Friday, 18 September 2009

Leo Baxendale
New fun site showing badtime bedtime story from Monster Fun by Leo Baxendale.

Fans of Leo Baxendale emails
Dear Peter, I was a great fan of Leo Baxendale back in the sixties when Wham! first appeared. At school we were mad about Grimly Feendish and his monsters – such as the Mouff, the Giant Splodge and the Hairy Squelch!! Sadly I cut all the “creatures”, as we called them, out from the pages of the original series and pasted them into a book. Now, of course, I really wish I had kept the comics intact. I wrote to Leo Baxendale a few years back to find out what had happened to the artwork; he told me that it had all been sold to a French company and that as far as he knew it was gone forever. I was wondering if you or your friends had the complete original first story of Eagle-Eye, with Grimly at the Doomsday Holiday Camp. It would be great to get colour reproductions of that first story so I can show it to my kids (and see it again for myself!). I was amazed and delighted to see the great colour copy of the episode with Kinky Boots that you already have on the site – I remembered it so clearly and I haven’t seen it since 1964.

I only found out that Leo had written and drawn all my favourite comic stories within the last ten years – I never saw his name in the Beano. I think it was only in Wham! that his signature appeared, in the coloured centre spread of Eagle-Eye, but my school friends and I all loved the Bash Street Kids, Little Plum, Minnie the Minx and the Three Bears, not realising he had invented them all. But it was really Grimly Feendish and his fabulous creatures that captivated us. I can vividly recall the excitement of buying Wham! and diving into the centre to read the next instalment of Eagle-Eye. We all drew and coloured copies of the creatures – a real craze. One week the comic relegated Eagle-Eye to a black and white page – just as the adventure was reaching its climax - and we were all so shocked and disappointed! Well, that’s how Mr. Baxendale’s great talent affected us back in ’64, and I hope he knows that there are so many who really appreciate him.
King regards, Ben Knibbs....Thanks Ben here is an Eagle eye I've found from Wham! number 38....Peter

This is the back page of SMASH No 5 - "Grimly Feendish - the rottenest Crook in the world" ( brilliant title I think) anyway a bit different as this copy of SMASH is actually from ODHAMS original vaults and shows how much Leo got paid (kiv its 1966 and £30 is a lot of money (he also did half the work in the book - the Bungle cover he got £24) I took that sticker off) got lots of these in a sale in Glasgow - Paul

Here’s a good Swots and Blots from SMASH (IPC NOT Odhams) - its from 14 Nov 1970 (the one with the tacks!)

From Smash November 1970 Sam’s Spook

Sweeny Toddler number 1 - from Shiver and Shake (first issue) dated 10/3/1973 As far as i am aware Leo Baxendale only drew the first few issue (possibly only this one_) before he left the strip - to be replaced by the manic Tom Paterson.
UPDATE Leo drew all the Shiver and Shake Sweenys and a few in Whoopee before Tom drew it.

A little seen strip ( and the most "un-Baxendale" of all strips in my opinion) "Footsie the Clown" still the strip lasted almost the entire Odhams run of "WHAM" I appeared on th eback page in full colour for a few issues before being replaced by Gordon Hoggs "Glugg the Caveboy) This strip is from "Wham" issue number 7 dated 1 August 1964.

"The Tiddlers of Canal Road School" from "WHAM" number 5 dated 18/7/1964. -Paul.

the first "Swots and Blots" strip Baxendale did for the IPC "SMASH - dated 7/2/1970

Swots / Blots strip - (one of my favs but not the best) total riot this one in the mode of those double page Bash Street Kids strips he did for the BEANO - This from SMASH 26 September 1970

Born in Whittle - le - Wood Lancashire on 27 October 1930,Baxendale had a grammer school education - as an artist he was self taught, his first job beign to design paint labels for the Leyland Paint and Varnish Company. Between 1949 and 1950 he served with catering corps of the RAF after which he worked as a staff artist for the Lancashire Evening Post , drawing hundreds of sports cartoons, editorial illustrations , adverts and illustrating his own series of self written articles.

