Thursday 31 March 2011

Strictly Come Laughing Nears the END! Vote! Vote! Vote!

Those good souls among you who have picked up a copy of The Dandy in the past five weeks will have spotted a winner-stays-in comic strip competition entitled 'Strictly Come Laughing.'

It's a fantastic idea, and features the talents of Steve Beckett (Daredevil Dad), Chris McGhie (Phil's Finger) and Andy Fanton (Harry and his Hippo) ... oh and a little known strip called Tag Team Tastic created by Warwick Johnson-Cadwell and myself.

Here's a taste of our daftness ... yep ... that's a mime.

Next week marks the final round of voting and we need yours! So if you like the thought of two hapless but well-meaning amateur wrestlers establishing their own League with an 'everyone-welcome' policy and absolutely NO rules, then PLEASE lend your voting finger to the equation.

Go HERE to add your voice to the competition - our link (seen above) can be found on the bottom right!

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Argh! It's got TENTACLES!

What's that? Yes I know, I know... it's DANDY day! Which can only mean one thing, a few more peaks into the world of oddness that is YORE! Here's a little breakdown of the making of a particularly nasty looking sea monster that the gang find themselves battling in episode 22...

 Really need to click that one to see all the deeeeetails! This week's issue will of course also feature another episode of Tag Team Tastic by my bro and WJC, and more befuddling puzzles with my pal Professor Popalop. And Fangles. Right, time for a big finish, go for it Doomy...!


More on the way!


Tuesday 29 March 2011

It's Nice Knowing Friends in High Places

And when I say high I mean thousands of metres above sea level!

My wife and I used to work in the mountains (in the fantastic resort village of Morzine, in France, to be precise) and we absolutely love the snow. It was a delight, therefore, to spend last weekend zipping around the chilly peaks and eating immense amounts of food with our dear friends. Seen next to Mimi are: Helen and Chris Lavender, Milly and Robin Mannering, and tiny, cheeky Finster Mannering (sat on the table in an unhygienic fashion - some kids.)

Oh, and when I say food I mean Pizzas like this....

Both colourful and tasty, I think you'll agree. Hmmmmmmm ...

The weekend was always going to be great fun but we had a lovely bonus when as discovered that Chris and Helen had hung an original piece of art, created by my wonderful wife - she's a writer now, but she's always been a talented artist - above the bed in their spare bedroom. How cool is that?

Very cool. That's your answer.
Many thanks to all our friends, for making us feel so at home in the hills.

And now, to end, a charming shot of an Etherington giving a subtle thumbs up while relaxing beside an open fire.
Because it's not all work, work, work round here.

Wednesday 23 March 2011

Character Process

It's Dandy Day! Whoop! Before you head to the shops for your copy and a "King Kavity" chocolate bar, here's a little sneak peek at a few process break-downs for some of the incidental characters I've been drawing in the series recently...
And don't forget to click the images to see all the detail as it was intended to be seen!
More coming very soon, including news of a BRAND NEW and EXTREMELY limited edition art book...!


Tuesday 22 March 2011

Best. Wedding Present. EVER.

Okay, so this is awesome. Our very good friend Alys Paterson just gave us an extremely amazing wedding present. Yes, I know what you're thinking, we got married 6 months ago, right? Right. However, Alys' present to us has only just become available because it's a card illustrated and designed by her, and distributed to all shops that sell classy cards by the mighty ART GROUP.
U-huh, you can now go into a shop and pick up your very own "Esther's Big Day" greetings card!! Not only that, she also gave us the original! I mean, hot potatoes that's a fine gift!

So what are you waiting for? Go out today and pick one of these babies up, and if there are some of Alys' other designs on the shelves too, then get them as well, because she's awesome.

Oh, and watch this space for more news of Alys soon, as I think she's soon to be joining us in the world of children's book illustration, and you KNOW that'll be something worth seeing!


Monkey Nuts Print Run Sells Out!

