Friday, 15 August 2014

B*ll*cks! The chandeliers!

EDIT (21 August 2014)... some miserable oxygen thief has said the punchline to this strip suggests necrophilia. So since when do corpses call for help? Fuck's sake.

Friday, 8 August 2014

A bone of my own

Apologies if this offends anyone... but if you're easily offended, what are you doing here?!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Rave reviews for Up Yours!

Well, this is flattering! The kind of review you dream of getting... then, when it happens, it seems unreal. "The biggest mystery is WHY Turnock's work is so ignored in the UK? It's ridiculous." 

Over on Facebook, Dave Gordon (the British Manara) says "As a fan I would have liked any old stuff of his, but I wasn't prepared for the material within. Some of the stuff is so outrageously funny I can't recommend it enough, I almost choked on my coffee while reading What Pisses Him Off! Teenage Pervert is a superb insight into Lee himself while still keeping the gags coming. Cover to cover funny, Lee has outdone himself with his best comic yet...get yours or up yours!"

Just to remind you all... Up Yours! is available here, along with an absolute ton of other underground comix delights. If you've already bought a copy, buy two and get it in stereo!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Yes, I'm miserable. Yes, I hate hot weather. Deal with it.

There was once a time in my life when I tried to be a 'people person'. I wanted to travel, I used to write letters and trade mix tapes with friends, I used to love going to shows and gigs, I used to go into a room of strangers and try to make friends with everyone. I did stand-up, I played guitar and sang, I published my own comics and magazines.

Nowadays? I'm still in contact with one former pen-pal, because he knows what I like and don't like and doesn't piss me off by dribbling on and on about how 'amazing' some dickwipe of a band nobody gives two shits about are and how I really should be listening to them. Like me, this pen-pal hates pretty much everything and everyone. We share the opinion that ninety-nine percent of the people in the world, ourselves included, are total dicks. I stopped giving a shit about politics because it's all a bunch of power struggles and cock-stroking ego trips played out among people who were too ugly and / or psychotic to make it into showbusiness. I stopped going to shows and concerts because I didn't want to be stuck in a packed, smelly, sweaty room surrounded by the kind of people I'd avoid like the plague in any other circumstances, however good their taste in music was. I stopped listening to chart radio stations because the playlists were full of absolute wank and none of it sounded as good as the Who or Queen or Heart. I put the guitar away because I realised that, like the majority of people who pick up a guitar, I was never going to be a Pete Townshend or a Brian May or a Joe Bonamassa. I had enough of being promised things by absolute dickmules who neither had the means or the ability to deliver on their lofty ambitions. I was diagnosed depressive in the year 2000 and I accepted it. Sadly, other people can't accept it.

These people will not let me be miserable. They think they're funny by saying I'm 'the real life Forever Alone guy' and telling me I should 'get a life', even though their life consists of a tedious-as-fuck nine to five job and binge drinking at weekends. "Doing anything at the weekend?" No, nothing. Take your naive enthusiasm for life and shove it up your arse. Life is not some incredible gift granted to us by a supreme being that we should cherish every minute of. Life, as Eric Idle once said, really is a piece of shit. There is nothing wrong with 'wasting' vast swathes of your life watching downloaded episodes of George and Mildred or drawing silly comics for a handful of people who 'get' your humour.

The thought of going out and 'meeting new people' - who will inevitably be arseholes - fills me with absolute dread. As does hot weather. What is 'lovely' about sweating like a guilty pig in a sauna? What is 'gorgeous' about not being able to sleep at night? If one more shithead says 'you're so miserable' to me, my answer will be simple. My mood will improve when you FUCK OFF, so I suggest you do it.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Klam up!

Well, it had to happen. Here's where I destroy some of my own mythology (pfft!) and 'treat' you lucky people to my first attempt at a self-published comic, which started back in May 1993 and lasted five issues. Actually, that's not entirely true, because there was actually a pilot issue of Klam which was published late in 1992, and had the Blues Brothers on the cover, which I thought would be a nice, eye catching design. Obviously it wasn't because the handful of shops that sold it couldn't give the thing away, so that was a lesson learned.
Klam started properly in May 1993, with a much more Viz-like (or at the very least, Viz clone-like) cover and all one hundred copies sold out, a success story that repeated itself for the next three issues. Amazing, considering the contents were... crap, really. In a post on this excellent blog, I said I didn't really want to dwell on the days of Klam because it reminded me of a rather depressing time in my life, and now, thanks to the one poor sod out there who seems to have a complete collection (cheers, Doug!) I've been able to revisit these anti-classics and it's all come flooding back to me. So here, for the benefit of everyone who's asked about Klam and for enthusiasts of the lesser-known Viz clones everywhere, here's the shamefully incomplete story of one of the shoddiest of the lot!