Inspired by Scot, Davey Law 's "Dennis the Menace" he submitted work to Scottish publisher DC Thomson's the "Beano" , a comic he had read as a child and was immediately accepted. His first work featured OSCAR KRANK , a mad scientist, followed by Charlie Choo the Chinese Detective (which eventually surfaced in the Beano annual 1955) and a series of small strips featuring "Jamie the Gamie" which turned up in a Dundee based Newspaper some years later.

Leos early work seemingly fell into a dark chasm at Thomson's and it wasn';t until Baxendale submitted his own idea for a strip, featuring a red indian character that he hit the jackpot. The idea was accepted by return , and "Little Plum your Redskin Chum" began to appear in the BEANO on 10th October 1953, followed shortly after by by "MInnie the Minx" intended as a female counterpart to his heros character "Dennis the Menace" .

Leos third strip was "When the Bell Rings" later becoming a full page strip under the title "The Bash Street Kids" .

Baxendale himeself stated about his work that "Any limitations on my children's comics have been self imposed. The Beano's readership was in the age range 6-13 (plus a sizeable subtereanean adult following) and by the age of 6 a child has a sufficiently large body of knowledge in the mind to cope with strong, complex comedy. That was the market I was working for . Nevertheless I drew what made me laugh out loud (ruthlessly disrcarding anything that didn't ) on the assumption that it would likewise make the reader laugh. I treat children as adults, and speak to them (through my work) straightforwardly as such (form; Ark 33 , 1990).

THE ABOVE IS TAKEN MOSTLY FROM "THE POWER PACK" by Steve Holland and Ark no 33 as well as other smaller articles here and there.

From 1964 he worked with Odhams (Wham, Pow, Smash etc) from around 1971 Odhams were taken over by IPC which he worked with for a while (till 1975ish I think) then he moved to Europe and smaller UK publishes and finally onto the "Guardian newspaper" to work on "Baby Basil" till arthritis got the better of him - of course he still works for his own imprint "Reaper books" I have a small book he did for Reaper called "DOWN THE PLUGHOLE"

Info on the pages displayed on the website........
"The Man from Bungle" it appeared on the front page of SMASH as a single panel for about 14 issues then as a 1 or 2 page comic strip inside the book - Baxendale drew this from issue 4 till 44 then Mike Brown took over.

" Big Chief Pow Wow" from "Buster and Giggle" 15 February 1969

This was a cartoon that the great Steve Bell did for the "Sunday Times" at the time of Baxendales court case with DC Thomsons - I think its hysterical (sad fanboy that I am Paul) any way its dated February 1984 - this copy taken from the "COMICS FORUM - NO 14 1997 - credits both the Forum and e Times - and Steve Bell.

Page 1 of an "Eagle Eye Junior Spy " set from "Wham!" no 5 18 July 1964

Leos "BIFF" from "WHAM" No 11 - dated 29 August 1964 (this was re later re published as "SAM" in "THUNDER"

"Mervyn's Monsters " from "Buster and Giggle" dated 13th July 1968.

As with the " Eagle Eye" strip you can see a few similarities in his work - Eagle Eye is a lot like The Man From Bungle , and Oscar Mush (the baddie in the black in Mervyn) looks a bit lie Grimly Fiendish (but not as evil lol)

WILLY THE KID ANNUAL No 2" 1977 published by Duckworths.-Paul

I love Leo Baxendale's work for the way he draws people especially crowded scenes...The Banana Bunch, Bash Street kids, Little Plum are my favourites. I love the Giles/Warner Brothers style children antics...lots of destruction. His snowmen, policemen, every expressive little and different faces its amazing. Leo Baxendale inspired me and many artists with his style and humour. Thank you Leo for your outstanding contribution to the cartoon comic world. Peter Gray

Paul McScotty has helped me with these scans...thanks for his encouragement and help. Peter..

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