Monday 11 September 2023

The Humorous Art of Diving - Bonus Boltinoff!

 When I posted the third of my three selections of Henry Boltinoff''s humour strips from the 1960s, I thought I'd included all those that featured diving. Well, as Sean Connery might have said, "Never say never again!" Here are two more Homer strips that I found lurking in a couple of Sea Devils comics.

Thursday 7 September 2023

The Elderly Art of Diving

Miss Lavinia Pickerell, Ellen MacGregor's unlikely heroine, first appeared in the short story Swept Her Into Space, published in 1950. The following year, MacGregor expanded it into Miss Pickerell Goes to Mars and launched(!) a new series. Her aim was to write fantasy stories that contained accurate scientific information and would appeal to children. She completed fours books about Miss Pickerell, the last of which was published posthumously in 1954. MacGregor left behind lots notes and ideas for further books and the series was continued by Dora Pantell.

Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea was the third book in the series. All four of the original series were illustrated by Paul Galdone (1907-1986).

Here's the original cover:

This paperback edition was first published in 1961 but this copy dates from 1973.

This rather battered copy dates from 19767.

Here are some of Galdone's interior illustrations:

Paul Galdone was born in Budapest but moved to the USA in 1921 where he studied at the Art Student's League and New York School for Industrial Design. He served in the United States Army during World War 2. He was an author as well as an artist and wrote many of the almost 300 books that he illustrated. Fables and fairy tales were popular subjects and he illustrated the adventures of Eve Titus' mouse heroes, Anatole and Basil of Baker Street. 10 years after his death he was awarded the 1996 Kerlan Award for his contributions to children's literature.

This French edition dates from 1974...

and finally, this one dates from 1981:

Friday 1 September 2023

The Marvellous Art of Diving

Today we have two covers from Pierre Labat's Le Merveilleux Royaume (The Marvellous Kingdom). 


Labat had earlier served in the French army during World War II, earning the Croix de Guerre for acts of bravery. He also worked with Cousteau who wrote the following about him: "Labat is one of those men who have to fulfill the most beautiful mission: that of dazzling youth by leading them to conquer the splendours of Nature, to reveal to them the deep joys of effort." His death occurred while diving the wreck of the Arroyo near Toulon. He was just 29 years old.

The French cover is by Pierre Joubert (1910-2002) who also had a long association with the scouts. You can read a bit more about him here.

The cover to the English edition was painted by Desmond Knight. Unfortunately, apart from a few more credits, I haven't been able to find out anything about him.

Wednesday 16 August 2023

The Art of Diving with Dolphins - Turtle Trouble

 Dicky Dolphin's time in The Topper was long gone by the mid-seventies, but in 1976 the comic featured a fortnightly series of "Golden Oldies" and one of the strips selected was from Lucky Dicky Dolphin, the first series of Dicky's adventures. Thanks to Ray Moore's excellent Topper Tales - A Complete Index to The Topper Comic, I now know that Dicky was an orphan who was nicknamed "Lucky" by his chums because he was so unlucky. Eventually he manages to run away from the orphanage and is befriended by Skipper Dolphin and his daughter Sue who just happen to share his surname. Well that was lucky!

I can't say I approve of Dicky's turtle-trapping activities but the 1950s also saw Cousteau happily using dynamite to obtain fish specimens so I guess it could have been worse!

Art by George Ramsbottom (Click for a larger image).

Thursday 10 August 2023

WoW! If Only We Had Gills!

Apologies for the break in service but The Art of Diving is back in action!

Here's a 1973 World of Wonder article about the development of diving gear, specifically underwater breathing equipment. (Click for larger images).

Monday 13 February 2023

The Daredevil Art of Diving (Updated 31/3/23)

 Just a quick one today as The Art of Diving goes back to its roots with a Mike Western Valiant cover. The Daredevils was the last of the comic's long line of cover features which had included the likes of It Could Happen, Is It True? and Who Is It?

Updated to add some extra Mike Western goodness with this back cover from the 1975 Valiant Summer Special.

Saturday 11 February 2023

Three (More) of a Kind - The Frogmen

 Here are three more covers for The Frogmen.

 This 1950s edition is signed "Dix" but I haven't been able to find out anything about them.

Leslie Wood (1920-1994), who painted this Quality Book Club cover, was a Cheshire-based artist best known for their work on the Little Red Engine series. He also produced covers for Hugh Walters' science-fiction novels.

This revised Pan paperback edition dates from 1970.