Friday, 30 September 2011

CONFESSIONS OF A CRIMINAL CO-CONSPIRATOR - IN LITTERBUGGING...


A copy of the finished artwork

I readily confess - it was me. Yes, I'm the one you're looking
for. How can I deny it? After all, I put my name to it.

I sit here, consumed by guilt in my participation in the worst
ever spate of litterbugging that Scotland has ever seen. "How can
this be?" I hear you ask, and, not wanting to disappoint your eager
expectations, I am only too ready and willing to tell you.

In a previous post, I alluded to a company for which I occasion-
ally did a bit of advertising work. Amongst their diverse interests
were various food outlets, including that great Scottish stalwart
and home of the deep-fried MARS BAR - the humble chippie.

A copy of the original 'rough

No, nothing to do with building sites; I of course refer to the
traditional fish and chip shop, that bastion of British (well, at least
Scottish) civilization as we know it. (And I'm well-aware that there
are some amongst you who will gleefully claim that the words 'Scot-
tish' and 'civilization' do not belong together in the same sentence.
Youse are claimed!) 

Here's how it happened. This particular fish and chip shop
needed a cartoon illustration for their bags - I provided it. (The
'rough' and the finished article can be seen on this very page.) How-
ever, the company which owned the shop also had other food outlets
in various parts of Scotland. Whenever any of them were short of
bags, they were supplied from any excess stock of bags which
I had designed. (This, of course, would sometimes happen
in reverse.)

Add to that the fact that one of these shops was right next
to a bus terminal to which hordes of hungry travellers called in
for fish suppers and the like on their way home, and you can well
understand the reasons as to how this humble little paper bag
managed to get around.  

The finished, printed result

This resulted in the situation that, no matter where I hap-
pened to be, at some stage I was likely to see a bag with my name
on it drifting down a high street or across a field, or stuck in a hedge
somewhere - not only in the remotest areas of my own home town, but
also in Hamilton, Rutherglen, Glasgow - and even as far afield as Edin-
burgh for goodness' sake! That bloody bag got everywhere - I'm sure
it was haunting me. I never dropped a bag myself, but I somehow
felt responsible.

Anyway, I feel better now. Whoever it was who said that
confession is good for the soul was right, bless 'em. Hopefully, I'll
now be able to sleep at nights, and face myself in the mirror with
an untroubled conscience. Only time will tell.

Right now, however, I'm off down the chippie for a fish
supper and a deep-fried Mars Bar. Braw!

TWO WHATS ARE BETTER THAN ONE?

 

What was a fella to do? I had forgotten her birthday and the
shops were closed. What could a woman want by way of a belated
card for her neglected birthday celebrations? And then it came to
me: "A picture of myself of course!".
 
So I set to work. I quarter-folded a blank piece of A4 paper and
then did a quick pen and acrylic ink coloured drawing of myself (as
I then looked, with beard and short hair), added a humorous message
and popped it in the post. (That's a black and white photocopy of the
original colour illustration above.)

They say it's the thought that counts; well, I thought about
enclosing a tenner with it - but then I thought better of it. Two
thoughts are better than one, right?
 
Apparently not.

Women! Never happy, are they?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

WEE AL IS GONNA MAKE-A YOU AN OFFER YOU NO CANNA UNNERSTAND...

 
Front cover

Back when I had a full-time career working in comics, I occasionally
found time to involve myself in outside projects. One such job was for a
company run by two local entrepreneurs (brothers), who at that time had
a vast 'empire' of diverse business operations in various towns and cities
across Scotland; shops, restaurants, cafes, ice rinks, food outlets, etc.

In an attempt to promote one of their restaurants, they asked me if I'd
come up with something to highlight the family appeal of their establish-
ment. They wanted to emphasize that the restaurant was not just for adults
to come to on a night out, but also a place to bring the kids during the
day and on special, fun occasions.
 
Centrespread

Borrowing a leaf from McDONALDS (although this place wasn't a
burger bar by any means - it was a proper, fancy, Italian restaurant), I
created a mascot and came up with a little activity 'booklet' to occupy the
kids once they were in the door and to make them want to come back
again. (The idea was that I'd update it every so often.)

Here's the first and only one ever produced. (Which was a shame,
as the money was good.) It was done in a hurry, hence my inclusion of
a couple of cartoons I'd produced for some camping posters back in the
late '70s, early '80s, in order to save time. The kids loved it, apparently,
but unfortunately the management failed to persuade enough people
that it wasn't the high-class, expensive restaurant it really was.

