Category Archives: Parodies

The Gruffalo: An Analogy On the Nature Of Celebrity – A Little Literature Review

The Gruffalo is a children’s book by writer and playwright Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. The book was initially published in 1999 by Macmillan Children’s Books as a 32-page hardback edition. It is aimed at children aged three to seven, is about 700 words long and is written entirely in rhyming couplets.

The simplistic story follows a little brown Mouse who, during a walk through the woods to fetch some sustenance, avoids being eaten by various ravenous woodland creatures by misleading them with tales of a fantastic monster which he is on his way to meet. The twist in the story is that the monster, the titular Gruffalo, appears and has designs on eating the Mouse himself. The Mouse adds to his fabrications by insisting the Gruffalo should fear him, returning to the other characters to show them the beast and watch them run in fear for their lives. The Gruffalo is not privy to the knowledge that his reputation precedes him and so is led to believe Mouse is the source of the other creatures discomposure. The Gruffalo relents in his desire to devour Mouse and returns to the woods, Mouse is left to enjoy the nut feast he had aspired to.

On the surface, The Gruffalo is an innocent tale of good triumphing over evil. On closer inspection, the story is an scathing analogy of the corrupt nature of celebrity, media and how one can ultimately achieve one’s goals only through deceit.

Where Donaldson succeeds is in her creation of an every-man character in the Little brown Mouse. An every-mouse, if you will. We meet the nameless character partly on his voyage, we are given no back story or character traits. He is a blank canvas on which we, as readers, can project our own personality. We have no cognition of his motivation for the tarriance through the woods, if he has a family or even a home. We are simply told he is on a journey, on which later he sees the chance to dine on a delicious nut. The nut represents the success and stability that we all crave in life, his sojourn through the woodland can only be seen as the transition to maturity and the creatures he encounters represent the hardships of modern day life.

Fox is the first creature to cross paths with our hero. Mouse knows Fox will attempt to outwit him and, doubtless, kill him. Fox attempts to engage in conversation with Mouse, but the dialogue is laced with his personal characteristics. He is cunning, a trait we have yet to see in the innocent Mouse. However, Mouse accepts the trait into his own personality, constructing a lie about an impending synergistic encounter with a colossal beast, the fictional Gruffalo, to cause Fox to flee with trepidation. Fox has no reason to question this, as he has offered Mouse dinner in his own home, knowing full-well that he is intent on eating the rodent himself. He has lied, misjudging Mouse to be innocent and pure in heart. When Mouse retaliates with a bigger lie, Fox is conditioned to accept all he says without interrogation.

Mouse then encounters the dexterously deceiving Snake, whose consummate desires and actions mirror Fox. Mouse proactively adopts a similar strategy, concocting more prefabrication and detail to his pre-existing untruth. Mouse has realised here that the only way to acquire success and defeat your enemies is through the mastery their own skills. By turning their own character traits against them, he will always win. They are weak-minded, devious characters, who have instigated the situation by revealing their own false claims of inviting Mouse to dinner.

Finally Mouse encounters his most natural foe, Owl. Owl is a notoriously erudite creature, here he is using wisdom to prey on what he perceives to be a fatuitous mouse. Mouse’s past experiences have inculated behavioural instinct, and it’s through the experiences we face growing up that shape us as an individual. Mouse is the product of his surroundings, his encounters with the malicious creatures have shaped him into a cunning survivalist. He now knows that in order to gain success, he has to lie and cheat his way to the top. Mouse demonstrates the corruption of the youth and that society is built for the good to fail. Had Mouse had remained untainted and innocent, he would certainly have lost his life.

It is now that the decidedly self-satisfied Mouse encounters the Gruffalo. The monster represents the lies Mouse has told manifesting before him. The untruths we tell will always come back to haunt us.

It is here that the underlying theme shifts to the quest for fame as well as fortune. Mouse realises that he has pre-warned the other woodland creatures of the ferocity and appearance of the Gruffalo. He has created a preordained awareness in the mindset of the other animals, and thus created a need for this creature to appear. Mouse informs the creature that he himself is in fact the most terrifying animal in the wood, a terrible falsehood which the Gruffalo rightly questions, believing the opposite to be true. As evidence of his claim, Mouse returns to the woods, encountering all the foes he had met previously, introducing them to the mythical beast he subjacently informed them of . Mouse is essentially taking advantage of the fame – the beast – he has created from nothing, he has lied about his own credentials and his relationship with the Gruffalo in order to create a reputation for himself.

