Art For Art’s Sake #54: Stepping Back To Saner Times With Nelson in 2011…

by Richard Bruton

Another Art For Art’s Sake, more artistic fun for you all, because dammit we all need some beautiful things in our lives right now! Enjoy, wash your hands, keep safe…

This week, because I was reading it again this week (hey, lots of time on all our hands!), we shall take an extended look at Nelson. And if you don’t know what it is, you really need to go out and get a copy! Put together by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, published by Blank Slate Books (sadly on hiatus now) back in 2011. And this is what it was all about…

Nelson is a 250-page collaboration between 54 of the UK’s most exciting comic creators. It is an unprecedented experiment to create one complete story – a collective graphic novel.

London, 1968. A daughter is born to Jim and Rita Baker. Her name is Nel. This is her story, told in yearly snapshots. Each chapter records the events of a single day, weaving one continuous ribbon of pictures and text that takes us on a 43- year journey from Nel Baker’s birth to 2011.

Based on an original idea by Rob Davis and co-edited by Davis and Woodrow Phoenix, Nelson celebrates the incredible diversity of talent in British comics today. Creators known for their editorial and national newspaper strips unite with those from humour comics such as the Beano, The Dandy, and MAD Magazine joining a wealth of talent from children’s books, indie publishing and webcomics, with the science fiction and superhero worlds of 2000AD, Marvel, DC, and Dark Horse.

Part exquisite corpse and part relay race, Nelson spans decades of British history and a myriad of stylistic approaches in telling the story of one woman’s life by 54 creators, in 54 episodes, detailing 54 days. The result is a surprising and compellingly readable book that is sad, funny, moving, poignant, ridiculous, heartfelt, and real. This is a story like none you have seen before.

It really was incredible, collecting together the best of the Brit comics scene at the time, with a remarkably satisfying story and some amazing artwork…

Rob Davis

Woodrow Phoenix

Ellen Lindner

Jamie Smart

Gary Northfield

Sarah McIntyre

Luke Pearson

INJ Culbard

Philip Bond

Simone Lia

Warren Pleece

Rian Hughes

Carol Swain

Hunt Emerson

Joseline Fenton

Posy Simmonds

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