Ever seen a broken spiderweb and wonder what happened to it? Anthropomorphism is a key component of cartooning: animals that look like humans, and/or behave like them. Of the two, I prefer animals that behave like humans while still resembling animals, but it’s… uh… horses, for… you know…


“Well, well, well. Lovely web you got there, guv’nor. Shame if anyfink happened to it…”


Exciting news from Walker Books: this coming March, Magrit will be released in paperback, with an all-new cover! Check out this beautiful new wraparound, courtesy of the massively talented Amy Daoud, who provided the original, hardback cover. Apart from those of us in the actual know, you’re the first in the world to see this stunning new image, so get your completist hats on and order a copy to sit next to your well-thumbed hardcover edition!


Paperback cover


Paperback cover Mar 2019


Sexy, innit? 😉


Growing up in the bogan reservation that was Rockingham in the 1980s, there was always one thing that made life seem liveable– the knowledge that the neighbouring town (I say town. I mean field of burning Holden Torana corpses as far as the eye could see) Kwinana was infinitely rougher, uglier, and stupider. It’s a bottom-of-the-barrel snobbishness that has never left me. Kwinana remains the punchline for any joke involving criminal behaviour, alcoholism, reverse evolution, or knuckle-dragging bogan behaviour in general. Which explains the title of this post….. The cartoon, well, hey: if, as Christopher Eccleston’s Doctor proudly proclaimed, every planet has a North, then it’s likely that every planet has a Kwinana analogue as well. And, sooner, or later, we’ll encounter them.

And then they’ll go to Bali, but that’s another cartoon for another time…



“If there’s no life on other planets, then you tell me what’s happened to our tyres.”


Over ten days, I’m chatting about TV shows that have helped make me the bent, broken old ruin that I am. A week’s worth have already been logged. Today, it’s the angry God of television comedy.


Once there was a time when I was only allowed to stay up past my bedtime to watch three things: the FA Cup final, the Wimbledon Men’s Singles final, and Dave Allen. Put simply, he was simply too brilliant, too funny, too ground-breaking not to share. And for parents who found Monty Python too middle class, the Goon Show too silly, and whose comic sensibilities could be enclosed within The Two Ronnies, Morecambe and Wise, and telling unbelievably racist jokes when drunk, Allen was as edgy and naughty as it got.

The truth is, of course, that Allen *was* edgy. He tore into the Catholic Church at a time when you simply didn’t, lampooned the Royal Family, made jokes at the expense of the IRA and any other dangerous social topic that crossed his precise, laser-focussed gaze. He engaged with the foibles of sex in a frank, knowing way– no sniggering, no winking, just straight sex jokes from adult to adult. He made death painful, and lasting, and *funny*. In an era where everyone I saw on TV treated adult topics as if they were trying to knock Ronnie Barker off his double-entendre throne, Allen looked his audience in the eye and said “Hey, we’re all grown ups here. Let’s be honest.”

As I type this, I’m listening to my children watching an Adam Sandler “hur hur, boobs, poo, hur hur penis” movie in the other room. It simply highlights how fortunate I was, at a young age, to be exposed to this master comic, with his brilliant timing, his perfect turn of phrase, his relentlessly acerbic and wise approach to life, and the example he set: that anything was fair game; that an audience can be treated as intelligent, knowing equals; and that an artist can reasonably expect his audience to rise to his level without compromising his vision.


Anthropomorphism is a gift to cartoonists. From Bill Watterson to Stephan Pastis to Charles Shulz to Walt Kelly, cartoonists have known one thing for sure: turn your everyday hooman into a beastie that walks, talks, obsesses, and generally acts like a hooman, and you’ve tapped into comedy gold. (Okay, nobody told Jim Davis about the comedy bit. You can’t win them all).

Find a way to match your animal character with exactly the things that make its humanity a giant, cosmic, banana skin, and you’ve got something that might actually work. So: mayflies, lifespan of a day. Job interview, standard stupidest question ever. And for once in my misbegotten cartooning lackocareer, I think I nailed something pretty well.



“Where do I see myself in 5 years? What is this, some kind of sick joke?”