The animals fear the now-infamous Gruffalo and run in terror, undoubtedly to spread the legend of this monster to all the other creatures in the wood. Mouse has acted as an agent for the creature’s fame, a catalyst of infamy.

The monster himself is a metaphor for the very essence and nature of fame. He is gigantic and all consuming, his size far outweighs Mouse in a figurative and literal sense. Fame, as a concept, is removed from the individual, it becomes an entity of expectation of the subject. The Gruffalo’s fame precedes his actual being and he has become a celebrity because of it. Mouse markets fame to fuel his own desire. The Gruffalo is pure fantasy, but through Mouse’s increasingly detailed marketing and P.R campaign he has come into being.

The lie was told so often and with such relish that Mouse, and all around him, came to believe it was the truth. The line between reality and fantasy has been crossed and Mouse has to deal with his own self promotion. This is undoubtedly a bitter attack on the nature of the Media in society. How a fabricated story, based on no hard evidence, can instantly explode beyond it’s original concept to become accepted as fact. The populace trust the media and will believe what they are told, the media exploits this to create demand and celebrity.

The conclusion of the story revolves around the Gruffalo retreating to the woods in fear of Mouse. He is fearful of what Mouse has become. Mouse no-longer needs the crutch of his lies as his fiction has, to all round him, become fact. He is famous. Mouse now lives in a celebrity world of his own creation and to the victor, the spoils. Mouse is left to enjoy the success he craved when first we met him, the nut.

“And the nut, was good”.

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Filed under Little Literature Review, Parodies, The Gruffalo

Pat Cancer: The Big Brother Specials

When my close personal showbiz pal, Pat Cancer creator and star Chris R Wright, unexpectedly entered the Big Brother house earlier this year I decided to keep our Pat Cancer comics going to drum up support and keep the character alive.

As Chris himself usually writes the strip I recruited a series of willing guest writers and we bashed out a few strips on the theme of the show.

Below are all the Pat Cancer Big Brother specials. Three were written by Chris’ chum and Stalled, Freak Out, Small Town Folk & Mug-Bop co-star – Mr Movies himself – “Quirky” Dan Palmer.

Chris’ actual real life big brother, Nick Wright, was coaxed out of hiding to write one and school pal, Beano artist and all round funnyman, Andy Fanton provided the finale.

There’s one mildly offensive one by myself in there too for good measure…

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Pat Cancer BB 2

Pat Cancer BB 3

Pat Cancer BB 4Pat Cancer BB 4Pat BB 6 A huge thank you to all the Chris fans on the Chris R Wright To Win Big Brother Facebook page and to both @ChrisRWrightBB and @CHRISTOWINBBUK on Twitter for all the support. Thanks also to all Chris’ fans for all the likes and retweets and finally a great big THANK YOU to all the writers involved – (plus an apology that I didn’t get time to use all the fantastic scripts they sent!)

As well as blogging and drawing the Pat strips, I also knocked up a few campaign posters for CRW, which you can see below – click the posters to see the originals!

Wright Night 2

ElmStreet

Beastie Boys

Hard Days Wright

WrightThing

Shitty Woman

With Big Brother over and Chris back in the real World, Pat Cancer will return to ‘normal’ soon, unless he enters the Celebrity Big Brother house of course, but that would never happen… 

Chris Logo 2

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Filed under Andy Fanton, Big Brother, Chris R Wright, Dan Palmer, Parodies, Pat Cancer

Shark Infested Beano

It’s the school summer holidays, which means The Beano is packed with even more laughs than usual! This week it comes with five special gifts – a ‘Where’s Dennis?’ Poster, a pea shooter, some sweets, some stickers and some trading cards.

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The Beano – £2.99 in newsagents now!

Plus there’s the usual menacing mayhem from all the Beanotown regulars: Dennis The Menace is bowled over, it’s just not Cricket for Billy WhizzMinnie The Minx is behaving herself for once, there’s boxing clever in The Bash Street Kids, Bananaman takes the Bananamobile for a test drive, Tricky Dicky has his bubble burst and Roger The Dodger finds the piano is not his forte.

