Here’s the cover for my new book for 2021 with illustrator, Jason Chatfield. It’s a hardback, full-colour, 100th anniversary book of Ginger Meggs short stories for ages 8+, based on the characters created by my great-great uncle 100 years ago.
The illustrations are absolute dynamite and I’ve been preparing to write this book since I was 8 years old. My Tom Weekly series and Nit Boy were the perfect training ground to tackle a book featuring these famous characters from Australia’s longest-running comic strip. There will be lots of celebration around Ginger’s 100th year in 2021 and I’m so glad that this book will be part of it.
I’ve been working with Jason Chatfield and the team at Penguin Random House Australia to create stories that we’re so proud of. The book, like the current comic strip, is contemporary. It’s set in the present day, but I have tried to capture the energy and vitality of the characters that has seen them through a century of Australian history. There’s Ginge, Benny, Min, Aggie, Tony the monkey, Mike the dog, Eddie Coogan, Jugears Jonson and Tiger Kelly, as well as new characters like Rahul, Penny and Gloria.
My connection to Jimmy Bancks was part of the reason I started telling stories as a kid and was my greatest source of schoolyard pride. He died in 1952, so I didn’t have a chance to meet him but I heard the stories. I read as much as I could about him, as well as reading the comic every Sunday, and spent hours looking up at the original Meggs artwork on the wall of my grandmother’s house (which now sits on the wall of my house). I also remember losing my mind when I won a Ginger Meggs showbag at the Royal Easter Show and had the chance to meet James Kemsley, the Meggs cartoonist at the time.
Ginger Meggs Book Synopsis
Celebrating 100 years of the iconic character and Aussie legend Ginger Meggs, these four brand new and original stories are written by Tristan Bancks, the great-great nephew of original creator Jimmy Bancks, and illustrated in full colour by the current Ginger Meggs comic-strip creator. Kids and grown-ups alike will revel in the rambunctious adventures and comical capers of the ginger kid who never gets old.
TO BE PUBLISHED 4 MAY 2021. ASK YOUR LOCAL BOOKSELLER OR PRE-ORDER ONLINE VIA PENGUIN HERE.
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