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From laughing stock to comic book hero

02 October, 2017 — By Dan Carrier

Jeremy Corbyn: backbencher to superhero

IN this week’s Guardian, columnist Polly Toynbee has written an essay on Jeremy Corbyn. Regular readers will know she was never keen on him. But on Tuesday, she states that: “Labour has become the nation’s adults, the sensibles, the party least likely to wreck the country’s future.”

Such lines would have been unthinkable and dismissed as a spoof just a few months ago.

Such has been the change the veteran Islington North MP has brought about as the leader of the Labour Party. Through his quiet, non-confrontational, moral-led leadership, he has become the defining story of the year, and this, with the Labour Party Conference recognising that, has been his week.

The rise of Corbyn, from proactive backbencher to national treasure – a man who is seen as upholding the highest moral principles and could become prime minister – shows that politics should never surprise anyone.

Toynbee, as vocal a critic as anyone, then added: “How short a time ago Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were regarded as delinquent adolescents who had never grown out of the 1970s. They may be the masters soon. What a transformation.”

Part of a strip called Cubs After Slumberland by Keith McDougall – one of the contributions that feature in The Corbyn Comic Book

And so it feels timely that the King’s Cross-based graphic novel publishers Self Made Hero have chosen this week to release their latest tome, The Corbyn Comic Book.

A compilation of contributions from around the world, Self Made Hero put out a call for artists to send in a comic strip of up to three pages long based on the rise of Mr Corbyn.

They feature strips such as Stephen Appleby’s What Life is All About, which offers a choice between “A Fairer World” and ‘’I’m All Right, Jack”, and Hannah Berry’s take on how newspapers report what the leader has said and done.

“Pollsters called it a foregone conclusion,” says Self Made’s founder Emma Hayley.

“Columnists said Theresa May’s snap election wouldn’t just return her a thumping majority, but plunge the opposition into an existential crisis. Then something happened. Momentum got to work. Grime4Corbyn gathered steam. Clicktivists were transformed into door-knocking, flag-waving activists.

“Slowly but surely, the bike-riding green-fingered Labour leader began to win over a sizeable chunk of the electorate.”

Contributors to the comic book include Steve Bell, Martin Rowson and Stephen Collins, as well as graphic novelists such as Mark Stafford and the results are funny, insightful and inspiring.

• The Corbyn Comic Book. Published by Self Made Hero, £4.99.

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