There’s also a four page sporting special featuring all the Beano gang in ‘The No Common Sense Games’, a Monster Truck Mayhem wordsearch, a colouring page, Tricky Dicky’s School Pranks, How To Make An X-Wing Fighter from stationary and a Menacecraft Spot The Difference.

My involvement this week comes through writing duties on Hunt Emerson’s  Little Plum, in a strip called Baby-Face Bravo (as it’s loosely based on the film Rio Bravo) and Barrie Appleby’s  Gnasher & Gnipper in Gnaws!

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Gnaws: We’re gonna need a bigger Beano.

There’s more fin-tastic shark-related laughs in The Beano soon, as I stood in on writing duties while Bash Street School is closed for the summer. Look out for The Bash Street Kids in Jaws 5 toward the (shark) tail end of summer!

The Beano is available in Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Asda and all good newsagents now, priced £2.99.

The Beano and The Dandy Summer Specials, (which I also worked on, fans) are also out now, priced £4.99 each.

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Filed under Barrie Appleby, Billy Whizz, Dennis the Menace, Gnasher & Gnipper, Gnipper, Hunt Emerson, Jaws, Little Plum, Parodies, Roger the Dodger, The Bash Street Kids, The Beano

Sarah & Duck.

Forget Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Game Of Thrones, the best show on TV at the moment is on CBeebies – the BBC‘s digital preschool channel – and it’s about a girl and her waterfowl friend: Sarah & Duck.

Created by Sarah Gomes Harris and Tim O’Sullivan and loosely based on Gomes Harris’ childhood, this traditional animated series follows the idiosyncratic adventures of Sarah, a happy-go-lucky trombone-playing seven year old girl (voiced by Tasha Lawrence) and her best friend Duck, a deadpan Mallard with a serious bread addiction (voiced by an unnamed duck).

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Sarah & Duck, cooking up a treat on cBeebies.

Sublimely narrated by The Thick Of It‘s Roger Allam, the series centers around the relationship between the two main characters and the charmingly surreal adventures they have together. Along the way we meet a quirky cast of supporting characters, such as Scarf Lady (a dotty, knitting-mad matriarch voiced by Downton Abbey‘s Lesley Nicol) and her companions the cockney jack-the-lad Bag (her knitting bag) and her grumpy pet Donkey, as well as an excitable Umbrella, bizarro World Sarah & Duck: John & Flamingo, the Ribbon Sisters, Plate Girl (Jet Girl to Sarah’s Tank Girl), Scooter boy, a talking cake, a rainbow with a mustache and a button-collecting bug.

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Scarf Lady & Bag rock out with Sarah & Duck.

The show is visually stunning. Beautifully designed, with an iconic style of it’s own, yet with a soft hand-drawn quality reminiscent of classic shows like Mr Benn and Ivor The Engine. The plots strongly revolve around the theme of learning through play, but their frequent abstract tangents, surreal situations and emphasis on humour make Sarah & Duck as enjoyable for adults as it is for children.

In the episode ‘Sarah, Duck & The Penguins’ Sarah & Duck visit the zoo, as Duck decides he wants to be a penguin for the day. Duck’s failed attempts to ‘speak’ penguin are hilariously met with cold indifference from the blank-faced penguins and the narrator concludes that being a penguin wasn’t all it was “quacked up to be”. Sarah & Duck’s fourth wall breaking reaction to this pun is one of the funniest pieces of animation I’ve seen in a long time.

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“Your meal, Sir” “Just put it on the bill”.

I’ve been a big fan of the show since I saw the very first episode, so you can imagine how excited I was when The Beano accepted my pitch for a parody ‘Madvert’ entitled Sarah & Velociraptor.

Sarah & Duck

The page was an absolute pleasure to draw, I loved every minute of it. I recently tweeted it and the official Sarah & Duck Twitter account gave it their seal of approval, which was a real thrill.

I’m very pleased with the finished work, but if I could draw it again I’d definitely cram in more of the shows characters and maybe have Duck fighting off the ‘raptor, as I wanted to draw him too, but as Sarah Gome Harris herself said on Twitter “This is quite eventful!”

Sarah & Duck is produced by London-based Karrot Entertainment, using computer-assisted animation techniques and the CelAction2D package. The first series consists of 40 episodes, with each episode lasting 7 minutes. A second series of 40 episodes starts this summer. Lots Of Shallots, a DVD featuring the first 10 episodes, is available HERE and HERE, or you can buy the whole first series for just shy of £30 on iTunes, Amazon Prime and Google Play.

