We are proud to announce the arrival of our new comic Bloke’s Progress, the combined version of three fabulous comics written by Kevin Jackson and illustrated by Hunt Emerson. Copies are available to purchase from Brantwood bookshop at a price of £12.99. Below is its story, in the words of Hunt:
“In 2005 and 2008 Kevin Jackson and myself, with the Ruskin Foundation, produced two comic books – HOW TO BE RICH and HOW TO SEE, both for limited distribution in the North West of England. There was always intended to be a third volume, HOW TO WORK, and now the Ruskin Foundation have the funds to realise it. Knockabout, with the Foundation, are publishing all three comics in one 120 page volume, BLOKE’S PROGRESS, to be released in April to coincide with a major exhibition entitled WORK at Brantwood (Cumbria), the Ruskin Foundation’s headquarters.
BLOKE’S PROGRESS is based on the works of Victorian critic, writer and social reformer John Ruskin (in his time possibly the most famous man in Britain), and were intended to try and introduce some of his ideas to young, modern readers. His work is largely unread today, being very dense and Victorian, but it is hard to over-estimate how influential he was in his time. His thinking led in time to such things as the National Trust, Art education for the masses, and ultimately the welfare state and the NHS. When members of the first Labour government were asked what influenced their philosophies a small minority said Karl Marx, while the majority cited John Ruskin, and it was often said that if a British working family had two books in their house they would be The Bible and Ruskin’s “Unto This Last” (the book that inspired our How To Be Rich).
This all sounds very dry and intellectual, and hardly the stuff of comic books, but the book is far from that! It’s funny, wild and weird, it’s a romance and a psychedelic trip, and it has Skittle, one of the most loveable dogs in comics. And it contains some very interesting and radical ideas.
Darren Bloke is a hard-working stiff who’s life is changed and ruined by a lottery win. He squanders his windfall and winds up with nothing. The spirit of John Ruskin visits him, and takes him through a series of explorations of Money, Perception and Work that turn his life around and enable him to see the world through a much more positive, creative filter, and to learn to live as an honest human should.