A new collaboration between the Beano and The Specials’ bassist Horace Panter is about launch the likes of Dennis, Gnasher, Minnie the Minx and Billy Whizz into the worlds of Warhol, Lichtenstein and Hockney.
After yesterday’s news that Dennis was turning his hand to art, too, creating his own Kelpie-inspired statues, there seems to be something of a Pop Art vibe to this year’s upcoming 80th anniversary Beano celebrations!
The iconic gang of comic characters are being propelled into a collection of Pop Art paintings and silkscreen prints, created by Panter and the collection will be sold at a selection of UK galleries, after the original art works go on display for a public exhibition at Beano Studios in London on 19th April this year.
The pieces, which have already attracted national press attention, took artists and bass player, Panter, six months to create in his Coventry studio, adding the cartoon characters into the settings of some of his favourite Pop Art pieces.
Minnie the Minx appears as a Warhol starlet, Lord Snooty as an iconic character in the style of a Roy Lichtenstein painting and Dennis and Gnasher making mischief in Hockney’s LA swimming pool.
Horace – who graduated in 1975 with a degree in Fine Art from Lanchester Polytechnic, now Coventry University – is best known as the bassist for 2Tone ska legends The Specials, but has been exhibiting his art in the UK since 2008.
His influences are diverse and range from the Pop Art paraphernalia of artists such as Peter Blake, Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana to the depictions of light in paintings by Edward Hopper and David Hockney. His ‘Americana’ series falls into the latter category; his reimagines the ubiquitous signs/diners in American cities as iconographic cultural symbols. Ultimately, he says that these works “are about painting light”.
His giant ‘cassette’ paintings, on the other hand, fit into the Pop Art genre, with an emphasis on the cassette itself as an icon in terms of its place in musical and cultural history.
“Growing up, there was always Beano around,” says Panter of his comic-inspired new works. “Those characters were an integral part of my childhood. Dennis, Minnie the Minx and, my personal favourites, the Bash Street Kids – street smart, irreverent anti-heroes for the under 12s; when punk rock came along it seemed like the Beano set to music.
“I’d like to think the paintings are funny and irreverent, but paying homage to both my favourite artists and to the comic characters.
“Hope you like them as much as I do. For me, it’s the ultimate labour of love.”
“Over the past 80 years, Beano has been the visual soundtrack to British childhood,” added Allison Watkins, EVP Global Consumer Products & TV Distribution at Beano Studios.
“Whether in the forties, seventies, or noughties, our characters have paved the way for fun and raucous adventures, making this partnership with Horace Panter the perfect fit and a wonderful way to celebrate this big Beano birthday.”
Horace isn’t the first artist to create screen prints based on Beano characters, of course. John Patrick Reynolds has been creating image based on both Beano and Dandy characters for several years.
• The Beano Goes Pop Art (#BeanoGoesPopArt) will be open to the public from 20th April – 9h May (weekdays only) at Beano Studios, 185 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2HS | Beano-branded products are available online at shop.beano.com
• The Comic Art Website – for John Patrick Reynolds handmade, limited-edition screen prints of classic comic characters from around the world
The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.
John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.
He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.
Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.