Here's the cover. That black ballpoint scribble obviously isn't supposed to be there. Back in 1993, believe it or not, I considered myself such a hotshot that I had a business advisor and an agent, both of whom were about as much use as a concrete parchute... so their abilities were well-matched to my own at that point. Using the connections I'd made during my time as a contributor to Acne, Smut and Spit, I managed to call in a few favours to get Klam together... more of that later. My agent (who spent most of his time chasing prostitutes) looked through the proofs of the first issue, and he'd never seen Viz or any underground / alternative comics before, and the silly old sod warned me "you'll get sued for that... you'll get sued if you publish that... that'll get you sued." In the end, I changed Tony Slattery on the cover to Tony Twattery just to keep him happy. I made one other change which we'll get to in time. As for my business advisor, he was a laid-back American reformed hippie type who was totally disgusted that I was wasting my 'talent' on producing something he considered worthless. In case you hadn't already guessed, I didn't choose my 'people' wisely, and looking back, I'd have been better off without them... in fact, I did dispense with their services the following year. Anyway, here's the back cover...

Yeah, take that you damn young people! For the record I was nineteen in 1993. The yoof culture bashing continued inside...

The 'inspirtation' behind Teenager's World? A gang of proto-chavs were mildly rude to me outside a fish and chip shop. Pathetic, I know. Still, the nineties did mark a shift in youth culture that even at the time I violently disagreed with and I was already arse-deep in nostalgia for years gone by. While everyone else my age was listening to all that 'Madchester rave on' stuff I was listening to the Who, Alice Cooper, the Sweet and the Kinks. (Still am!) Beneath that, two single-tier strips from Phil Neill, then God Bothering Gordon, which proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that back in 1993 I could not fucking draw worth tuppence. I kind of knew how to lay out a comics page and make it vaguely presentable, but beyond that? Well... you decide!

Apologies for the poor quality of some of the scans in this article, but at least they reflect the standard of the material. District Councillor Denis was a blatant attempt at whipping up some sort of controversy (it worked for Viz!) but nobody took a blind bit of notice, in the event. Lucky really! Noncy Fletcher was based on an absolute donkey scrotum of a teacher from my secondary school. You'll notice I couldn't draw hands then either.

Back in 1993 I was still doing a lot of speed and I remember being mashed to the eyeballs whilst designing the title frame for Henry Rubette. Oddly enough, my aforementioned useless cunt of an agent didn't warn me that the Rubettes could have sued! I just chose the surname because it sounded none-more-seventies. The folks at Igor comic obviously thought so too! Blind Brent was based on a joke I overheard in a pub. (Well, isn't that obvious...)

Klam had Phil Neill's Maggie's Plaice before the Top Banana, so that kind of counts for something. Phil could draw sexy women better than I could back then. In fact, he could draw most things better than I could back then.

Bit of context - the early nineties marked the last gasp of the old-fashioned end of the pier variety shows on television and 'Programme Planning' is kind of a nod to that, complete with entirely ill-informed opinions about Ronnie Corbett and Ernie Wise, for which I apologise. I think they're both great. On the facing page, Tarquin's Friends is a parody of an absolute reeking shitheap of a film I hated with an ungodly passion. In fact, I had intended to call my parody something charming like 'Peter's Friends Are A Bunch Of Cunts And He's Got the Gay Plague' but once again my agent stepped in and advised me that (you've guessed it) I might get sued. Looking back, he did have a point. I think the original title was a bit much, even for me! Beneath that, something nice from Phil Neill whose work really does shine like golden nuggets in a mire of shite.

Here's a weird one. I was pre-empting the inevitable "Ha! Viz rip-off!" criticisms by doing a parody of a Viz rip-off called Smeg, only to be told later that there actually was a Viz clone in the shops called Smeg! It was the work of this chap and I've still never seen an actual copy of it anywhere. So, belated apologies for any confusion or offence caused.

I really, really fucking hated Lovejoy.


Victor the Vampire was a character I used to doodle at school and I revived him for Klam. This stuff really is embarrassing for me to look at now.

