Mark Stafford is one of the greatest 'unknown' comic book creators in the world. I say unknown, he has done stellar work with Bryan Talbot, David Hine but mostly solo, but he has worked in relative obscurity for the last thirty years, writing and drawing comics that are somewhere between Evan Dorkin, Robert Crumb, Frank Frazetta, Bob Fingerman, Roger Langridge and Jamie Hewlett. I've covered his work on Bleeding Cool before, I've published him long ago, even got him to do covers for my Avengefuls comics at Boom. But of late he has gained a reputation for a series of graphic novels with David Hine. And it's one of those that has come to mind, right now.
You'll have also read about the Cartoon Museum in London a lot on Bleeding Cool too, and Mark is its artist-in-residence. Closed temporarily to the public on 18th March, due to the coronavirus, this has resulted in no income from visitor admissions, the museum shop, events or from learning workshops, and unlike some London museums, it does not get any funding from the UK government. It will take time on re-opening for their visitors to return, and the museum is very concerned about their ability to survive the next six months.
Since 2006, The Cartoon Museum has received over 420,000 visitors and built a nationally important collection of 4,300 cartoons, comics and caricatures, and a library of 18,000 comics and books – all without government or local authority support. Over 50,000 children and adults have attended cartooning, comic and animation workshops and the museum receives 3,000 student visits each year.
The Museum has a fundraising target of £150,000 in total, and so far has raised around £67,000 since its closure through a variety of activities and public generosity.
Now, Soaring Penguin Press and artist Mark Stafford have teamed up to raise money for the Cartoon Museum. Together, they are offering up signed editions his graohic novel with Hine, The Bad Bad Place, together with an original A6 piece by Mark Stafford.
Says co-publisher John Anderson, "We've always had a fondness for The Cartoon Museum. Giving them these books is the least we can do if it helps the museum survive." Tim Pilcher, co-publisher added, "The Cartoon Museum provides an indispensable service in both preserving and presenting the UK's cartooning history, as well as providing a space to support young artists." Basically they are saying it's a Good, Good Place.
The Bad Bad Place Cartoon Museum Special can be purchased here. All proceeds from the sale of every book bundle, or any other donations will be given to The Cartoon Museum. And donations to the Museum can be made directly, right here.