Matthew Dooley’s Milkman tale wins him £1000 Graphic Short Story Prize

Matthew Dooley, whose previous works include the self-published comic Meanderings, is the 2016 winner of the Cape Observer Comica Graphic Short Story Prize.

His four-page story, “Colin Turnbull: A Tall Story“, which you can read here, wins £1,000 cash and will be published in the Observer New Review.

It’s fifth time lucky in this competition for Matthew who, judge Rachel Cooke notes over on The Guardian website, works for the parliamentary education service at the Palace of Westminster, and doesn’t have a background in art.

He studied classics at university, and reckons it might be “pushing it” to suggest the friezes on classical Greek buildings can be seen as an early form of cartoon strip. 

“Years ago, me and my friend, Chris, were knocking about ideas for sketches, and I had one for a milkman who was obsessed with being tall,” Matthew relates over on the Comica website.

“I found it in an old notebook, and revived it: the combination of the mundane and the obsessive seemed like it would be just right for a comic.
I set it in Lancashire, in a place like the one I grew up in: Ormskirk, which was quite bland and suburban… extraordinarily normal, I suppose you’d say. I’m a sports obsessive. I tend to live vicariously through the achievements of various sports people. But I do see that sport is inherently ridiculous, too.”

Now in its ninth year, this 2016 Runner Up is  “Doulos Nezblanc”, a Zimbabwean-born former lawyer who now works in a London cinema, better known as David Ross from London, for his graphic short Story “Of Ice And Men” He wins £250 cash and and his work will appear online.

The Short Listed Entrants and Their Works

The competition judges were Guardian political cartoonist and author of If…The Graphic Novel Steve Bell; Rachel Cooke from The Observer, Suzanne Dean, Creative Director, Vintage; Sebastian Faulks, bestselling writer of Where My Heart Used to Beat and Birdsong; Dan Franklin, Associate Publisher, Jonathan Cape; and Paul Gravett, Co-Director of Comica London.

• These works are on exhibition at the Orbital Comics Gallery in London until 17 thNovember 2016

Web Links

Graphic Short Story Prize 2016

• Find Matthew Dooley on Tumblr here and follow him on Twitter @mddraws

• You can buy his self published comics at

Read Emily Haworth-Booth’s Presentation Speech on the night “7 Things I Learned When I Won The Prize”

Read The Observer’s Rachel Cooke article on the 2016 Prize Winners Matthew Dooley and “Doulos Nezblanc”

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. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek 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.

Categories: British Comics, Comics Competitions, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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