March 19, 2015, Posted by Mr Book in Books, Comics, Uncategorized

Comic Week: A taste of The Phoenix

As comic week continues, today we have a look at The Phoenix, an awesome weekly comic story. Have a browse, and check out more of their stuff at 


Don’t forget to check out this great blog piece by Neill Cameron, or take a look at some cultural highlights from the Etherington Brothers

March 18, 2015, Posted by Paddy Johnston in Books, Comics

Comic Week: 5 highly influential cartoonists

Tom originally asked me to write about the five most influential cartoonists of all time for Comic Week, but I decided to change the focus slightly.

I’m always wary of making suggestions towards a canon, but I also didn’t want to imply that any other cartoonists were more influential than Tom himself, as the creator of Mr Book. So I thought a better and more interesting post would be one about five cartoonists who have been influential on my own comics. Some are well-known, some are not so well-known, but all have absolutely floored me with their comics in one way or another, and have changed the way I approach comics as a cartoonist…

Michel Rabagliati

rabagliati© Michel Rabagliati

Michel Rabagliati writes and draws elegant, poignant graphic novels about growing up in Québec, told through his avatar, Paul. Michel Rabagliati taught me the true extent of how writing from life, but providing slight distance with fictionalization, can make for a really emotionally resonant comic. Paul has been called “The Tintin of Québec”, and Rabagliati’s art owes some debt to Hergé, but is a unique style, fitting well with his unique vision of Québec.

Kate Beaton

beaton © Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton’s Hark! A Vagrant was one of the first webcomics I got really into. As an undergraduate student at the time, I appreciated the mixing of highbrow literary references and historical figures with bawdy humour and acerbic wit, and Beaton’s visual style inspired me to pick up the pen and have a go myself. She continues to go from strength to strength today, with two books on the way this year.

Michael DeForge

DeForge-625x311© Michael DeForge

Michael DeForge combines elements of sublime visual horror, slacker comedy and bizarre surrealism in a truly unique way. His comics really opened me up to the medium’s potential for expressing universal and accessible ideas in very extreme ways, and of the medium’s potential, which appears limitless in his hands.

Meredith Gran

octopuspie© Michael DeForge

Meredith Gran’s Octopus Pie was the first long-form webcomic I got into, waiting eagerly for the next page to be uploaded, obsessing over the lives of the characters as they navigate life in Brooklyn. It showed me that the web could provide the platform for a longer form narrative, to be collected later in book form, and taught me a lot about shades and toning, on the visual side.

Ethan Rilly

rilly © Ethan Rilly

The best cartoonist you’ve never heard of. Seriously. Not being on Twitter and releasing comics only sporadically, Ethan Rilly flies below the radar, but in my opinion he’s one of the most important cartoonists working today. There’s a new issue of his series, Pope Hats, due to be released this year, and I can’t wait. Pope Hats taught me about the importance of finding your own voice, and of the significance of doing things on your own terms as an indie cartoonist.

Thanks to Paddy for a great piece, and check out his awesome work at

March 17, 2015, Posted by Mr Book in Books, Comics

Comic Week: Neill Cameron on why they’re awesome

As part of our special comic week, Neill Cameron, comic creator for The Phoenix and author of How to Make Awesome Comics and Pirates of Pangaea, explains why comics are just awesome…

On Comics, Maturity, and Farting Robots

Comics are a serious art formfor respectable grown-ups. We know this because for the last 30 years, since the successes of creators like Alan Moore (Watchmen) and Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns), the press has documented the growth of comics for adults – given a veneer of respectability by cunningly rebranding as Graphic Novels – with a seemingly endless round of news stories excitedly informing us that, as the by this point extravagantly clichéd headline puts it: “Bam! Pow! Comics aren’t just for kids any more!”

What got lost a bit in this decades-long rush for Maturity and Seriousness was the fact that, you know what, actually, comics are for kids. You can tell, they have robots in and farting and everything.

MRB ep17 excerpt

I’ve loved comics ever since I was old enough to hold a pencil. I’m a bit too young to remember the heyday of weekly comics in this country, when every newsagent’s shelves bulged under the weight of a staggering line-up ofBattles and Actions and Valiantsvying for dominance with Jintys and Tammys and Mistysand you couldn’t swing a cat without igniting a fierce argument about whether the cat was a Whizz-Kid or a Chip-Ite. But there was still a lot of choice, and I grew up loving the Beano and Oink and Transformers and 2000AD and generally spending most of the week counting the days till Saturday morning.

