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Badgers, those humble burrowing mammals, are big news right now here in the United Kingdom, where there’s a controversial cull going on in the southwest of England in an attempt to curb bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds. While other areas like Wales and Northern Ireland trial expensive attempts at vaccinating badgers, England is employing teams of marksmen to shoot the cute little buggers. I’m from a rural area where the local economy depends on dairy and beef production, so I know exactly where I stand on this subject. Not wanting to sound too heartless here, but it costs £600 to vaccinate a badger, while a bullet costs a few pence. And I do like a nice rib-eye steak washed down with a glass of milk.
Oddly enough, badgers seem to be having something of a moment in comics and pop culture these days, too: There’s Brock Blueheart in Fables, and Archie LeBrock in Bryan Talbot’s ongoing Grandville series, for starters. Depending on who you ask, the badger in book two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was either Bill from the (90-plus years old, and still ongoing) newspaper strip Rupert the Bear or Mr. Badger from Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Grahame’s Mr. Badger is being reimagined in Dave Elliot and Barnaby Bagenda’s “Weirding Willows” in A1 as Victor Stoker. The gossip service Popbitch has its ongoing Baboon vs Badger debate (and recently posed the question to Bryan Talbot, with obvious results).
Maurice Sendak, the trailblazing author and illustrator whose books enchanted, inspired and terrified generations of children, died this morning in a Danbury, Connecticut, hospital following a stroke, The New York Times reports. He was 83.
Best known for his 1963 dark fantasy Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak defied convention, rejecting the innocent subject matter that marked saccharine picture books of the era and instead embracing sharp-toothed monsters, unruly protagonists and childhood fears.
“I don’t write for children,” the outspoken author said in his memorable January appearance on The Colbert Report (watch the two-part interview below). “I write, and somebody says, ‘That’s for children.’ I didn’t set out to make children happy, or make life better for them, or easier for them.”