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You can tune in to Sarah & Duck every day on CBeebies at 5.10pm, or catch up with the week’s episodes on iPlayer.

The Beano is available every Wednesday in WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s and your local newsagent.

 

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Filed under Madverts, Parodies, Sarah & Duck, The Beano

Bog Standard.

Anyone familiar with my work will already be well aware of my penchant for toilet humour, so be wary – this blog post includes some whiffy humour, foul-stinking jokes and a few crap puns. Oh… and zombies. You have been warned!

It will be no surprise to regular Beano readers to see I’ve been scraping the unmentionable bowl for a few dried on nuggets of laughter yet again for the putrid wipe-clean puzzle page in this week’s Beano. I’ve set quite a few puzzles and Madverts in the littlest room in the house. For instance, I’ve already sent loony Les Pretend round the u-bend…

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Potty: Les Pretend pretends to be a… erm… well…

I’ve gone to war on good taste with the bum-grenade lobbing Call Of Tooty

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Modern Warfart: Rank smells in Call Of Tooty.

And I dumped this filthy load all over the pages of The Dandy

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Toilet Paper: Six of my stinkiest pages from The Dandy.

You get the idea there (and yes, I did do two Call of Duty parodies – the third in the trilogy, Call Of Dookie, is still on the to do-do list).

Another of my favourite subjects is the undead, here’s a few shambling wrecks reanimated from the Beano & Dandy archive.

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ZomBeano: Pages dug up from the DC Thomson graveyard.

So, at last my love of toilet humour and the walking dead finally meet in this week’s Beano for my latest lavatorial masterpiece: Toilet Of Terror!

The puzzle is based around the premise that mild-mannered W.C Boggs has just popped off for a plop when Armageddon suddenly arrives, bringing the undead with it. The Wiping Dead surround him and you have to escape through a network of stinky sewers avoiding bum biscuits, fearsome floaters and the ever-present nightmare of a bog-paper pilfering sewer-surfing Zombie.

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Flushed With Success: Toilet Of Terror, from this week’s Beano.

The eagle-eyed reader will spot a few nods to movies here. Firstly, Carry On At Your Convenience – in which Kennth Kope’s Union leader Vic Spanner is constantly at odds with Kenneth Williams as factory boss W.C Boggs. I’m a huge Carry On fan, and although this particular Carry On is – fittingly – crap, I couldn’t resist curling out a trouserless Kenneth Williams center stage in the bog-based puzzle page.

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Round The Benders: Kenneth Williams and the gang land right in it in Carry On At Your Convenience.

Next up we have something a little less kid-friendly, recent zombies-in-the-toilet comedy horror movie Stalled.

In Stalled, down on his luck every-knob W.C is stuck cleaning toilets on Christmas Eve while the whole office parties around him. Things couldn’t get much worse, until the zombie apocalypse arrives and W.C is left trapped in the crapper and in deep crap!

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Diarrhea Of The Dead: W.C has the crap scared out of him.

Stalled is the bonkers brainchild of madcap movie making Brit duo Dan Palmer and Christian James, and as well as a zombie outbreak it also features artwork by myself and fellow Beano doodler Andy Fanton.

Stalled is available on DVD now from HERE and HERE as well as a host of online streaming sites such as Netflix and BlinkBox.

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Stalled: Plopping out now on DVD & Bluray.

Ignoring my involvement, I loved Stalled, it’s everything a Zombie movie should be and really is a claustrophobic  triumph. You can read a more in-depth review of Stalled on FlickeringMyth.com or watch the trailer HERE (it’s not for kids, obviously!)

Back to the puzzle and, in tribute to Stalled, if you look closely you can see a zombified version of W.C on the left of the page, peeping over the instructions and the background of the page (and this page’s header) is made up of a repeated image used in Stalled‘s online marketing (I asked writer and star Dan Palmer if I could use it).

My next puzzle doesn’t feature any zombies, fart gags, toilets or in-jokes. It’s just a plain old straight up tale of scientists hunting for a yeti. Here’s a sneaky peeky at part of it…

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COR!!: My next puzzle is packed with goodies.