Back cover

The moral of the story? If you want to capture the McDonalds kiddie-
contingent, then you have to provide more than bits of paper for them to
colour in; you need to compete at the same price level as well.

The same thing also applies to comics. One of the reasons for falling
circulation nowadays is that they're just far too expensive in relation to
everything else. Publishers take note.

"I YAM WHAT I YAM!"



When I was at secondary school, my main claim to fame was
drawing POPEYE.  My classmates were always pleading with me
in earnest tones, "Draw Popeye, Robson, draw Popeye!"  They were
entranced by the sailor's image coming to life on the page (in the back
of a school jotter usually) with only a few deft scribbles.  The celebrity
status accorded me, the adulation bestowed upon my exalted self, the
adoring awe in which I was held - it was almost intoxicating as I
strode heroically through the school corridors.

"Look!", cried lesser pupils as I passed, prostrating themselves in
obeisance, "Tis the Mighty Robson, he who is to be regarded as unto
a god by we lowly mortals!  All hail the Mighty Robson!"  Even teachers
aligned themselves with the 'Cult of The Robson' as it came to be known;
I often used to hear them refer to me (in hushed voices and from a
respectful distance naturally) as "a bit of a cult!"

Well, okay...I might, perhaps, have indulged in the slightest bit
of hyperbole halfway through that little reminiscence, but only a tad.
The reality was pretty close to how I remember it.  (Harruummph.)

Anyway, I've continued to draw Popeye from time to time over
the years, and above is a picture I whipped up for someone-or-other
back in the '90s.  DUNN KWIK is one of the many pseudonyms I use
on occasion, the afore-mentioned being reserved for stuff produced
    in a bit of a hurry.  Still - not too shabby, is it?   

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

ONE TITANIC TIN-POT TYRANT AND ONE MIGHTY MAN OF MARVELOUS METAL...



While I rack my brains in pursuit of anything remotely interesting to
write about, here's an old standby. My own version of the cover of THE
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #150, which I may even get around to inking
one day. (Or, then again, maybe not.)

Not traced, not projected, not graphed; merely drawn using the printed
comic as a model - just like real artists do, drawing from observation and
study of something in front of them. The original was too big to scan, so
the above pic is actually a photo of the original art.

Incidentally, the original cover was drawn by JOHN ROMITA JR. &
BOB LAYTON.

A PRACTICALLY PERFECT PURPLE PICTURE FOR YOUR PERUSAL...


 
Look at the above photo. Hard as it may be to believe, this is what
resulted from doing a bit of computer repair work on the magazine pin-up
below. One of my friends is a massive DEEP PURPLE fan and this picture
used to adorn his bedroom wall back when he was a teenager. (Whatever
takes your fancy I suppose - I had pictures of Page 3 girls on mine.)

Rediscovering this reminder of his youth, he was disappointed to see
that it had succumbed to the ravages of time and asked me if I could do
anything with it - so I did. The framed result now hangs on his living-
room wall for all his visitors to see. (Honest, it's the same picture.)
 

Isn't technology wonderful?

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

KARLOFF THE UNCANNY...


Boris Karloff in real life

WILLIAM HENRY PRATT - or BORIS KARLOFF as we
know him better - appears to be a vastly under-rated actor nowadays,
despite all the fame and acclaim once rightly bestowed on him for his
penetrating portrayals of THE FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER and
IMHOTEP (or ARDETH BEY), to name just a couple of his
more celebrated roles.

Art by Kid Robson

Quiet, soft-spoken, and with a hint of a lisp, he was the quintessential
English gentleman, who never lost his love for the game of cricket, even in
far-off Hollywood, thousands of miles away from his native land.  There has
probably never been another actor whose personality was so diametrically
opposed to his on-screen personna as that of dear old Bill.  A big, super-
stitious softie in real life;  often a snarling, vicious, psychopathic killer in
the movies.  Apparently, just like GEORGE CLOONEY, he also had a
pet pig at one time, which he used to rush home to see after filming.
(Wonder if he liked bacon?)  

Test makeup not used in the film

Born on November 23rd, 1887 (the same month that the Baron's
creature first opened his yellow, watery eyes), he died on February
2nd, 1969 at his home in Bramshott, Hampshire.  Star of stage, screen,
TV, and spoken-word recordings, he had a long and varied career after
first finding fame in the 1931 classic, Frankenstein.  However, forget the
Monster and the Mummy...Karloff gave entrancing performances in many
films over the years, whether horror-themed or not.  Next time you see
a Karloff movie in the TV listings, give it a look-see - it'll be well
worth your while.


