IN MY OPINION: Widen our horizons, raise our game [PB:IMO]

Art by Sergio Toppi
Sergio Toppi died today. He’d been drawing comics in Italy since the 60s, and, as someone who at least tries to keep my eyes on what’s going on, I’d heard the name, but I’m afraid I didn’t know much about him. Then Simon Fraser, artist on Nikolai Dante in 2000AD, posted a drawing of his on Facebook. That’s it above. I mean, that’s just gorgeous. Here’s a small gallery of other drawings by him, and here’s his page on the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Stick his name into a Google Images search. Your eyes will thank you.
Toppi had no Irish connections that I’m aware of. Neither did Joe Kubert, who we lost on the 12th, or Moebius, who we lost in March, or Ronald Searle, who we lost last December, who didn’t really even draw comics as such, but they all drew like demons. The Irish comics scene is still in its infancy, so we shouldn’t be surprised we don’t have anybody who approaches any of the four of them. But I think those of us who make comics in Ireland owe it to ourselves and each other to aim as high as we can in our art, and that means looking further for inspiration than just what’s new in the comic shop this Wednesday, or what’s in 2000AD this week.
There is quality drawing in Irish comics. I was very impressed by Damien Goodfellow’s Brian Boru book from O’Brien Press, and the forthcoming Stray Lines looks lovely. Let’s not let up. Let’s keep pushing. And lets appreciate the greats, wherever they come from, while we still have them.