Friday 28 April 2017

Leo Baxendale 1930-2017

I was saddened to hear of the death a few days ago of British comics legend Leo Baxendale. At DC Thomson he was the original artist on Little Plum, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids and The Three Bears. He left Thomson's to start Wham! for Odhams where his work included Eagle Eye Junior Spy, a strip that introduced the wonderfully named Grimly Feendish. Grimly got his own strip in Smash! where Leo also drew Bad Penny. He later took over The Swots and the Blots which I read every week when Smash! merged with Valiant. Later IPC work included Clever Dick in Buster and Sweeny Toddler in Shiver and Shake. He was a pioneer of creator-owned characters with Willy the Kid in the late 70s.

You can read Lew Stringer's tribute on his wonderful Blimey! blog, which also contains further links.

Leo was interviewed for the first episode of Comics Britannia in 2007.

In June 1975, IPC launched a new, themed comic called Monster Fun. The four centre pages could be removed, cut and folded to make a mini, eight page comic called the Badtime Bedtime Book. Baxendale worked on these until the end of 1975 at which point he stopped working in weekly comics to devote his time to writing and drawing his new character Willy the Kid in album form.

Now, here for your enjoyment, from November 1975, is The Underwater World of Jacques Custard. (Click for larger images).

Wednesday 12 April 2017

The Weekly Art of Diving - S.N.O.R.K.E.L. Part 7

Here it is! The exciting conclusion!

That's all from Johnnie and the S.N.O.R.K.E.L. team for now but they'll return to The Art of Diving soon.

Tuesday 11 April 2017

The Commercial Art of Diving

Diving was often a popular subject matter for print ads back in the '50s and '60s. These three were all done in a cartoon style.

1956. Drawn by Ted Key (Theodore Keyser, 1912-2008). Key is best known as the creator of Hazel, a single-panel cartoon that appeared in the Saturday Evening Post and was later syndicated in newspapers. He also created the Peabody's Improbable History segment for the animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

This 1958 ad for Crane Valves is by Stan Ekman (1913-1998) who more commonly worked in full colour. He painted covers for magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers and produced a number of ads for RCA Whirlpool fridges and washing machines. His most widely seen work is undoubtedly the American Airlines logo.

This ad from 1960 announces the attendance of the R.D. Wood Company at the American Water Works Association's annual conference. I'm afraid I don't know the identity of the artist but I'm sure you'll be delighted to learn that the company were manufacturers of the Matthews Fire Hydrant.

Wednesday 5 April 2017

The Weekly Art of Diving - S.N.O.R.K.E.L. Part 6

It's that time again! More undersea action with Johnnie Webb and S.N.O.R.K.E.L.

Come back next Wednesday for the exciting conclusion!