Well, that's it for Klam issue one. At the time, I remember thinking "Ha, I've actually written and drawn and published my own adult comic! It's in the shops! It's selling! This is a piece of cake!" Then it dawned on me that I'd have to repeat the trick every two months in order to get any kind of a regular, established readership... and that's when the shit hit the fan. I remember reading that Bill Griffith and Art Spiegelman were too high-strung and neurotic to keep the underground anthology Arcade going for more than six or seven issues, and I can certainly relate to that. Klam made it to five, after which I was burned out!

Here we go with issue two, July-August 1993. (Look, if you want to bail out now, feel free. Nobody would blame you. There are cat videos you could be watching.) A Year In Provence was a much-panned BBC series starring John Thaw. Very few people remember it or want to.

The Darling Buds of May was popular at the time. It was shit then and it's still shit. So there.

District Councillor Denis and a strip by a new contributor, Adam Weller. In those days Gary Glitter was seen as an amusing seventies novelty throwback rather than a monster. Weller did some good work for Klam but he was a lot more enthusiastic and go-getting than me. He was a couple of years older and seemed convinced that we could present ourselves to London publishers and tell them "Here we are, here's our comic Klam, make us rich". It may have been selling well in my neck of the woods (as well as shifting a fair few copies through mail order) but I looked at it as a bit of fun, not part of a grand career plan! I knew my work wasn't up to professional standard and any 'London publishers' would have laughed us right out of their poncy offices. Also, because Klam came out every two months, I found myself accepting and publishing a lot of stuff (including my own stuff) I wasn't crazy about, and Adam's 'Scary Old Newsagent' strips - about a camp and pervy newsagent who said things like "Hello, saucebox!" - was very much one of the strips I disliked (which is why you won't find any scans of it here), but ran it anyway because I hadn't got anything better to hand. Sorry Adam!

Gobsmacking misogyny and a strip based on someone I encountered on holiday in Devon, who became known to me and my father as 'pedal bin'. He entered the talent contest dressed in one of his wife's frocks with a big foam rubber cowboy hat on his head, and a pedal bin under his arm. He sang 'I am the music man' with the lyrics 'I can play the pedal bin, pedal bin, pedal bin'. To the best of my knowledge he didn't enjoy a showbusiness career outside of this little episode.

God Bothering Gordon and a bash at student rag mags. Student-bashing became a bit of a theme among adult comics and I was only too happy to join in. I tried to sell copies of Klam in the student bedsit area of town and in student pubs, usually without success.

My attempt at drawing a follow-on Maggie's Plaice strip and a couple of other short jokes.

Arnold Pan and Norman Whitelies. The latter was a variation on the Nicky Hunt character I drew for Acne. Arnold Pan was a conglomeration of every miserable, fickle, spoilt brat I knew at school.

Not very imaginative - rendering a policeman as a pig. Oh well, subtlety never was my calling card.

Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves was another of those 'everybody loves it' propositions. I did this whole two-pager one night, again whilst high on amphetamines. I'm glad those days are over, because as you can see, speed abuse did not go with creating a good (or even legible) comic strip.

A deliberate pop at my agent here - who pointed out that Stratocaster is a trade name and I could get sued blah blah. Come to think of it, Strat O'Caster would have been a better name for Henry Rubette rather than a generic 'totally inept virgin' character. Too late now, of course, and it's also too late to change that terrible "HA HA TEH GHEYS LOLZ!!!1!" ending.

More misogyny. Actually there's a sad story behind this one, which I'll cut short. A girl I was a bit too 'friendly' with at the time turned out to have five other boyfriends on the go as well as me, and this necessitated in me taking an AIDS test. This strip was drawn while I was waiting for the results which thankfully came back negative. Phil Neill pulls an otherwise terrible double-page spread out of the mire at the eleventh hour with an effortlessly funny quickie. God, I was a twat back in 1993.

We're up to Klam issue three now (sorry, no cover scan available but I think the back cover - reproduced above - is one of the highlights of the whole run!) and times were changing fast. It was the last issue to be handled by some miserable old cunting twat of a bastard the 'regular' printer who got cold feet over the content and refused to handle any more copies, so from issue four onwards Klam was reproduced at Prontaprint, who had no such reservations. Inside, it was business more or less as usual...

Terribly drawn but at least it has a beginning, a middle and an end.

Fun stuff from Adam Weller.