Here's to KARLOFF...THE UNCANNY!

Monday, 26 September 2011

WHAT'S IN A NAME? ARE YOU KIDDING? A LIKELY STORY...




"Why are you called 'Kid'? Is it because you act like one?"

If I had a pound for every time I've been asked that, I'd have -
well, I'd have a pound actually, so I don't suppose there's really much
interest in the topic. However, I have to fill this blog with something,
so - assuming you'll bear with me in yet another act of shameless self-
indulgence - I shall address the issue in the forlorn hope that any-
body even remotely cares.

There was a period during my teenage years when I
called everyone 'kid'. It was short, snappy, and it meant never having
to worry about remembering people's names. One day, I ran into a pal of
mine in the company of a group of his friends. Anticipating my familiar,
well-worn greeting, he thought he'd get in first in a daring act of mockery
at my little peccadillo. (Feel free to supply your own amusing rejoinder
to that last sentence.) "Hi Kid!", he said with a cheeky grin upon his
smug countenance, immensely satisfied with himself for - in his
mind - 'beating me to the punch'.

His mates were unaware of
his intended 'irony' however,
and merely assumed it to be
my nickname. But ours is a
drama  decreed by the fates
to be acted out... (always
loved that line by LARRY
LIEBER); I subsequently
became friendly with that
little group, who - in their
innocence - always referred
to me by that appellation.
And so the name stuck and
I've been known as 'Kid'
ever since.

But whence came the habit
which led to me effectively christening myself? Why did I call people 'kid'
to begin with? I'm glad I pretended you asked. Back in the early '70s, there
was a brilliant comedy series called WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE
LIKELY LADS, starring JAMES BOLAM and RODNEY BEWES. In fact,
as they had alternating billing from week to week, if you re-read that last
sentence, reverse the order of their names so that I don't hear from
their agents or solicitors.

Although the programme was a comedy, it also had pathos, poignancy
and profundity - otherwise known as the three Ps. During the course of
their frequent nostalgia-laden soliloquies, the characters often addressed
each other as 'kid' or 'kidda'. In my devotion to the programme and my desire
to emulate my heroes, I adopted the practice of referring to everyone I knew
(and some I didn't) as 'kidda', which resulted in some puzzled looks. You see,
the words 'kidda' and 'kidder' sound pretty similar when pronounced with a
lazy Glaswegian accent, and this made folks think I was accusing them of
pulling my leg in some way.

"Kidder?", they would say
(likewise pronouncing it as
'kidda') - "Kidding about what?"
Well, it didn't take me long to
realize that adopting the shorter
alternative option -'kid' - would
avoid any uneccessary confusion
amongst my sturdy band of com-
panions and free me from having
to endlessly explain myself.

It could have been worse. I
had once been in the habit of
exclaiming "Jings, man!" in
response to anything of even
a vaguely interesting or sur-
prising nature. This inevitably
led to friends and acquaintances calling me 'Jings-Man' every time I
appeared on the horizon. Luckily, I soon dropped the use of this 'oath'
(doubtless acquired from reading too many BROONS and OOR WULLIE
strips in THE SUNDAY POST) and thus escaped any long-term association
with the term which could have resulted in lasting damage to my delicate
sensibilities. I much prefer being called 'Kid' - or 'Sir', even. (In fact, now
that I come to think about it, 'Master' is good as well.)

And there you have it! The hitherto secret origin of how I gained my
teenage nickname which has remained with me to this day. And you also
have an object lesson in the art of writing something about nothing - but
you should only ever do so if your very life depends on it, so I have
absolutely no excuse.

A HINT OF A GLINT THROUGH THE WINDOW...


 
I love this time of year. Autumn has its own scents and hues, and, as
it starts to give way to Winter, assumes a magical, hybrid quality of the
two seasons peculiar unto itself. When any last faint remnants of lingering
Summer have finally disappeared and been replaced with the preliminary
signs of Jack Frost's rapidly oncoming kingdom, I can't help but think back
to what an enchanted time it seemed to be when I was a kid.
 

Getting up on dark mornings, streetlights a-twinkle; the first spidery
glints of frost on the windows and pavements outside; warm milk on my
cornflakes to fortify me for my trek to school; sitting in front of the electric
fire, hypnotized by the shadows of dancing, flickering simulated flames;
the fresh, biting chill of the air - all those memories - or any combination
of them - embody that particular period of my personal history. Even
today, the alluring nature of the season is as much to do with the
warm glow of memory as enjoying it for its own sake.