Yes, it's true, fellow comic lovers and Monkey Nuts fans - the stockpile of our debut graphic novel has been completely gobbled up!

Recent visitors to Amazon will notice that our book is now displaying a legend that reads 'usually dispatched within 1 to 2 months.'

This is because we have officially SOLD OUT!!!

But fear not - a new print run is on the way.
Anyone attending an event in April can also relax as we've managed to save the last of the stock for our school and library visits.

With dozens of events booked through May-August, it's now a race against time to see if the printers can meet the demand with their supply. Come on guys, the kids have spoken - they need more Monkey & Robot Crime-Fighting adventures!

Monday 21 March 2011

Bookfeast delivers a Prehistoric dollop of FUN!

Last Thursday, Lorenzo and I awoke at 5:30am and headed to Oxford for a full day of workshops. We had been invited to take part in a fantastic series of events hosted by Bookfeast, an organisation whose aim is to "give participants the opportunity to discover a passion for reading and creative writing that will stay with them for life."  Worthy stuff indeed, and they could not have selected two finer venues for their festival.

Our morning group was held with 70 children at the Pitt Rivers Museum. I've always been a fan of museums (I love ancient artifacts and historical oddities) but I'd never visited this award-winning building before. I was blown away. Anyone who imagines museums to be dusty old buildings needs to spend a day with their arm gripped in a T-Rex's angry maw. I'm all for interactive educational displays, but this might be taking things too far...

Both the Oxford Times and the Oxford Mail newspapers enjoyed our morning session (or did they just like the pic?) and you can read their coverage HERE and HERE. I'm even quoted! Fame at last!

After a delicious lunch at the museum we were escorted across town to the newly acquired/in-construction Story Museum, where a second lunch awaited. The remarkable team at the museum have an ambitious project on the go, as they are raising money to convert Rochester House, ex-GPO building, into a permanent centre "where children and adults can explore stories from many times and places and learn about their creators. This will combine innovative exhibitions, performances and a wide range of creative activities."

Another worthy initiative and - with a location that overlooks both the home in which Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland and the street in which J.R.R Tolkien created some little known tale about Hobbits and lost jewelery - a phenomenal home for story telling.

Our afternoon was spent entertaining hundreds of eager readers, creating live drawings and original stories. Oh, and whoever thought The Land of Fudge would make a good setting for an adventure ... was right!
I love fudge.

Many thanks to all the staff of Pitt Rivers, the Story Museum and the Bookfeast crew for making the day such a success. We can't wait to return!

Friday 18 March 2011

Awesome art by awesome people!

Well, we had SUCH a good time in Oxford yesterday at the Bookfeast festival, and I expect Robin will be writing a little report on that soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to come in and show you guys some VERY cool art we've been given/sent recently from some super-fine young artists! First up, Hannah from Formby drew us this excellent piccie of dear old Sid from Monkey Nuts!
  Next, we have this great lil' piece featuring none other than Strawberry Girl drawn for us LIVE at the Cardiff comic con by none other than the super-cool Daisy!
What?! You want more?! Well, how about THIS, a book by Amber Tranter about a gang of friends including Little Bob, Little Jim, and of course very little Toby! Wiiiicked!
And finally, Ben Blanchard, who met us at the Crystal Palace book festival last year,sent us an ENTIRE BOOK of monsters he'd created!! Amazing!!
 Guys, we cannot tell you how much it means to us to get sent your pictures, so keep 'em coming! Email your pics to us at and see your work here on the blog! Yay!

Wednesday 16 March 2011


Yup! A pig and an Elf arguing about Baboon's bottoms and Vampire Sloths can only mean one thing, it's DANDY day, and therefore, time for more from YORE!
Here then are some more nuggets of illustrative weirdness from the world of Piggy, Doombar and Elfin. So what are you waiting for? Get down the shops, pick up a copy of this week's Dandy, and a "Tooth Decay" size bag of sweets, and get adventuring! Oh, and don't forget to click these previews to see 'em BIG!

