Elections of any kind inevitably result in some great cartoons, from all sides of the political spectrum. We’ve seen a lot of them in the run-up to tomorrow’s general election in the UK, so it’s no surprise, then, that cartoonist Roger Todd is currently back in the limelight with his portrayal of Boris Johnson in bed with US President Donald Trump in a photograph at his side, all over social media.
When he was knee-high to a very short thing, Roger Todd was captivated by a magazine cover of grotesque sculptures depicting politicians of the day. Who those figures were, and who created them, were mysteries at the time, but the wild facial distortions made a deep impression. Years later, startlingly similar monsters came to life in Spitting Image and Roger at last learned who their creators were: Fluck & Law. But then the boring world of college, work and university intervened. Many years passed before he began to sculpt his own grotesqueries: busts, puppets and novelty figurines resulted.
Along the way he met his heroes Luck & Flaw, upset Michael Gove’s wife Sarah Vine, and saw his puppets appear on television, in Channel 4’s The Last Leg.
His work has been exhibited regularly and, life coming full circle, Spitting Image creator Roger Law opened an exhibition of political rubber puppets by Roger at the Political Cartoon Gallery back in June. On display were wonderful reincarnations of Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Nicola Sturgeon, David Cameron, Michael Gove, Ed Miliband and many others.
A revival of Spitting image, the classic ITV satirical puppet show is currently in the works from its original creators. BBC News reported new episodes of the comedy, described as “public service satire” by co-creator Roger Law, will take on Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, among others.
“It’s pretty chaotic out there. As far as I’m concerned, it’s better than shouting at the television set,” he told the Guardian, revealing a pilot had already been filmed.
With thanks to Anthony Smith
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.