British cartoonist Alex Hallatt tackles climate change in internationally-syndicated “Arctic Circle” strip

The cast of Arctic Circle, a strip created by British cartoonist Alex Hallatt
The cast of Arctic Circle, a strip created by British cartoonist Alex Hallatt

Created by British cartoonist and environmental advocate Alex Hallatt and distributed by King Features Syndicate, popular comic strip Arctic Circle made a small impression on the Climate Change debate recently – by reducing its size through the week!

Hallatt used her strip to both literally and figuratively address the shrinking polar ice caps by gradually reducing the size of her strip each day to highlight some of the dangers the Arctic is facing. (You can read the sequence here, starting 24th July 2017), which ends on a funny entreaty for positive action to save the region and its unique wildlife.

Arctic Circle - 24th July 2017

The new take coincided with the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power and news of the breaking of the Larsen C ice shelf in Antarctica, the concerns around the preservation of the environment has never been more topical and more important.

Trained as a biochemist and being an avid outdoors woman, Alex Hallatt has always had a passion for science and the environment. Ever since 2007 when her Arctic Circle comic was picked up for syndication by King Features, she has been using her daily strips to shed light on real world environmental challenges in a quippy, easily-digestible format. The strip follows three penguins who have migrated from the Antarctic to the small town of Snowpeak within the Arctic Circle. The penguins have joined a polar bear, a snow bunny, a lemming and an Arctic tern. Collectively, they deal with everything the 21st century has to throw at them, including climate change, fashion, Facebook and genetically modified organisms gone wild.

Alex grew up in the West Country and spent many years living in New Zealand and Australia before returning to England. She co-wrote and illustrated the first books about Oddieworld, a series of stories about what happens to the odd socks that get lost in washing machines. Her first book, FAB (Friends Against Bullying) Club was released last year.

Currently, she is spending a couple of years in the Basque Country to learn Spanish with her American partner, Duncan, and their Kiwi Jack Russell, Billie and has self-published her illustrated experiences of living in the coastal town of Hondarribia in A Basque Diary earlier this year.

“The shrinking of the polar ice caps is an issue that affects us all and each week I use Arctic Circle to raise awareness around these very real concerns our environment faces every day,” Hallatt explained, “while trying to make it as entertaining as possible. By shrinking the strip, it’s just another way for people to think about this issue in a way that’s a little outside the box.

“We are very proud to represent and support Alex’s Arctic Circle,” commented Brendan Burford, General Manager, Syndication, at King Features Syndicate. “We believe that there are so many creative and artistic ways to help elevate awareness around the preservation of the environment. Alex has demonstrated that the comic strip is versatile enough to accommodate these serious subjects while remaining humorous.”

King Features Syndicate is a member of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication Group, which combines Hearst’s cable network partnerships, TV programming activities, newspaper syndication and merchandise licensing operations. King Features is the world’s premier distributor of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games to newspapers, magazines, web portals, mobile outlets and news organizations worldwide.

• For more about Arctic Circle visit: arcticcirclecartoons.com | Alex is online at alexhallatt.com

Arctic Circle hasn’t been collected, but you can check out Alex’s other books here on amazon.co.uk (using this link will help support downthetubes, thank you)

• For more King Features visit www.kingfeatures.com or check out all their strips online at www.ComicsKingdom.com

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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