The artist takes us through memory lane with a story about perseverance and toys.
While you may be used to seeing his work emblazoned across an Iron Maiden poster, we wanted to put illustrator Dan Mumford up to a very different task—we asked him to pen an illustration inspired by the forthcoming Disney·Pixar film, Finding Dory. To accompany the image we asked Dan to relate to us a story from his own life that might touch on the film’s themes of family, perseverance, but still remaining upbeat in the face of adversity. He came back with a story about a Street Fighter 2 toy...
To the eight year old me in December ‘93, there were two things that mattered on earth: Street Fighter 2, and my hero from it, Blanka. So when I spotted a toy of him in the Argos catalogue, I freaked out. And short of gluing the page to my Dad’s face, I dropped enough hints to ensure Santa wouldn't let me down. Christmas morning, I rushed downstairs. There he was. A shock of orange hair, roaring expression and incy wincy knife; it was love at first sight. Then, as kids do, we all crammed in the living room together wreaking havoc.
Time passed and, while the tornado of mayhem enjoyed a recess, the place was tidied. Returning, I sought out my now neatly-stacked presents to retrieve Blanka. He’d survived. But where was his knife? I ran back and forth, searching under the sofas. Tears streamed. ‘Stop worrying, it’ll turn up,’ dad kept saying, but I was already diving into bin bags and ripping them to pieces; Christmas was off. Dad soon joined in, and so did Mum, Grandma and my Great Aunt, but when it came to dinner time, it was just me and Dad left. Rustling through the last bag, surrounded by rubbish, Dad shook his head and walked off to a consolatory cold Christmas dinner.
I retreated to the lounge, defeated. I grappled Blanka— it was just us now—and clutched him hard. But a sharp object pierced my palm. I yelped, dropping him to the carpet. Of course, there it was: the knife. He had had it all along —I hadn’t even detached it. That 3cm piece of plastic was my world. And though that pain in my hand was short, it had a lasting effect on me: a reminder that there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and, most of all, that I’m completely daft.
We all mess up sometimes, but it’s moments like this when you realise the importance of family and how they help when all seems lost. Check out Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory and follow Dory on her journey home. In Cinemas Friday.