 
The walk to school, the chatter of friends, the sheer exuberance of
childhood - how it all comes rushing back to me in torrents. A large part of
those memories is shaped by whatever comics I happened to be buying at the
time: TV CENTURY 21, WHAM!, SMASH!, FANTASTIC, WHIZZER
& CHIPS, MIGHTY WORLD OF MARVEL, SPIDER-MAN COMICS
WEEKLY and many more - all those publications seem to blend into one big
memory (regardless of whether they were actually available or I was buying
them concurrently or not), and span a goodly number of years from primary
to secondary school. (I often smuggled a newly purchased comic into the
classroom in my schoolbag and then had to suffer an agony of waiting
'til I could peruse it during the interval.)

 
And just think what we had to look forward to at that time of the year;
Hallowe'en, Guy Fawkes' Night, Christmas - and I had the added
bonus of having my birthday fall at around the same time. No wonder I
tend to look back on those events with such fondness - I was just the
right age to appreciate them in all their spectacular, multi-coloured,
atmospheric glory. I'm sure it's the same for most people.   


So, in an unseemly fit of sentimentality and nostalgia, I've dug
through my files and unearthed some comic covers which would've
been on sale towards the end of the year back in the 1960s & 1970s,
in an attempt to crystalize not only my happy recollections of days
gone by, but - if you're around the same age as myself - perhaps
also your own. Hope you enjoy them.


See? You can go home again - even if it's only for a short visit.   

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE...



Above is the cover from the second THOR KING-SIZE SPECIAL
from 1966, below is a reprint from 1994 - which still carries the original
indicia, but with the words 'second printing' appended to it. Sharp-eyed
readers will notice that ol' Goldilocks' right arm is different on the two
versions, the first having been amended before printing, the second
featuring the cover as KING KIRBY originally drew it.


The reason for this is obvious: Marvel's file copies of artwork were
usually photostatted before any alterations were made, hence many
reprints down through the years sported pages as they had originally
been drawn, not published. Thankfully, in recent years, Marvel has
addressed this issue and striven to ensure that reprints are as close
to archival quality as possible.

Thought you might enjoy seeing Kirby's original version.

 
But hold! There's even more to the story! Take a good look at
this third version of the cover, below.
 
 
While thumbing through my hardbacked volume of THOR MASTER-
WORKS Vol 5 recently, I espied this amazing oversight. Either the patch
covering Thor's original arm has fallen off (which would mean that Marvel
had access to the original art), or an art restorer re-created the new arm
on a file photostat, but then forgot to delete the original Kirby limb it was
intended to replace. Who knows the truth behind this Marvel mystery?
Answers in the comments section if it happens to be you.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

NOW THAT'S WHAT I CALL FUNNY...



Well, it made ME laugh.

(From The Beano & The Dandy Celebrate Dennis The Menace - available now from all good bookshops.)

Friday, 23 September 2011

"AND THERE WERE GIANTS UPON THE EARTH IN THOSE DAYS..."



It was intended to be a single-series, revolving-door showcase for a
roster of MARVEL's mightiest heroes, but no sooner had the 1st ish hit
the stands than plans underwent revision. GIANT-SIZE SUPER-STARS
#1 starred THE FANTASTIC FOUR, with the second issue scheduled
to feature none other than your friendly neighbourhood SPIDER-MAN.
(PETER PARKER's amazing alter-ego would doubtless be first choice
to launch any new alternating series nowadays, but, back then, the Fab
Four were still accorded premier position in the Mighty Marvel
firmament of Super-Stars.)


However, it soon became apparent to the 'powers-that-be' that, rather
than restrict the idea to one title, it would be potentially more profitable
to give each chosen group or hero their own giant-size mag. And so, Spidey
was awarded his own 68 page comicbook series and what would've been the
2nd issue of Super-Stars evolved into GIANT-SIZE FANTASTIC FOUR
#2, followed by another four successive issues over the course of
the next fourteen months or so.


There were a number of different titles in the various Giant-Size quarterly
series on sale back in '74-'75. GIANT-SIZE SPIDER-MAN, GIANT-SIZE
AVENGERS, GIANT-SIZE CONAN, GIANT-SIZE CAPTAIN MARVEL,
GIANT-SIZE DOCTOR STRANGE, GIANT-SIZE DRACULA, GIANT-
SIZE DEFENDERS and a host of others got the same treatment, proving
that when Marvel has an idea, they exploit it to the full. However, it's the
good ol' FF that we're concerned with today.


