Alex Hallatt, Creator of Arctic Circle

March 28, 2008

     Who knew the ice and snow of the frozen Arctic could be funny? Cartoonist Alex Hallatt did. Syndicated in 2007 under King Features, Arctic Circle has been a long time in the making and worth every minute of the wait. The stars of the comic strip are three penguins who have made the move from their home in Antarctica to the opposite end of the planet, the Arctic. With their friends the polar bear, the lemming and several other critters, Gordo, Oscar and Ed have opened a wide world of comics fun. Alex Hallatt is a genius.

     Alex Hallatt enjoyed cartooning while at the University of Kent at Canterbury in England Her cartoons about a half-man/half mosquito were published in the university newspaper. Completing her degree in Biochemistry, the new graduate set sail for the United States. She worked as a waitress in New Jersey for a few months before deciding her science career might be a better option. In the meantime, Alex created Polar Circle, an early version of the comic with the three penguins as lead characters.

    "When I first thought up the strip, I based it in the Arctic because I wanted a blank canvas for my characters. Penguins are funny birds to begin with," Alex said in the Daily Gazette in March 2008, and moving them to the northern hemisphere created a fantastic creaive situation for me."

ArcticCircle1

ArcticCircle2

     After six months in the United States, Alex returned to England, taking up a post in clinical research. Slogging away for seven years, she decided science was not what she enjoyed. It was time to make a go as a cartoonist. Working briefly with another cartoonist, Alex refined Polar Circle and on the other artist's advice, changed the name of her comic strip to Arctic Circle.

    Arctic Circle first made the funny pages in the Australian Regional Press in 2005. (Alex had changed continents again, making her home in New Zealand in 2003.) Passed on to the King Features representative in Australia, the comic managed to be seen by then Editor-in-Chief Jay Kennedy. Kennedy suggested improvements and by November 2006, Alex had earned a development contract with the huge syndicate.

     "The interplay between the penguins and the polar bear was the genesis of the strip, but these characters have developed to the point where the location of the strip has become secondary to the characters and the funny situations they find themselves in," Alex mentioned on the King Features website. From its inception as Polar Circle in 1992, Arctic Circle has been in the making for 15 years.

     Placed in temporary slots in several newspapers for reader examination, Arctic Circle made a splash. It now appears in newspapers around the world, including The Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, the Southland Times in Invercargill, New Zealand, and in newspapers in Seattle, Houston, Portland, and many more.

     Alex's work may also be seen in books, magazines and other publications, plus on the Internet in e-cards, websites, games and on television. Have a good laught with Arctic Circle. This simple, endearing comic strip seems to have a life all of its own. Find Arctic Circle at Moontoon.

ArcticCircle3

     Good work, Alex Hallatt! Great to see you in the Funny Pages!

Get more information about Alex Hallatt and Arctic Circle at King Features Syndicate

© Susanna McLeod 2008
TheCartoonists.ca