Detail from Collins’ robin in the snow strip from Some Comics
Great cartoonists and comic book artists can capture the complexities of life in a few drawn panels. British illustrator Stephen Collins adds in a fantastic ear for dialogue and an uncanny ability to pick up on contemporary mores to make some of the funniest work around. His new book features 100 of his best strips to date…
Out next week from Jonathan Cape, Collins’ first collected edition of strips includes work that has appeared in the Guardian Weekend and Prospect magazine, alongside others which are new for the book. Collins already has a longer work under his belt, last year’s The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil (also published by Cape), but his new volume of Some Comics is exactly that: perfect single page distillations of 21st-century life. And they are hilarious.
From the smartphone to the TV arts show, Collins takes on the modern comforts of our lives and looks at them in a way that many of us recognise but rarely do anything about – aside from huff, puff and moan inwardly that there’s-never-any-time-anymore-to-finish-that-book-I-know-I-should-be-reading (and then check Twitter).
His targets range from taking inopportune ‘selfies’ and the drug-like checking of emails while on holiday, to the latest apps that, instead of helping us, really, if we’re honest, actually sap some of the spontaneity out of life.
Detail from one of Collins’ panda strips from Some Comics
That’s not to say Collins is fixated on the trappings of social media and internet culture (he is a bit), as there’s plenty of existential chatting between carrier bags, hand-dryers, swans, pandas, Kim Jong-Un’s hair, and an excellent Michael Gove cartoon, too. There truly is something for everyone.
Detail from The Twat Collector: “B-but I’m not a twat!” / “You are a twat, dear”