I didn't even know of the existence of these mags at the time they
first came out - it wasn't until 1979 or '80 that I obtained the 1st issue
when I ordered it unseen from a back issue dealer in Bournemouth. And it
was a battered copy containing only the main story, the back-up features
having been 'surgically' removed from the comic. It must have been some-
time around the mid-'90s perhaps, before I was able to obtain the full six
issue set and finally see the complete contents of issue #1. (Only to find
that the missing pages were pin-ups reprinted from FF ANNUAL
#1, which had been in my collection for some time.)


The main stories in the first four issues were all brand-new material,
with reprints from the early days of the FF as back-up content. (Annual
#1, and regular issues #13, 21 & 28.) The last two in the series reprinted
FF Annuals #5 & 6 as their main features, with #5 also including another
tale from the quartet's early days. (Issue #15, and not the MOLECULE
MAN story from #20 as erroneously stated on the cover-blurb.)


So, let's return to an earlier, more innocent time; the seemingly sun-
soaked, care-free days of the sizzling '70s, and enjoy all six scintillating
covers in their full, unadulterated, cataclysmic glory.

THE PERRY RHODAN FILES - PART TWO...



Here's the second part of THE PERRY RHODAN FILES, featuring
more covers from his 1967 comic and some photographic stills from the
movie based on the characters and concepts. Try as I might, I can't really
generate any enthusiasm for the comic - it just seems well below par. And
the movie doesn't look up to much either, to be honest. If anyone wants
to weigh in with their opinions on why ol' Perry was the greatest thing
since sliced bread, then feel absolutely free.







Assuming that anyone is interested, be sure to tune in again for
Part Three whenever I can't think of anything else to write about.
The blonde sure looks okay 'though, doesn't she?

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

CALLING ALL DENNIS FANS...



As the proud possessor of every DENNIS THE MENACE book
ever printed, I greeted the news that there's to be no regular Dennis book
this year with mixed emotions. On the one hand I'm disappointed that his
annual escapades have ended; on the other I'm somewhat relieved to be
able to write 'finis' to a collection which stretches back to the mid-'50s
and is now complete.

However, do not despair, fellow Dennis-lovers. D.C. THOMSON
have released this beautifully bound hardback volume showing Dennis
at his very best, with comic capers from his earliest appearances in THE
BEANO, right up to his modern-day madcap meanderings. (Also includes
other features and strips.) What's more, as well as a DVD containing two
of Dennis's TV cartoons, the book also includes a separate, good-quality
complete reproduction of his first Beano appearance back in 1951.


Dennis may be 60 years old, but he's still the world's wildest boy
at heart. Don't miss this superb collectors' item - available now from all
good bookshops. Priced at £12.99, it can be ordered direct from DCT
for £9.99. Also, some shops are bound to include it in a 'buy one, get
one half-price' deal in conjunction with other books, so be sure
to shop around. 

ISBN # 9781-1-84535-462-2  

Monday, 19 September 2011

'DUNCANRIG DOUGIE' - A TRIBUTE...



So far on this blog I've related a couple of anecdotes about two
of my old art teachers, MR. BOB BELL and MR. SLOSS, with a
passing reference to MR. McLEAN along the way.

Now it's time to draw back the curtain and introduce yet another
teacher from the dim and distant days of my youth;  so give a big hand
for MR. DOUGIE SMITH, one of the more popular teachers at DUN-
CANRIG SENIOR SECONDARY.  Not that any pupil ever dared call
him Dougie to his face as far as I know, but that was how they
affectionately referred to him throughout the school.

Mr Smith's classroom under fire-escape stairway

You know that sense of amazement one feels when, years after having
left school, you see a teacher who doesn't seem to have aged in the slightest
since you were a kid?  When you're a youngster, anyone over 21 seems older
than they actually are, which probably accounts for my inability to supply an
accurate assessment of what age Mr. Smith would've been back in the early
'70s.  He could have been anything from 35-45, but it'd be pointless trying to
narrow it down any further because I simply don't have a clue.  Not that it's
important I suppose, but I like to give my readers (both of them) a fully
rounded picture of the subject under discussion.

Mr Smith's old Maths class in 2007.  At some point the room had
been extended out into the hallway...