The Beano is out now in all good newsagents, WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s and the Co-Op priced £2. It’s packed with comics, puzzles, pranks and competitions as well as appearances from all your favourite comic characters from Dennis The Menace, Billy Whizz, The Bash Street Kids, Bananaman and Roger the Dodger to Biffo the Bear, Pansy Potter and Little Plum.

Finally, I couldn’t flush this blog away without sharing this, my take on Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge Of The Sith from The Dandy.

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Fart Wars: Forcing one out.

 

All artwork on this blog remains property of DC Thomson & Co LTD. All rights, including Digital and Reproduction, are reserved by DC Thomson. No unauthorised reproduction or copying of any of the artwork in this blog is permitted.

All artwork is used by permission for the purpose of review.

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Filed under Carry On, Dan Palmer, Films, Parodies, Puzzle Pages, Stalled, The Beano, The Dandy, Toilet Humour, Zombies

The Pitch Hikers Guide To The Galaxy.

Yesterday I showed you a few of my unsuccessful pitches to The Dandy, as well as Chesney’s Hawk and The Tragic Roundabout which I made up for a laugh (though I did sneak Ches into a Justin Beaver strip once).

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Justin Beaver & Chesney Hawk, from the final Justin Beaver strip, ‘Beaver’s Got Talent’.

 Today, I’m continuing to celebrate my failures – with part 2 of my unsuccessful pitches. This time only one of them is fake, can you spot it? Enjoy:

 The Rockstarrs: Strip about a family of musicians, Dad is a Heavy Metal guitarist, Mum is a Disco Diva, the son is an Emo and the daughter is into dance music. The strip would revolve around frequent family feuds resulting from their musical differences.

Discount Dracula: Revolving around the terrifying tales of the evil Count, who due to the high cost of living, has had to take a job in his local 99p shop.

I maintain that this is the best idea I’ve ever had and will be pitching it for the 4th time later today.

Polar Bear Jones: Jones is an ordinary Polar Bear looking for food, the only problem is he’s doing it in Emily’s house and he’s not welcome. The strip would revolve around Emily, a young girl, trying to get rid of her unwanted houseguest. (Based on an old online strip I did).

Action Neighbours: Strip about 2 aging 1980s male action movie stars who have moved in next door to each other, sort of like a cross between the films Grumpy Old Men and The Expendables. The two neighbours do not get along, and use their stunts and skills to try and out-do one another at every turn.

This idea was based on the following strip, from my 2007 MySpace blog ‘I Done A Comic’:

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Dead Ted & Eddy: Light- hearted buddy strip about two best friends, the only difference here is that they’re both zombies. Think Dumb & Dumber, but Dead & Deader!

 Olympic James: A sporting strip along the lines of Owen Goal/Ball Boy, but with a young lad who is trying every Olympic Sport he can. The strips would revolve around James’ attempts to master a new sport, and the resulting chaos is would cause. An old fashioned strip with an Olympic twist.

I’m pretty sure they did this strip or something like it. Not that I’m bothered, as it was essentially Sport Billy.

Sniffer Dog In Training: Strip about a misguided Sniffer Dog who is meant to use his advanced, highly trained nose to sniff out crime, but uses it instead to sniff lamp posts, other dog’s bottoms and his next meal. Much to the annoyance of his hapless handler who gets a telling off from the Chief at the end of each strip.

Will.I.Am Shakespeare: Adventures of the Black Eyed Peas rapper turned classic play-write. Each strip would revolve around Will.I.Am rapping the plot of a Shakespeare play in modern vernacular. Word.

Laura Howell’s Will.I.Am The Conqueror currently uses a similar joke to much funnier means in The Beano.

Madvert: The Amazing Spider-Gran: Spider-Gran, Spider-Gran, does whatever a Grandma can. Knits a web, any size, bakes a cake, bakes some pies – lookout! Here comes the Spider-Gran! If you think this idea has got legs (ho ho!) I could develop it into a strip, but I think it would be a brilliant Madvert.

In fact I did try to pitch it as a strip, with Beano superfan Harry Rickard on writing duties. I produced some sample art for our pitch, sadly it was rejected again, but the art was later used in a jokes page along with more of my sample art. The design of Gran herself was reused in the board game ‘Gran Theft Auto’!

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Peter Tayto Chips: Mini strip about a magical talking bag of Cheese & Onion crisps who mysteriously comes to life and has all kids of crazy crisp adventures. I can change it to Salt & Vinegar if the readers would prefer. But not ready salted.

