Saturday 26 December 2015

The Art of Diving with Dolphins - The Gun Runners

For the final blog of 2015 we're going back to Christmas 1959 when thousands of children all over the UK would have received the Topper Book for 1960 amongst their presents (The book didn't actually have the year on the cover but it was the standard for annuals to be dated for the year to come). One of the adventure strips inside was Dive With the Dolphins which had finished its seven-month run in the weekly comic earlier in 1959 (Regular Art of Diving readers will know that the strip had started life in 1955 as Lucky Dicky Dolphin). Once again, Skipper and Dicky get the lion's share of the action but Sue's quick thinking helps save the day. The artwork is by Bill Holroyd (1919 - 2000). Click for larger images.

William Henry "Bill" Holroyd began his career at a Manchester advertising agency in 1937. After serving with the Royal Artillery during World War II he began freelancing for DC Thomson. Initially working for a number of smaller publishers as well, he soon became excusive to Thomson's where his brother Albert was a staff artist. Speaking of family connections, their sister Elizabeth was married to fellow Dandy and Beano artist Ken Reid. Equally at home drawing humour or adventure stories, Bill is probably most associated with The Dandy where his many strips included Screwy Driver, Spunky and his Spider, Brassneck and Jack Silver. However, his work also appeared in The Beano (The Iron Fish, Red Rory of the Eagles), The Beezer (The Voyage of the Bushwacker) and even in Bunty where he was the original artist on The Four Marys.

As an extra Christmas treat, here's an example of Bill's work on the weekly Dolphins strip from January 1959.


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