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Cartoons The inimitable Lorna Miller

MICHAL BONCZA recommends a superb collection of BoJo cartoons by the Morning Star contributor

The Posh Boy, the Pants and the Pandemic
by Lorna Miller “Mistress of Line”
The Drouth £12.99

 

WHEN we asked Martin Rowson to provide a quote for this review, he just saw red.

“Lorna Miller is a scandal,” he seethed, “That is, it’s a scandal that a cartoonist so skilled, lethal, funny and furious is not being published daily everywhere. That our national newspaper cartoon slots remain logjammed by old white men (myself included) instead of showcasing her brilliance is the greatest indictment of the Main Stream Media I can think of.”

Glaswegian Miller is a direct inheritor of a tradition that dates back to the daring 18th-century trailblazer Mary Darly, the pioneering Victorian Marie Duval and Suffragettes Mary Lowndes, Louisa Thomson-Price and Dora Meeson Coates. She shares their fearlessness as well as remarkable drawing skills.

When at the Glasgow School of Arts her inspirations were Kathe Kollwitz and the Guerrilla Girls.

In The Posh Boy, the Pants and the Pandemic, Miller “chronicles” the behaviour of one Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, prime minister at the time when government incompetence resulted in the loss of 210,000 lives with a further 2 million blighted by long Covid.

Johnson’s demeanour is often a caricature in itself but with Miller’s “assistance” the ridicule is masterfully augmented and finely targeted — in each of the 27 cartoons.

Whether wearing dubiously stained pyjamas, with a pair of women’s knickers on his head, made-up like a pantomime dame or smoking a Churchillesque cigar Johnson is put to the sword by merciless satire that will warm hearts.

Miller’s sense of composition is immaculate, the allegorical invoking of old masters scintillating, the humorous detail endearing. She can caricature anybody, anytime with her refined line and attentive approach, hence the “Mistress of Line” nom de plume.

Although she knows well her adversary and is implacable in her artistic forays, the resulting cartoons are remarkable for a lack of malice.

There is an added poignancy to this particular collection in which Miller ruthlessly and  hilariously deflates the often insufferably pompous BoJo.

The pandemic was a life-changing time for Miller who had contracted, like so many others, Covid early on and never fully recovered from what later appeared to be long Covid. She has recently been diagnosed, by the NHS, with hypermobility, a debilitating connective tissue disorder, but the treatment prescribed appears to work and we wish her a speedy and full recovery. Her witticism remains intact.

Miller’s has been contributing generously to the Morning Star over the years, for which the paper is immensely grateful. Her cutting, political humour has also found a berth at Bella Caledonia and more recently the Guardian, which added her in their cartoonists’ roster that includes Henny Beaumont (also Morning Star), Nicola Jennings, Ella Baron and Simone Lia.

This edifying and highly entertaining collection makes an ideal Christmas gift.

The Posh Boy, the pants and the Pandemic is available via https://ko-fi.com/s/75fb0e8b18

 

 

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