Stand Up Chameleon: Strip about a laughter loving lizard, telling bad jokes about reptiles “What happened to the frog who parked on double yellow lines? He got TOAD!” “What reptile lives in the Sydney Opera House? The Lizard Of Oz” etc.

 Moronic The Hedgehog: Maze based on the Sonic The Hedgehog games, where the aim is to guide a very stupid hedgehog through a trap filled maze away from the evil Professor Robottomburp.

Scarecrows: Strip involving 2 scarecrows telling bad jokes about birds, hay and being a scarecrow. One tells the jokes, the other looks on with contempt. “Why did the scarecrow win an award? For being out standing in his field” “How do you get a Scarecrow’s attention? Shout “Hay!””

When I Was Your Age: 3 panel strip about a mad Dad and a bemused son. Dad is always claiming things were all much harder when he was a lad, “When I was your age we didn’t have all these TV channels, we only had one channel. And it only broadcast a blank screen. AND that was a repeat!” “When I was your age I didn’t have a school bus, we had to walk 17 miles to school. Barefoot! In the snow! Even when it wasn’t snowing!” Etc

Olympic Maims: Puzzle Page revolving around the possible comic injuries (not too graphic, obviously) each of the Olympic events could see. 3 puzzles to the page, surrounded by images of athletes injuring themselves. The puzzles would be a ‘Who threw the javelin’ string puzzle, ‘Avoid the injured hurdlers’ maze and a ‘find two the same’ shark-infested swimming pool.

 Walt Dismal Presents: 3 Panel mini strip featuring parodies of Walt Disney’s most beloved characters, with a different parody each week, featuring: 

  • Bumbi – The little deer with chronic wind, who out-stinks his skunk friend.
  • Dumpo – The elephant with the enormous backside.
  • Cinderfella – At the stroke of midnight, Cinders turns back into Darren, a heating engineer from Birmingham.
  • Peter Pants – Peter thwarts the evil Captain Hook, with a wedgie.
  • Lady & The Trump – A date between the classy Lady and downtrodden Tramp goes awry, when Lady let’s one rip!
  • Hairy Poppins – The Banks children don’t much care for their new babysitter, a 6 foot ape in a dress.
  • Winnie The Poop – Christopher Robin should watch where he steps in the hundred Acre Wood…
  • Lunchbox Of Notre Dame – The bells the bells! He’s got a hunch that must mean it’s lunch.

I pitched that one about a week before The Dandy‘s Twisted Fairytales strip started. Great minds think alike. Though they included Cinderfella and Winnie The Poop, sadly they didn’t adapt Dumpo.

That’s the end of part 2. Don’t forget all these ideas (except one) are genuine pitches I sent to The Dandy between June and August 2012. All characters, concepts and stories, no matter how dreadful, are copyright me 2013. If you steal them and make a million pounds off them I want at least a fiver and a copy of the 3rd volume of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series on DVD as compensation. I’ve already got parts 1 and 2.

I’ll reveal the fake pitch in the next post, along with a few more ditched pitches…

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Filed under Comic Strips, Justin Beaver, Madverts, Parodies, Pitching, Puzzle Pages, Spider-Man, The Beano, The Dandy

Life’s A Pitch.

Here’s a few of my rejected pitches from The Dandy. Obviously, they’re all fantastically brilliant ideas – they probably just didn’t have enough room to fit them all in. *Ahem*.

I think if you include a couple of crappy ideas it will make the good ones seem even better, hence why some of them are dreadful. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! Some of the pitches have accompanying art, some don’t. Hidden in the list somewhere are a couple of ridiculous fake pitches I’ve made up for a lark. See if you can spot them…

Bill The Budgie: 3 panel mini strip inspired by Garfield/Snoopy etc in which increasingly frustrated pet owner, Howard, insists his pet bird is hilarious in order to try and get a TV show/movie and fame. Bill has other ideas, refusing to be funny, and by behaving exactly as a bird does – just chirping. (This was based on an old comic strip Andy Fanton & I did when we were 16!)

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Come Dine With Dandy: 3 Panel Mini-strip featuring Dandy characters old and new serving up a (not always delicious) meal for a cartoon version of the Editor, with funny results – Desperate Dan promises an exotic sounding ‘Ringlets of tender Boeuf incased in an exquisite golden baked savory case’, only to find it’s Cow Pie. Brassneck will promise Nut Cutlets, only to reveal it’s Nuts and Bolts cutlets etc.
 
