Jane’s Journal, The Diary of a Bright Young Thing (1932-1959)

Jane’s Journal, the Diary of a Bright Young Thing, was launched in the Daily Mirror in 1932.   Drawn by Norman Pett, it was his response to a challenge to create a comic strip that would be as popular with adults as the famous Pip, Squeak & Wilfred (started in the Mirror in 1919) was with children.

Norman Pett.

William Norman Pett was born in 1891.   After being invalided out of the armed forces during the Great War, he took a correspondence course in drawing from Percy Bradshaw’s Press Art School, which also taught many other cartoonists.   Later, he taught art at the Mosley Road Junior Art School and at Birmingham Central School of Art.   In the 1920s Pett worked as a Punch cartoonist as well as producing cartoons for other publications.   Pett initially used his wife Mary as a life model for Jane.   When Mary developed other interests, Pett then used another artists’ model that he met at the Central School of Art, Christabel Leighton-Porter, as his new life model. Continue reading “Jane’s Journal, The Diary of a Bright Young Thing (1932-1959)”


Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau

Garretson Beekham Trudeau was born in New York City in 1948.  At school he specialised in painting, but later developed an interest in the graphic arts and spent much of his time at Yale University (1966-70) drawing cartoons for Yale’s humorous magazine, The Yale Record, and the student newspaper The Yale Daily NewsGarry_Trudeau_Net_Worth  He became a postgraduate student at the Yale School of Art, gaining a master’s degree in graphic design in 1973.   His cartoon strip Bull Tales, produced while he was still an undergraduate, developed into the Doonesbury strip in 1970.   Within 10 years of its first appearance, Doonesbury was syndicated in 900 American newspapers.   Trudeau was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartoons in 1975, the first to receive this accolade.   He sees himself as a typical baby boomer with a liberal East Coast outlook. Continue reading “Doonesbury by Garry Trudeau”

Remembering Pip, Squeak & Wilfred and the Wilfredian League of Gugnuncs

My first encounter with an adorable trio of anthropomorphic animals called Pip, Squeak and Wilfred was when I stepped through the threshold of the Cartoon Museum while doing a six-months intership with the HLF Comic Creators Project back in 2015. I happened to be present when the museum purchased a set of four original drawings, and I could not get over how charming they were. There was something magical about the way the characters were drawn that immediately appealed to my inner child. As I started to read full stories, I realized that I was captivated by the antics of these three characters and the narration of Uncle Dick. I’ll get back to him in a second! Continue reading “Remembering Pip, Squeak & Wilfred and the Wilfredian League of Gugnuncs”

The Cloggies by Bill Tidy

William Edward Tidy was born in Tranmere, near Birkenhead on Merseyside, on 9 October 1933.   His father, also called Bill, was a charming but feckless man, a merchant navy quartermaster who was away from home for long periods and was not involved in bringing up his son.   His mother Catherine worked as a barmaid to support herself and her son, and often got retired women who lived locally to look after him while she worked.   One of these women, Nellie, may have helped to point Tidy towards his ultimate career: she was an avid fan of the Beano and Dandy.   At one stage he moved to live with his Uncle Bert and Aunt Polly in Liverpool.   Bert was a great storyteller, adding another string to Tidy’s artistic bow.   He returned to live with Catherine, by then a pub manager, and attended Anfield Junior School where Miss Edwards encouraged him to develop his innate drawing talent.   American comics and war films were another influence on him.   He never had any formal art training.

Continue reading “The Cloggies by Bill Tidy”


Comic page hero of the Daily Mirror and the creation of Stephen Philip Dowling, Garth was one of the longest running comic strips in the UK. Garth was a reincarnated Greek god who, with the help of a scientist, Professor Lumiere, travelled from present to past to future, in order to champion human freedom against the tyranny of science.

Dowling Garth - sm
Original art by Steve Dowling & John Alard for the story Islands of Kaa (1947), scripted by Harry Harrison.

Alternatively, he has been called a less flashy, more compassionate Superman. The strip is in the science fiction-adventure genre. Garth travelled through time and space, met numerous famous people from history and even had a romantic dalliance with Astra, the goddess of love.

Continue reading “Garth”

Jeff Hawke: A Revolutionary Science Fiction Comic Strip

The Scottish cartoonist responsible for presenting adults with a revolutionary science fiction comic strip in the form of Jeff Hawke is Sydney Jordan. It was through this art form that he was able to inject fantasy into the mundane lives that most adults lead. Born and bred in Dundee, Scotland, Sydney Jordan grew up in a city where the publishing house D.C. Thomson released a plethora of comic books every week. Jordan’s fondest memories of his childhood are the times he spent reading those comic books and the joyful and spirited conversations he had with his father about them. Jordan familiarized himself more with comic book illustrations by working in a studio that was run by former employees at the Thomson publishing house. He claimed this experience allowed him to learn from experts in the field. A couple of years later, Jordan acquired an interest in space and planes, around the time of the Second World War, after joining the Miles Aeronautical Technical School for aviation designers. After struggling to find a job in aviation, Jordan took his passion and used it to work in the comic strip industry. He started out as the artist, Len Fullerton’s helping hand. Continue reading “Jeff Hawke: A Revolutionary Science Fiction Comic Strip”

Pop: The First British Daily Strip for Adults!

It was the 21st of May, 1921, when the pages of the Daily Sketch were brightened by the first daily strip aimed at a mature audience. Originally the title was meant to be Reggie Breaks it Gently, which was a characterization of a man who was soon to be married, but that changed rather quickly when it became evident that the real star of the strip was Pop, the head of the family.  The strip itself ended up having his name. Continue reading “Pop: The First British Daily Strip for Adults!”

The Daily Funnies: An Exhibition of Strip Cartoon

Daily Funnies or the Art of the Strip Cartoon is the title of the current exhibition at the Cartoon Museum. Cartoon strips occupy a special place in the world of cartoon and comic art. Appearing as they do every day or every week in newspapers and magazines, they reach a public who might not consider themselves cartoon fans. Readers become so attached to their favourite strip that when it ends they feel as though they have lost and old friend. Some strips outlive their creators: Fred Basset, Dick Tracy and Oor Wullie are just a few examples. Others, such as Peanuts, are so closely bound to their original artists that no one else can replace them. There is a rhythm or pulse to the art of the comic strip, like a limerick or a haiku or a joke well told. To be able to tell a small story or raise a smile in the space of a few panels is a skill few people master. Continue reading “The Daily Funnies: An Exhibition of Strip Cartoon”

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