Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Monday 09 July 2018

The Brexit Comic: Brighton-Based Satirist Goes From Strength-To-Strength With Pomposity Poking Crowdfunded Comic

"Do I replace David Davis from the cover (and the Car boot story) or wait to see if Johnson and May join him before print day?" @TheBrexitComic

When people who have 'made it' are asked what they can thank for their transformation, few people would cite cancer, near poverty or isolation.

But then author, illustrator, publisher, and satirist Mike Dicks isn't your average Joe Public.

"Facing an illness that stopped me from working actually got me to do what I love.I can only thank it for bringing me to Brighton and making my life meaningful,"

Mike has just launched the first edition of his Brexit comic – a "tongue in cheek but possibly fist-in-face" look at the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

With characters including the Reverend May and her Brexit Gang, David Dealin' Davis and Boris 'Captain Brexit' Johnson, the first of the monthly publications was launched in Hove recently – to national and international acclaim and a public crying out for more.

Based loosely on the classic 1960s children"s TV programme Trumpton it came about after Mike successfully raised enough money through crowdfunding to get the title off the ground.  

It is also a further extension of his hugely successful Facebook page, The Trumpton Establishment, which he set up mainly so he could write a joke every day.

"Even when I had a job I liked I still just wanted to make a gag about politics. So I had to find a way to make it pay."

The Brexit comic isn't the first time that the former TV producer and digital expert rubbed the edges off the pomposity of politics.

It is widely believed his Show Your Rump to Trump campaign – which culminated in a plastic bum being presented to a full size cut out of the POTUS on regular occasions through social media and also TV's The Last Leg – has resulted in the US President's decision to give a visit to the UK a 'miss' for the time being.

He also hit the headlines when UKIP MEP, David Coburn, thought that Mike had set up a fake account representing his party – when he was just making jokes about Nigel Farage and his friends.

"He urged his 9000 Twitter followers to complain about my account and get it shut down. 

'The opposite happened and my hobby site went from having a few hundred followers to 20,000 in the space of a few weeks."

While it all blew up in Coburn's face, Mike was getting his known out and about in town to the point that his Brexit Comic sold out of the first print run of 2,500 copies – with the strong likelihood each and every one will soon become a collector"s item.

"I'm not printing any more of the first edition but new ones will be coming out monthly, with more value and more pages,' he said.

Not only that but the likes of John Cleese and Hugh Grant have had their interest piqued in the phenomenon that is Mike Dicks, in the form of their association with the Byline Festival which is organised by the Hacked Off campaign.

He – and his establishment - has been invited to set up a 'village fete' at the four day celebrity artists event in Sussex – including pub singers, knobbly knees competitions and of course a number of people acting out very significant extracts from the Trumpton era.

"We need lots of people doing lots of things. None of them has to be very good, unless they want to be of course" said Mike.

If it all sounds like he is keeping very busy, then he is. "Finding humour in lots of things is keeping me cheerful."

There is an irony in that one option for treating his "skirmish" with cancer could involve living in Portugal and taking advantage of the current freedom to seek medical support anywhere in Europe.

"That opportunity could all change with Brexit, which is one subject not quite so funny."

While Mike might flirt with the idea of a move away from Brighton, it would seem the City has captured his heart and also given him a new lease of life – and work.

Within a short time of him settling into his flat in Hove he acquired a dog called Scrabble, who soon became inspiration for a number of cartoons – some of which now adorn the side of a Brighton and Hove bus. 

His 'Mike and Scrabble' books, alongside a cartoon publication about Donald Trump, have been sell-outs.

"But as any author will tell you, it doesn't make you any money," said Mike who added that it might have been Scrabble's negotiating terms that let him down.

"I let her do all the talking which may well have resulted in a contract very much skewed to her own demands rather than mine."

Thankfully a mixture of activities and projects now keep him gainfully employed and his first forays into design, including various depictions of the locality now for sale in local galleries, have given him strong roots – and a loyal following only too willing to help him further up the rungs of success.

"I'm constantly amazed at the support of people in Brighton. Their open generosity and genuine desire to help others on their way to do what they want to do is heart-warming."

The next Brexit comic is available at descience.shop/collections/trumpton-brexit at a cost of £4.

Further information about taking part in the Byline Festival can be obtained by joining The Trumpton Establishment on Facebook – where your ability to join in with the jokes will form the main admission criteria.

"Our gang is self-regulating. Those who are silly enough to join in, do.Those who think we are very silly, don"t  - which suits me fine."

To purchase The Brexit Comic CLICK HERE.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    


Etta James' frantic recording and touring schedule coincided with her ever growing addiction problems and over time she not only sang the blues, she lived the blues. 

This month the 'sophisticated and stylish popsters' All Saints will play an intimate gig in Brighton, on behalf of Nordoff Robbins, the UK's largest independent music therapy charity.

Make way for protest singer, LGBTQ+ activist, folk singer, socialist and social commentator Grace Petrie.

Sat in the TV room at The Courtlands Hotel, in Hove, on the evening of 1st December 1973, with just one other guest. That was a twelve year-old me (ed) and a sockless and scowling Brian Clough. On the screen were 'the highlights' of Brighton & Hove Albion getting hammered 2-8 by Bristol Rovers. Clough was the co-manager of the Albion!

Northern psychedelic punks The Lovely Eggs have unleased their new album 'This Is Eggland', ahead of a date in Brighton.

A full twenty-five years after the release of Baka Beyond's debut album, Spirit of the Forest, the band celebrate their beginnings with a date in Sussex, re-joined after a long absence by Paddy Le Mercier, a member of the original line-up.

A follow up to Sue MacLaine's award winning work Can I Start Again Please, Vessel takes inspiration from the remarkable history of Anchoritism to ask if voluntary solitude could ever be defined as a political act. 

In the year that has seen knife crime in the UK soar to an unprecedented level, writer and actress Ambreen Razia, presents POT, which goes inside the corrupt and violent world of inner city gang culture. 
Photo by Delaney Brooks

Sussex-based music charity, AudioActive, has taken a big step towards their vision to establish the UK's first centre for excellence for the talent development of marginalised and under-represented artists in Worthing, thanks to £92,618 National Lottery funding through Arts Council England.
Barbara Windsor Memory Walkers

Sussex resident Arianne McGarrigle recently joined a tide of people to unite against dementia at Brighton and Hove Memory Walk


Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter, based on their critically acclaimed original BBC Radio 4 drama of the same name.

Multi-award winning songwriter and musician, theatre maker and published writer Kartine Polwart's seventh release, Laws of Motion, is the follow-up to last year's A Pocket of Wind Resistance, which was an innovative blend of folk music, spoken word & sound design. 

Benefit Cosmetics joined forces with Alice Skinner and a team of street artists to create two inspiring murals. The artworks celebrate the collaborative efforts of women, who support each other's 'brow-raising' actions and accomplishments.  

Ahead of a one-off date at Brighton's Hope & Ruin, Bristol based multi-instrumentalist producer and visual artist She Makes War has released her new single Devastate Me, taken from her upcoming album Brace For Impact. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd