Jason's blog. He is the fifth cartoonist since to produce the iconic Australian comic strip Ginger Meggs, which is the oldest comic strip in Australian history. Chatfield also works as a freelance caricaturist and illustrator. His work has been published in several books in Australia and worldwide.
At first Australian comics copied British comic papers until the first comic book The Kookaburra appeared in Several early uniquely Australian comics had wide circulation and enjoyed long runs. Probably the most famous is the comic strip Ginger Meggs , created in by Jimmy Bancks which still runs in syndication to this day with new artists, of course. Bancks published the first of the Ginger Meggs Annuals in , and they were to continue for the next 35 years. For a more recent example, Dillon Naylor 's Da 'n' Dill has been running in one form or another since Because of its contribution to winning the Second World War, Australia incurred a huge national debt; local publishers found they had a captive market as import restrictions were enforced, at the same time the modern American style comic book mostly sans color was adopted.
Throughout his lifetime, readers have seen Ginger Meggs evolve from the s world of billycarts, wireless radios and cricket games played in the street to the computer-drawn strips of today in which Ginger laments the loss of internet connection. Occasionally Ginger Meggs steps into the real world; he crossed the Harbour Bridge on its opening in , the same year he met cricket hero Don Bradman. During World War II Ginger was drawn on sides of Australian airplanes and appeared in Army News, he was used in road safety campaigns in the s and, controversially, entered the space age in the s. The world of Ginger Meggs continued off the page too with an array of commercial products and merchandise, from his own spin off Little Golden Book stories to dolls and clothing, songs and tableware. The exhibition will take visitors behind the scenes, exploring how Bancks and his successors created their comic strips, and also enable visitors to try their hand at drawing Ginger Meggs.
Ginger Meggs has endured the test of time - read how Jason Chatfield has kept him alive! How many characters do you know who can travel 90 years back in time into their own comic strip? One of the great advantages of writing and drawing a year-old comic strip is being able to go back over the last century and see what the previous artists did when they took over. I fell in love with the cast of unique Aussie characters, as several generations had before me, so it was such a privilege to be asked to continue this strip nine years ago. When I was a young fan, the first book I ever read was a novelization of Ginger Meggs.