Saturday, November 15, 2008

Burgerman and Me

I popped in to London today to catch Jon Burgerman who was doing a signing at Forbidden Planet. You may recall that I was raving about his doodly art earlier in the week (and it isn't the first time that I've mentioned his work. His Heroes of Burgertown vinyl figures are now on sale and I wanted to pick a couple of new ones up. But more importantly, I wanted a signed copy of his book Pens are my friends - a retrospective of his work to date.

I had a brief chat with him but didn't hog too much of his time. It says something about the state of the comics industry that the queue of people to see him was longer than it has been at most comic signings I've been to recently. I also couldn't help noticing that FP seems to cater far more to film, cult TV, model figure and art toy fans than it does to comic fans these days ... the comics have all been relegated to downstairs. Here's a tired-looking Colgan (it's been a busy week) displaying his signed and doodled-on copy.

£30 may seem a lot to pay for a book but it is stunning. It's a bargain as far as I'm concerned. It's rammed to the gunwales with his artwork, most of it in glorious full colour and it showcases everything from murals to poster art, skateboard decks to tee-shirts, vinyl figures to plushies. Plus, the book comes with a DVD of even more wallpapers, animations, icons and video interviews. Oh, and several of the book's pages can be pulled out into long gatefolds and the slip-cover, when removed and unfolded, becomes a large poster. A lot of time, thought and energy have gone into this book and I bloody love it. Some of the interior pages are available to download as wallpaper if you click here. Plus there's an overview here.

A lot of artists like Jon - people like James Jarvis, Gary Baseman, Frank Kozik, Tim Biskup, David Horvath etc. - started their careers very much on the fringes of society as graffiti artists or as part of the 'Lowbrow' pop surrealism movement. However, they are now very much part of modern culture - even to the extent of Mr Burgerman appearing on BBC icon children's magazine show Blue Peter recently (that's him on the right looking like he's admonishing us all for watching him). And he's a very nice chap indeed.
I also bought two more of his figures. Being 'blind-boxed' (i.e. sealed and unidentifiable), it's a bit like a lucky dip. You never know which figure you'll get. But with 16 in the set and the fact that I only own three so far, I reckoned my odds were good.
They weren't. I now have two Tittymons.


Jon M said...

Interesting comment on the comics shop. A similar trend up here.

willow said...

I love these little Burgertown guys! And fun signature, too. Are these your bookshelves? They look like mine.

chris hale said...

Pen friends, eh? I had one of those at school. I think his name was Parker.

I really like Burgerman's doodly style of drawing.

Persephone said...

This is kind of off-topic, but my blog-roll (which features the first few lines of the most recent post of a blog-rollee) tells me you're whinging in Yorkshire. Are you now whinging somewhere else? Or have you found something better to do in Sheffield which always puts me in mind of male strippers? (Not that I'm suggesting that's something better to do...)

Debby said...

Doesn't everyone got two tittymons? Just saying.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Jon - It'd be interesting to see if the trend is national. Or even international. Certainly at Comicon in San Diego a few months ago I saw that comics made up the smallest proportion of the exhibitions.

Willow - Yes, those are some of my bookcases of which there are many. All overflowing and haphazardly stocked ... but I know where every single book is!

Chris - Paker! Ha! Mine was called 'His Nibs'. I thought you'd like this stuff. I bet Daughter No.1 loves it doesn't she?

Persephone - Ah yes. I've been up in 'Full Monty' country lecturing for a day. Just got home. I had such a crappy, stressy journey up there that I unleashed my wrath and vented my spleen on the blog. Then I read it back and realised that I sounded like a whingeing old git. So I deleted it. I didn't realise it would stay on the blogroll. Oops.

Debby - Fnar!

chris hale said...


Yep, it stays on the blogroll. But I thought Whingeing was in Derbyshire, not Yorkshire.

Tittymons - are these by any chance lap-dancing relatives of Ken Dodd's Diddymen?

Stevyn Colgan said...

Chris - Well, I've now written a newer post ... so hopefully my whinge has been left behind in South Yorkshire!

Tittymon is the porn industry version of Pokemon, surely?

Starring Prickachu.