Coming soon... It's A Sparks Show: Part 2...
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This was a comic strip idea that had been rattling around in my head for a long time so I’m glad to have finally sat down and drawn it out. I think drawing this was some kind of penance for once writing to Ron Mael as Stan Madeley (movie frogman) offering to teach him how to scuba dive. He never replied but I can hardly blame him.
I’ve been a big fan of Sparks, possibly from early childhood but, on a conscious level, since I discovered the 'Gratuitous Sax' album yet I consider myself to be far too sane to be one of those 'super fans'. I stood next to a few of them outside Manchester’s Ritz last October when I saw Sparks play live. It was a birthday present otherwise I would have probably missed the tour and missed standing in line with one scary woman who was ready to throw body parts onto the stage if Russell Mael had only looked in her direction. Rather than stand at the front, I crept up to the balcony and, as fate would have it, got one of the few seats in the house (video here). I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Sparks will come back to Manchester around October when they do another live tour later in the year. The evening was sublime.
Next to seeing the Ralph Steadman exhibition or going to the Fringe to see Stuart Lee and Baconface, a Sparks concert could be another highlight of that fantasy year when I actually earn money for my cartoons/books and can actually afford to see all the things I want to see.
Looking back at this strip, there are things I could have done much better. I mainly read underground comics so I love roughly framing, though, doing this again, I perhaps wouldn’t make it quite as rough. Some of the crosshatching was also rushed. Yet there are parts of this I really like. Learning to draw cartoons is all about constant practice. I didn’t want to spend too long on this, though I’ve not drawn two A4 sheets for quite a while. Anyway, success or failure, this is one of those things I draw for myself. The monkey at the end amuses me enormously and I've not stopped smiling all day.