Swarte in flowers

Dutch clear line illustrator and designer Joost Swarte has had some projects with unusual mediums before (tableware, stained class windows, you name it), but this one is really a first.

During the annual Bloemencorso (or Flower Parade), held in the flower-growing districts of Holland, one of the floats celebrated 150 year of theatre in the city of Haarlem. A second float focused on the 50 year anniversary of the Toneelschuur theatre in Haarlem, and was designed by Joost Swarte.

The colours may be a little off-brand for Swarte, but his hand is very obvious in the design of the characters.

(via Joost Swarte Blog, pictures © BlikOp Nederland)

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Robbedoes supports the Red Cross

Every year in April, the Belgian Red Cross organises a funding drive, during which volunteers ask motorists for contributions at traffic lights and road crossings. For 5 Euros they can buy a bumper sticker featuring a favourite television or comic character. In the past stickers were published with Tintin, Astérix and Lucky Luke, and also local luminaries like Kiekeboe and de Rode Ridder.

This year’s model was designed by Flemish cartoonist Charles Cambré and features the characters from the long-running Robbedoes series, as Spirou is known in Dutch, including de Rommelgem count, Kwabbernoot, IJzerlijm and Spip. Together with writer Marc Legendre, Cambré is also the artist of the (as yet) Dutch-only spinoff, Robbedoes Special, which currently counts two titles (that weren’t half bad, actually).

(Robbedoes © Dupuis, 2017)

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Dan Clowes celebrates Superman

On April 14, Dan Clowes’ birthday, and with only months to go to Superman’s 80th birthday, Clowes’ official Twitter presence posted this unpublished strip.

Only Clowes would imagine a Kryptonian birthday to be a day for “sober, clear-eyed accounting of our sorrows and frailties that we may clear the way for an ever-deepening self-knowledge”… Still, happy birthday, Dan!

(Via The Daniel Clowes Reader)

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The Rite of Spring

It’s spring (at last)! And to celebrate the season of new youthful energy, Tom Gauld created a nice cover for the New Yorker featuring all the sounds that spring to mind, from bird sounds to Vivaldi. If you click through to the magazine’s website, you can hear the actual fragments that Gauld’s referencing in the speech bubbles.

(artwork by Tom Gauld © 2018 Condé Nast. All rights reserved)

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Rube Goldberg lives!

It is clear to me – comic genius Rube Goldberg‘s spirit is alive and well, and has taken possession of Joseph Herscher. But whereas Goldberg used the popular visual medium of his day, the newspaper comic strip, to promote his inventions, Herscher plans to take the world by storm via his brilliant YouTube channel, Joseph’s Machines. Seeing his contraptions at work only adds to the fun.

It goes without saying that he’s from Brooklyn.

(via Chris on Facebook)

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Science stamps

There seems to be inherently nerdy about stamps and stamp collecting, and back in the 1960, when the world was strictly divided into jocks and nerds, stamps were lumped together with comics and science into the nerd corner.

The ultimate expression of this sentiment must be this obscure newspaper strip that Allan Holtz of the excellent blog, Strippers Guide recently unearthed. Jet Swift And His Science Stamps was a short-lived true fact strip by Art Radebaugh, created after his previous regular feature, Closer Than We Think was cancelled.

It is a strange strip, or rather, a clunky collage of panels that are shaped as stamps, each with a pixie-like narrator explaining what the image shows. It didn’t last long, but it has a strange rarity quality to it.

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Comic moguls read the Economist

France has comics in its DNA, and so it’s no surprise that students at the Paris art direction and design school ESAG Penninghen came up with a campaign for leading economy magazine The Economist featuring comics’ most famous capitalist moguls, Mr Burns (The Simpsons), Scrooge Mc Duck (or Picsou, as they will probably know him) and “billionaire in jeans” Largo Winch from Philippe Francq and Jean Van Hamme’s BD series of the same name.

The artwork seems to be largely swiped from the original sources, but at least they made sure that characters’ chairs match their styles.

(via Ads of the World)

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Peanuts Fashion

Some five years ago I met a woman in a department store who wore a summer dress with a comics print that looked as if it had been lifted from Love and Rockets (or 100 Bullets, the jury is still out). The print was bold, with heavy blacks that were placed in an articulate equilibrium, but was clearly secondary to the quite elegant cut of the actual dress.

I was reminded of this when I was this shirt presented on the Nordstrom website (it’s sold out in the mean time).  The same idea, but executed without even a shred of inspiration. It’s as if five lines of Peanuts images were cut out of a newspaper, and printed at random, without any regard to visual effect. From a distance, this shirt is a jumble of greys, and up close it will distract from the wearer as people will want to read your chest. And at $ 150, that’s hardly peanuts.

(if you want Peanuts on your clothes, go for the bold Kaws designs that Uniqlo is currently running, which are much neater and will only set you back 10 bucks…)

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Happy easter with Tintin

Today is Easter, the day when Christians the world over celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ and children hunt for chocolate eggs. It’s a clear sign of how times have changed: I feel somehow obliged to explain what Easter is, in the 1960 it was as much part as the average Tintin reader as eating breakfast and, probably, going to church on Sunday. And so they were treated to special Easter issues, with splendid covers by the Studios Hergé.

Happy Easter, everybody! And go easy on the chocolate…

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Gaston’s Desk — Now you can have your own!

One of the most endearing aspects of 50s and 60s Franco-belgian comics magazines like Spirou and Tintin is the fact that they were not just a collection of serialised comic albums, but rather all-round children’s periodicals. In addition to the newest adventures of “all your favourite heroes”, they contained regular columns on hobbies, technology, science and history, pen pal services and, most particularly, do it yourself projects.

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