The Mary Whitehouse Experience
was absolutely HUGE at the time and all sorts of ridiculous claims were being made in the media about comedy being the new rock and roll and them being the new Monty Python and so forth. They still have their admirers but, well, fuck that with bells on. This fake tour advert was recycled as a free A3 giveaway poster in issue four.
And as if by magic...

A nice bonfire-themed cover for the fourth issue. The masthead is covered in sick because I was getting sick of the whole enterprise by now, hence the symbolic cat pissing against the M. Nonetheless, we just kept cranking it out...

Byron Bland and Little Bastard's worlds collide.

One of my favourite strips in all of Klam, borne out of my lifelong hatred of monochrome cunt Charlie Chaplin. The appearance of 'Rick Mael' has since acquired new layers of poignancy.

Noncy Fletcher again. And another lazy "HA HA HA HE'S TEH GHEY!!!1! LOLZ" punchline.

Changing the names of famous folk ("You'll get sued" - fuck off, John) in order to be scurrilous and rude was a trademark of Klam by now.

Arnold Pan rehashes the 'disappointing videos' routine from Bottom and Macauley Pumpkin provides a swipe at shitty American sitcoms. I actually only used to watch Empty Nest on Channel Four for two reasons, and here they are, either side of Richard Mulligan...

Where was I? Oh yes...Wacko Wilko took over from Strat O'Caster (who didn't disappear completely) as the token 'crap lad' character.

Which brings us to the final issue, sales of which were shockingly low. Even the shops that usually sold out of Klam found it hard to even give this one away. Either the readers had eventually caught on or this cover design put them off...

Well, come on, would you want to be seen buying a magazine with an elderly transvestite on the cover, shouting "Happy new year, sauce-box"? Exactly. Plus, the contents overall were pretty poor, and looking back I think it's pretty obvious the game was up.

Not a lot happens in this Little Bastard strip, but it takes two pages for it not to happen.

And finally, Wellard the Guard lets rip with another "why today stinks!" diatribe.

Another reason Klam had to end... my mother was terminally ill by this stage (she died in December '94) and most of my time was taken up with her care. By the time I had enough free time on my hands to resume cartooning, the climate had changed. Viz was no longer big news and its own sales were slipping fast. Independent newsagents and shops were vanishing fast as the high street juggernauts took over. As I found out when I returned to the small press scene with Breakdown in 2002, there wasn't even any guarantee that dedicated comic shops would sell your stuff any more! So three cheers for the internet, the cancer cell that will destroy capitalism from within, that's what I say!

So there you have it, the Klam story, and I've just blown a sunny afternoon telling it. Hopefully that's put any remaining mystery or interest in this tatty title to rest and now we can all look forward to my new stuff!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Service with a snarl!

Introducing my take on Rob Filth's character, Ivor Pryce-Steeper...

Monday, 7 July 2014

Learning from the masters

Regular readers will be aware that I have had my fair share of spats over the years with the cancer of the internet, largely due to members who take it upon themselves to tell me that my comics are terrible, I'm not funny, my work is shit, I'm wrong about everything and accuse me of being a paedophile, then they have the nerve to tell me that I'm 'the most mental cunt on the internet' and a possible psychopath.

Firstly, I did stand-up comedy for a while. I quickly realised that I was shit, and packed it in. I haven't dabbled in stand-up since 1994, and I'd rather put a campfire out using only my genitals than attempt the craft again. Got all that? Good. Now let's continue.

One of the earliest naysayers was 'Jemble Fred', who had this to say about a comic strip I posted on the forum...

"I'm STAGGERED at the amount of people now who've said the artwork's anything less than okay-ish. It's great penmanship and shading etc, but the actual standard of cartooning and character design is utterly, utterly pedestrian. I could do better, and I don't rate myself as a cartoonist at all, I'm a scribbler."

I took exception to the 'utterly, utterly pedestrian' part, and Cook'd and Bomb'd responded with deadening predictability, turning the phrase into a depressing, overused meme.

Jemble Fred, by the way, is a 'comedy expert' (he's had books published) who sees nothing iffy in the fact that he describes Spike Milligan's television work as 'appalling' and that Benny Hill made him feel sick.

With that in mind, let's have a quick look at Jemble in action with his comedy troupe...

Well, what can I say? Performing Rutles numbers very badly on ukulele after bellowing at the crowd like an even posher and more arrogant Rufus Hound... there's comedy gold right there!