Sunday 13 March 2011

New Monkey Nuts review!

It's always a delight to hear that people in the know are spreading the good word about Monkey Nuts.
Most recently, tBk magazine - a special publication aimed at promoting 'great books for keen readers' to schools, libraries and reading groups - reviewed our first graphic novel and gave it a double thumbs up.

Describing it as "a far-out funny adventure with some mad-cap monster catching and crazy critter capers", the good folk at tBk selected Monkey Nuts as a pick of the bunch in their latest issue. Woo-hoo!

More news as it breaks!

Thursday 10 March 2011

Comic Week gets even Better!

If you're yet to buy a copy of this week's amazing issue of  The Dandy (featuring new Tag Team Tastic and Yore! strips as well as a Professor Popolop Brain-Melting Puzzle page created by Lorenzo) then please head to the shops and do so at once.

For those of you who've already devoured that tasty comic gem and are hungry for more, this is your lucky day!

The latest Star Wars: The Clone Wars comic has just dropped and it contains an eight-page Etherington-penned, action-packed-to-bursting tale!

In 'Repel All Boarders', the Republic fleet find themselves in full tactical retreat after a failed mission. Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are being closely pursued by a pack of Vulture-class starfighters, and those dastardly droids can smell blood among the stars. After all, how can two Jedi and a handful of wounded Clone engineers hope to survive a massed attack?

You can find out all the answers by picking up your copy today - it's exciting stuff, I can tell you ... and I know what happens!

Head to your nearest newsagents to snag your copy, or place an order online HERE and never again miss a single lightsaber slice of the action.

Wednesday 9 March 2011


Hello Chums! Yes, 'tis true, it's here again already - DANDY DAY! Whoop! I haven't got my advance copy yet for this week, so I can't speak firsthand, but I do know that alongside a new episode of YORE! you're also going to be treated to episode two of Tag Team Tastic, as well as all the usual goodness! Yipes!

Here, for those of you who like an exclusive or two, are a couple of shots from a forth-coming episode...!

 More soon, and I'll see you at The Exhibition tonight!


Tuesday 8 March 2011

Tour Blog ... Part 2

You didn't believe us but we said it would happen ... yes ... it's PART 2! WHOO-HOO!

To kick things off, a little word about food and drink on tour. We Etheringtons are a thirsty bunch and I always enjoy a little time away from home because it allows me to indulge in the finest beverages available.

For example...

Don't go arguing about aggressive markets - I'm a HUGE coffee fan and THAT is my kind of deal. Thank you very much, Silcocks Funland.

My brother is more into his 'eats' and would heartily recommend Gusto Trattoria on Southport's Lord Street. They host a nice evening jazz band and a fine pizza menu. In their own words Gusto's offers "surprisingly affordable casual dining." Genius.

Now, I promised a Hall of Mirrors and so I shall deliver!

If anyone's taking notes, that last one is my personal fave.

Anyone old enough to have seen that seminal Tom Hanks movie, 'Big', will remember the scene at the fairground with the Zoltar fortune telling machine. No? Here's a reminder.
Look away if easily scared.

As a fan of the film you can imagine my delight at discovering not only that Southport's Penny Arcade had a Zasha machine of a similar design, but that it still WORKED! Here's the proof:

The mechanical old girl actually wrote this! Amazing. It's a little hard to read though so here's my favourite line:
"You could succeed in most things, if only you wore more sensible shoes."
How did she know about my ill-fitting trainers???

But enough daftness, it's time to wrap this report up by returning to the book tour and World Book Day itself! After a long exciting day of workshops, Lorenzo and I were transported to the lovely Pritchards bookshop for a joint signing session with the mighty Steve Cole. It is a humbling experience to share space with an author of so many popular children's series, especially when he turns out to be both EXTREMELY nice and a Spiderman fan.

Obviously our respective stock levels were slightly different and Lorenzo and I soon found ourselves in new territory. We were faced with readers who wanted to buy our books and get sketches but we'd SOLD OUT!