Lucky Happy Cat: 3 panel mini-strip about a Japanese Maneki Neko cat (the happy waving cats seen in takeaways etc), only this cat brings nothing but bad luck and no-one is pleased to see him. The cat himself remains unharmed, but those he comes into contact with suffer all manner of misfortune, much to their confusion and annoyance.
 
Popstar Wars: Full page strip similar to that of the Little Celebs, where the main characters change, featuring a town/street full of popstars who are all out to get to number one and get one over on their famous neighbours. Stories might include Katy Perry bragging about charity work only for Lady GaGa to donate all her mad clothes to a charity shop. Beyonce being all over the celeb magazines annoying Cheryl Cole, so she goes out trying to get ‘papped’ – only to be snapped in embarressing situations. Katie Price’s quest for another celebrity boyfriend ending up with her marrying Jedward etc etc
 
Dr. Beaky: Animal Doctor: 3 panel mini-strip about a duck who is a doctor. The strip revolves around ‘Doctor Doctor…’ type jokes, only with animals at the centre. A pun-centric strip about a ‘Ducktor’ diagnosing ‘mallardies’. Such as the dog with measles that turns out to be a dalmatian, he tortoise who wont shell out for treatment, a cat that barks who turns out to be a fish, a mouse who claims he’s got an unusually long tail – but takes 3 hours to explain the story it turns out he had a long tale instead and so on.

Windy Pops: 3 panel mini-strip about a flatulent father embarrassing his two kids by purposefully breaking wind at inappropriate moments, such as weddings, school plays, Christmas dinner, at funerals etc. Dad is a fun loving character, and would be the focus for the laughter. The two kids frustration would be the driving force behind Dad’s bum-gas bomb, and it would all be in good fun. Though possibly not good taste! 

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Tom Bowler: 3 panel mini-strip about a useless magician whose tricks always blow up in his face, much to the amusement of his crowd.

Scampers Through The Universe: Full page strip about an ordinary house-cat, named Scampers, whose cat flap transports him through time and space, where he fights crime, aliens and foes throughout history, all before dinner time. At home Scampers is an ordinary house cat, in space he is a humanised Captain of the Galacticat – a solo spacecraft he flies to adventure… and BEYOND!

Note: This strip was pitched before Star Cat in The Phoenix (which has a faintly similar premise), and was repitched again a few months later as…

Scampers Through Time:  Full Page Strip, whenever Doug strokes his cat Scampers the wrong way, they travel through time. The only issue with this is that Scampers doesn’t care and Doug is an idiot. This strip would be in wacky and fun in tone, being based more on the fun that can be had rather than the educational nature of it. In the first strip, Doug ends up in Victorian London. He can’t get his mobile to work, so goes into a phone shop. The phone shop turns out to be Sweeny Todd’s barber shop and Doug is in for a close shave. Meanwhile, Scampers is chasing what he thinks is a mouse, only for it to turn out to be a disease ridden rat.

 Scampers Through Time is quite similar to Nuke Noodle, which started in The Dandy a few weeks after I pitched this. Nuke Noodle was different, however, by cleverly being funny – something I omitted from this pitch.

House Bunny: 3 panel strip about a cute rabbit looking for a place to live. The bunny looks around celebrity homes and famous buildings, before getting booted out by their owners or falling foul of their reputation – Yvette Fielding’s house is haunted, the bunny gets lost in Posh Spice’s shoe cupboard labyrinth, is made to walk the plank at Johnny Depp’s house, is literally booted out of Wayne Rooney’s house etc.

Jack Sparrow: 3 panel mini-strip about a brave sea-faring sparrow, who has to fight off the evil seagulls, battle ferocious waves and travel the world in search of his beloved ‘treasure’. As the strip progresses to a conclusion, we would find his treasure is actually a bird table in some-one’s garden. Jack Sparrow is inspired by the character from the Pirates Of the Caribbean movies.

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Chesney’s Hawk: 3 Panel mini-strip about a little lad and his wise-cracking pet hawk. Chesney uses his well-trained hawk pal to get out of trouble, such as when the school bully strikes, hawk flies up behind him and gives him a wedgie! The lad and his bird will be best friends, and everyone loves hawk who is a sort of local hero character. Like ‘Kes’, but he doesn’t die at the end.

