Dave Gibbons has been appointed as the UK's first comics laureate by the charity Comic Literacy Awareness. Dave, I think I can call him Dave, will act as ambassador for comics and their role in encouraging children to read, visiting schools, talking to children, teachers and educationalists. Dave, like me and I guess many others, was a pre-school reader thanks to comics. When I first met Dave Gibbons, at Lucca, he was at an early enough stage of his career to ask for my opinion on drawing Doctor Who. I offered the advice, which I don't know if he took, of making the famous scarf wavy rather than just hanging there. We then used to meet at The Society of Strip Illustration. We were on a panel to select that years prize winners when there was an impasse over which of two artist should take the gold. There was the proposal, ( mine?) that since they were of equal merit some other, PR consideration might be used to decide. Dave Gibbons was aghast at the idea that anything other than artistic criteria should be brought to bear. We haven't spoken since. Don't believe that was personal. My recollection is that Dave left the S.S.I shortly afterwards. I imagined that being due to him being disappointed and seeing the situation as evidence of the S.S.I. 's apparent willingness to blur criteria for political reasons. These historic ( in the sense of old, not world shaking) occasions are bought up not just to show that I have rubbed shoulders with the famous but because they illustrate qualities that makes Dave Gibbons such a good choice for the laureate position. He is earnest about his work, takes making comics seriously, and has integrity.

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