And then, like an ancient prophecy rising from the past, one remarkable group of super fans solved the problem for us. And they did it in a fashion that would have made Sid and Rivet proud.
Grabbing the empty boxes used to transport Steve Cole's mountain of stories, they thrust them into Lorenzo's hands, baying for art, with a wild proclamation tripping from their fevered lips ...

"Down with World BOOK Day ... Love live World BOX Day!" 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again ... Monkey Nuts fans are the BEST!!!

Many thanks to all the staff and students and everyone from Trinity St Peters Primary, St Lukes, Formby High, St Oswalds, Holy Trinity Primary and all the schools we saw in the multiple sessions at the Meadows Leisure Centre.

We look forward to seeing you all again soon ... with Baggage!

Monday 7 March 2011

You are invited to a private view this Wednesday 9th Feb!

Hey folks, just a very last minute one, as this show's come together only in the last few days, basically, if you're in or around Bristol on Weds 9th (yes, THIS Wednesday - told you it was last minute!) then please consider yourselves invited to a retrospective exhibition by ink-dot at Spike Island. The show collects 25 prints form the past 5 ink-dot shows together, including one of mine. Private view/opening night runs from 5:00pm - 7:00/7:30pm, so come down, have a glass of vino collapso and check out some arts! Details about the opening night are on the attached flyer.

I should be there for a bit, before heading off to a panto of all things, so it would be great to see you there!

Big love!


Stranski warmup sketch

Little warmup sketch of a character from Stranski I scribbled before getting into YORE! this morning...

More soon!


Tour Blog ... Part 1

Good Morning! ... or afternoon or evening, depending on when you read this.

Late last Friday, Lorenzo and I rolled back into Bristol after spending the week entertaining and educating the children of Liverpool and its surrounding environs with our own brand of comic tomfoolery, ably supported by Tony from the wonderful Pritchards bookshop in Formby. It was BRILLIANT!

During 10 workshops, we managed to meet over 1100 children from 15 or 16 different schools!
The response from the students and the teachers was overwhelming. Their genuine passion for storytelling and creativity was a timely reminder that if you can create something engaging you will attract even the most reluctant reader.  

We'll post photos from the schools as soon as they've been sent (so if we visited you and you'd like to see your face up here, just ask your teacher to mail the shots to

But going on tour isn't all about WORK. Ohnonono. It's about seeing the sights. And Southport did not disappoint! On the first day we advised to go and explore the pier.

We were greeted by a seagull sitting peacefully on a cyclists bum. Not the most auspicious of starts but a nice reflection on the connectivity between art and the natural world ... or something.

Looks fun, right? Wrong. It's no fun at all if you don't meet their CRAZY height standards!!!

But we were not to be dismayed and striding confidently up the beautiful pier (the second longest in Britain, opened in 1860) Lorenzo suddenly whooped with delight and did a little jig.

The reason for his joy? We'd stumbled upon a Penny Arcade!
Back in ye olden times (think Yore!) every pier, amusement park and fair would feature an arcade filled with wonderful mechanical contraptions from pinball machines to fortune telling devices - all costing just a single penny to play. Well, we Etheringtons spent a few that day, I can tell you. Check out these bad boys!

Fun for ALL the family.
Part two of our Tour blog (tomorrow) will feature pics from World BOX Day, a Hall of Mirrors AND my very own fortune, as told by Madame Zasha (see 4 pics above)
See you soon!

Saturday 5 March 2011

AWESOME Malcolm Magic fanart by Nigel Dobbyn!!!!

Well, we're back from Liverpool, and what an awesome time we had! Robin will be in to tell you all about it next week, but before that, this exceptional piece of Malcolm Magic fan art was waiting for us when we got back, and I had to show it to you ASAP! Drawn by none other than the excellent Nigel Dobbyn! Thank you so much sir!

Got some Etherington Bros fan art? Send it to us, see it here!!