There’s something very special about what comics can give to kids – mind-blowing artwork and thrilling stories that pull you joyfully into reading and make it something cool and fun and exciting – but also the sense that they give you a whole world. A private world, a world that gets to live on in your head in that deliciously agonising weeklong wait between issues. And a world that spills out onto paper when you try to fill that long week by picking up a pencil and drawing your own. The ease of imitability and sheer fun of comics naturally encourages kids to have a go themselves, developing their literacy skills and artistic abilities without it ever seeming like work, because they’re having too good a time drawing robots farting to notice. That’s what comics gave me in my childhood, and I’m incredibly happy that I get to pass that on and give it to the young people who read my comics today.

So, sure, comics aren’t just for kids any more. But, in a world increasingly full of Batman videogames you have to be 18 to play and ‘dark and edgy’ reimaginings of characters that once belonged to 9-year-olds, perhaps we ought to remember that they shouldn’t be just for grown-ups, either.

PoP FINAL Cover Design 150dpi

Neill Cameron is comic creator for The Phoenix and author of How to Make Awesome Comics and Pirates of Pangaea (David Fickling Books, £8.99). Follow him on Twitter: @neillcameron

March 16, 2015, Posted by Mr Book in Books, Comics

Comic Week: The Etherington Brothers’ Cultural Picks

This week is comic week on MWSAB, and to kick us off we’ve got the mighty Etherington brothers, Lorenzo and Robin, picking out some of their cultural highlights…

And keep an eye out for more great comic content coming later this week.


Lorenzo: I tend to have favourite songs as opposed to favourite bands, at the moment my late night sessions at the drawing board are accompanied by 2-Player Co-Op by Danny Wiessner, Wicked Games by Parra for Cuva and Anna Naklab, and Love Like This by Wild Belle.

Robin: The Chemical Brothers. Twenty years at the top of their game, seven unique albums, a killer soundtrack to the film Hanna, and the pair continue to find new ways to make great music that transcends the dance genre.


Lorenzo: Picking a favourite artist is like picking a favourite Coco Pop, though you can’t really go wrong with Earl Oliver Hurst, in particular his covers for Collier’s and Home in the ’40s.

Robin: Albert Uderzo. The thirteen book run from Asterix and the Golden Sickle to Asterix in Spain is some of the most consistently brilliant cartooning I’ve ever seen.


Lorenzo: Who Framed Roger Rabbit. If I need to explain why, you’ll never understand.

Robin: So hard. If I’m not buried in books I’m watching movies. There’s a dozen vying for the top spot but I’ll go with Raiders of the Lost Arc. Just flawless fun. And LA Confidential. A stunning reworking of a superb book. And Open Range. And Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And The Untouchables. And on and on and on. I’m not committing to this list! I can’t and I won’t!


Lorenzo: The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie. Rushdie’s sixth novel, and in my opinion his finest.

Robin: The Gun Seller by Hugh Laurie remains a firm favourite. As does anything from the satirical pen of Christopher Brookmyre. I’ll always have a soft spot for Spares, One of Us and Only Forward by Michael Marshall Smith, and the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons remains the most startling piece of science fiction I’ve ever encountered.

4 and 5 low res


Lorenzo: I have nothing but love for Richard L. Breen, his characterisation and nuance in writing dialogue that stings and sings is unrivalled.

Robin: I’m breaking the rules and picking two. Rene Goscinny for the best of Asterix and the best of Lucky Luke, and Terry Pratchett for pretty much everything.


Lorenzo: Courgetti with red chilli and lemon juice. Must be stir fried in coconut oil. Great by itself, but it also goes with pretty much everything.

Robin: Everything! I live to eat! A perfect porterhouse steak, plump, medium-raw verging on the bloody, is pretty hard to beat. Especially with a rich peppercorn sauce and a Jenga pile of fat chips.


Lorenzo: It’s got to be a Caipirinha, though you need to make it with good quality cane sugar and proper Brazillian Cachaça, my favourite brand of which is Pirapora. Make sure your limes are fresh, and roll them around the chopping board a few times before juicing to get the most out of them.

Robin: Everything! If I’m not eating, I’m probably drinking. But let’s keep that steak in mind a pick either a pint of honey pale ale or a large glass of red wine, rich and warming.


Lorenzo: There’s a little cafe in Prague called Mezi Zrnky that I’d go to every day if it wasn’t 787 miles away.

Robin: The mountains. Anywhere in the world but the French Alps are my spiritual second home.

Long Gone Don_web_large

THE ETHERINGTON BROTHERS are the creators of Long Gone Don and much, much more. Check out their blog HERE, and give them a follow on Twitter: @EtheringtonBros