Anyway, Mr. Smith was blond-haired and what I assume would
be regarded by the fairer sex as a fairly handsome Maths teacher who,
like many another teacher at that time, still wore the classic bat-like gown
as immortalised by MR. CREEP in the WINKER WATSON strip in THE
DANDY.  I seem to recall him also wearing the mortarboard hat on occasion,
but quite possibly I'm imagining it.  (Although as he had the gown he would
most likely have had the hat too, one would presume.)  The fact that teachers
still wore such traditional educational apparel most likely accounts for why I
never found strips like BILLY BUNTER or the aforementioned Winker
to appear outdated - it was yet an everyday sight that didn't appear
unusual in the slightest.

...and how it would have looked in my day

As the saying goes, Mr. Smith was a 'good egg'.  I remember him telling
me one day, "Gordon, some of the other teachers say that they regard
you as a difficult pupil, but I find that as long as I don't try and make
you do anything you don't want to, then you're no trouble at all."

Which is not to suggest that I was a troublemaker of any sort, but
was a daydreamer.  If I wasn't doodling on the covers or margins of
my school jotters then I was staring out a window off into space, lost in my
own little world.  Mr. Smith was wise enough to realize that it was better to
leave me there, rather than try and compel me to apply myself to a subject
I had no interest in, or, indeed, aptitude for.  Unlike another teacher (whose
name escapes me, otherwise I would readily identify the guilty party), who
once gave me 'six of the best' for my inability to master the intricacies
of an Algebra equation.

View from one of the windows
But now to the point of this tale.
("At last!" cry those who haven't
yet abandoned the arduous trek.)
Mr. Smith, if I remember the
details correctly after almost 40
years, was in charge of producing
a Maths booklet for use in schools
throughout what was then known
as THE COUNTY COUNCIL OF
LANARKSHIRE.  He asked if I'd
provide some cartoon illustrations
for said project, and I didn't need to
be asked twice.  It took a few days
for him to determine precisely where
my artwork would be required, but
once armed with the necessary
information I got to work.

A week or two later and much to my surprise, he presented me with an
envelope containing a whopping £5 (which was a lot of money to a 14-15
year old at the start of the '70s) as payment for my contribution.  "It comes
out of the budget" he said, by way of explanation - 'though I wouldn't be
at all surprised if it came out of his own pocket.

The picture (from an initial 'rough') inspired by one below

I was especially proud of one picture in particular, and had it specifi-
cally in mind when I produced my KEVIN & HIS TALKING SOCKS
strip for possible inclusion in a comic called OINK!  A period of a dozen or
so years lay between the execution of these two drawings, which, as I relate
this, strikes me as requiring further, completely unnecessary, long-winded
exposition.  (Even if that last sentence is a total contradiction in terms.)

Back in 1985/'86, my schooldays seemed like an inordinately long
time past.  It was practically half my life away after all, which probably
accounts for that particular period appearing almost prehistoric from my
mid- '80s perspective.  Nowadays, however, anything that happened 10
or 12 years back seems to have occurred no more than two or three years
ago at the very most.  It's scary to consider that the quarter of a century
gap between 1986 and today doesn't feel anywhere near as long as the
far shorter (almost by half) period between 1973 and 1986.  Yup, it
really is true;  time seems to go by faster the older one gets.

Not having a photo of Mr Smith, one of comic
artist supreme George Tuska will have to
suffice.  To my mind, they were extremely
similar in appearance

Anyway, returning to the point of this personal reminiscence before
even I lose track, a belated thank you is long overdue to Mr. Smith for
giving me what could be described as my very first paid 'professional'
assignment - and for simply being such a thoroughly decent bloke.  He's
probably been retired for some years now, but it would be nice to think
that he might in some way hear of this 'tribute' to him and be touched by
it.  Knowing you made a difference to someone's life can sometimes
make a difference to your own.

Here's to you, Dougie.  Hope you're hale and hearty.

******

And below, in all their unretouched glory, are the four illustrations
drawn with a black ink BIC biro in a blank jotter on a lazy afternoon
in Mr. Smith's Maths class all those years ago.  Nothing brilliant by any
means, but while I indulged myself, my classmates had to get on with
doing their sums.  I wonder if I'm the only pupil ever to get paid for
doing something else during school hours?





(Actually, now that I think about it, I remember finishing the
fourth one at home, so the Maths period must have been the
last one of the afternoon.)

******

FOOTNOTE:  Since first posting this, I've been beset by a nagging
suspicion that I may have misremembered the amount of renumeration
involved.  Perhaps it was only £2 and not £5 in that envelope.  However,
if so - two quid was still a lot of money for young teenager back then.
Especially as I mostly earned it during school hours when I should've
been doing something else.