclusive evidence that UFOs were closely observing the closing ceremony.
Of course, the closing of the Olympics also means it’s the imminent start of the Paralympic Games. The arts festival linked to the games will feature the exhibition Niet Normaal, which includes some fantastically sarcastic superhero pastiches by the artist Andrew Tunney (check out his Tumblr to see more, and read the explanation of the work, which might otherwise seem a touch tasteless) (via the always-essential FPI blog).