Fan Girl: Full Page Strip. Fan Girl is like everyone’s sister growing up – she is psychotically besotted with every boyband, teen heart throb and movie star around. The difference here is that she thinks she has super powers, and it is her duty to protect her beloved stars from the nefarious evil doers of the World. The stars themselves are scared of Fan Girl and will do anything to get away from her, usually putting them in more danger.

Doctor Whoops: 3 Panel Mini Strip. This strip would revolve around an extremely accident prone version of Doctor Who, with him ruining alien plots and thwarting bad guys entirely by accident. I see this as a kind of mash-up of Doctor Who and Calamity James. Extremely silly and full of violent slapstick.

Mouse Matt: 3 Panel Mini Strip. The adventures of Matt, the amazing boy who can turn into a mouse. Except he can’t, he only thinks he can, and everyone around him knows it. Matt will try to needlessly help out in any situation by turning into a mouse, and failing miserably. In the first strip, there is a bank robbery. Matt claims he will turn into a mouse and scare the robbers down an alleyway. Instead, the police trip over him as he’s crouching down. The last panel is him in jail saying “I’ll turn into a mouse and escape through these bars!” He is an idiot.

Hostbusters: Madvert, play on the Ghostbusters brand, but capitalising on the irritating omnipresence of today’s TV hosts. The Madvert would feature normal people trying to go about their life but being interpreted by various TV hosts, much to their dismay. The dialogue would read “Are you plagued by Ant & Dec in the night? Do experience feelings of Noel Edmonds in your basement or attic? Are you troubled by Brucie while you’re trying to do the washing up? If the answer is yes then don’t delay, call the professionals: who ya gonna call: Hostbusters! They ain’t afraid of no host”.

Transyvanian Families: Madvert parody of the inexplicably popular range of girls toys, featuring small woodland creatures going about their business in a small town. The Madvert would feature a typical Hammer Horror castle, which opens up to reveal all the fun things you can do inside (like the larger houses in the actual toy range). The castle will include a mad scientists lab, a dungeon, a graveyard, trap doors, torture chamber, kitchen complete with witch’s cauldron, haunted paintings and and artifacts room full of mummies etc.

Curse Of The Cher Wolf: 3 Panel Mini Strip. Mini strip revolving around chart topping headache on legs, Cher Lloyd. The premise is simple, she’s a werewolf (ala MTV’s Teen Wolf revamp, Twilight etc) which makes appearing on TV shows and doing gigs rather problematic for her. The werewolf side comes out whenever Cher is angry or in trouble, or just at inopportune moments. The first strip would see Cher appearing a chat show, the host, Johnathan Ross, asks Cher about her single, the other guest (Ricky Gervais) says he doesn’t like it and it’s rubbish. Cher ‘wolfs out’ and eats Ricky whole. The last panel is the wolf with Ricky’s legs sticking out of its mouth scowling at Jonathan, who says “Errm.. I thought it was gweat!”

This was the second time I’d pitched Curse Of The Cher Wolf, demoting it from full page strip to a mini strip. It was rejected again, then 2 months later it was accepted as a puzzle page instead!

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Stopshop: Madvert mickey take of Topshop, but aimed entirely at lollypop ladies.

Downton Alley: Mini strip series about some posh tramps living an unlikely aristocratic lifestyle in an alleyway. 

Blue Ray: Mini strip about a miserable sod whose quest for everyday happiness only brings more woe.

The Tragic Roundabout : The roundabout at the annual magicians fair has gone haywire and mangled all the magicians in it’s magical mechanism in this Where’s Wally type puzzle. Help find all the body parts in the wreckage. Kids will have to find Harry Potter, Gandalf, Paul Daniels, Derren Brown etc in a full page drawing.

All these ideas, except two, are genuine pitches I sent to The Dandy between May and July 2011. All characters, concepts, artwork and stories (no matter how poorly thought out) are copyright me 2013. If you steal them and make a million pounds off them I want at least 10 quid and a bag of fun size Mars bars as compensation.

Did you spot the fake ones? I’ll reveal the answer tomorrow…

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Filed under Comic Strips, Madverts, Parodies, Pitching, Puzzle Pages, The Beano, The Dandy