Now be serious. Was the above demonstration of comic mastery anywhere close to the standard of this?

Spike Milligan - Laugh At A Cretin (1982)

Was it as charming and as inventive as this?

Benny Hill - Ernie (1971)

Another naysayer is one Ben Baker, who has been griping about yours truly on Twitter...

When Ben's not on Twitter pissing and moaning about how lonely he is and generally being about as funny as being fisted by the robot on the cover of Queen's News of the World album, this is his 'jam'...

This looks fun, right kids?

Here's Ben's drawing of Danger Mouse and Penfold, from his Tumblr feed. I don't have kids, but if I did, and one of them presented me with this, that would be the end of their pocket money. In fact, I'd put them up for adoption.

 Then there's Pete Prodge, who was briefly friends with me on Facebook, until I realised that I couldn't be bothered to read shit like this lazily cut-and-pasted from a blog nobody gives a rat's cock about on a daily basis, so I reluctantly defriended him. He took this pretty badly and started slagging me off on Twitter.

Prodge also fancies himself as a stand-up comedian, and has posted one of his performances to YouTube. So, let's have a gander, shall we?

"I am to stand-up what Stephen Hawking is to standing up." Never a truer word spoken.

Prodge decided to get some kind of revenge by digging up some stupid crap from ages ago. This led to a series of exchanges with someone calling themselves 'Hippy Chick'...

PRODGE : I hold controversial opinions, but not every controversial opinion counts as trolling.

Just to illuminate this startlingly original observation, he continues...

There's a sharp difference between "Ed Sheeran's music makes me want vomit up my spine" and "I hope Ed Sheeran gets AIDS and dies!!!!". I'd say the former, but wouldn't say the latter... I guess technically I have said it here of course, but of course it's a made-up example of something I would disown.

A real charmer, isn't he?

He continues...

I've faced anonymous threats in the past, but I've always refused to let them intimidate me. I keep records, I'll involve the police where necessary or even just do the detective work myself. I've managed to uncover a few anonymous trolls taking pot-shots at me, and they scuttle off when they discover I've got their details. It's especially rewarding when I can cite the laws they've broken.

Yeah, because the internet is serious fucking business. You can read more here.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Do you still think I was harsh on Rolf Harris?

Meanwhile, two members of the cancer of the internet call bullshit on the sudden, entirely predictable but essentially harmless craze for 'amusing' photoshops of Rolf Harris, conveniently neglecting to mention the fact that one of them found a harrowing NSPCC campaign amusing, and that mentioning 'Fred Emney Picks A Pop' over and over again isn't remotely fucking amusing by any stretch of the imagination.

And this has been re-Tweeted sixteen times by other boring people. 

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

"Take your fucking hands away from me"

Further to yesterday's blog post, and doesn't it look like Debbie Greenwood is thinking these exact words as Rolf Harris demonstrates 'inappropriate touching'?

Monday, 30 June 2014

Can you tell what it is yet?

Well, this is a strange sensation. For the first time in my life, it seems, I can speak my mind about Rolf Harris without people acting all shocked and saying "Noooo! You can't say that about Rolf, he's lovely!"

I liked Rolf myself, once. I wasn't the biggest of fans, but I appreciated the fact that there was at least one cartoonist who'd also managed to carve out a television career, and had proven that it was okay to make a living out of doing something a lot of people (who really should know better) considered it a frivolous or childish hobby and not worthy of someone's ambitions. When Harris sat behind a drawing board, linking classic MGM and Warner Brothers cartoons by drawing likenesses of the characters whilst doing a running commentary, I - along with thousands of other kids, I'll bet - sat there thinking "Wow! He gets paid for doing that! Maybe being a responsible grown-up does have its perks, after all!"

Then, sometime back in the early nineties, I got a taste of the dark side of Rolf Harris for myself. I approached the artist sometimes known as Jake the Peg outside a West End theatre and went to shake hands with him - I wasn't drunk or bugging him or anything, I just wanted to introduce myself to a fellow cartoonist - and he growled "Take your fucking hands away from me" before turning his back. Not the biggest crime in the world, and he may have been having an off-day, but I was shocked all the same. 

Now it's the wider world's turn to be shocked. Just to help things along, here's a doodle of a thankfully deceased necrophile, paedophile and all round whacking great cunt as lovingly etched by Rolf himself. Yes, this is genuine.