Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

have a relative, a cousin (at least that's how we referred to him),
somewhere over in South Africa who I don't think I've seen since 1972.
Apart from once, perhaps, but, if so, it's so long ago, I'm unsure whether
I'm half-remembering or completely imagining it.  ROGER is
his name, and he and his wife MARY sent a Christmas card every year
for decades, although I'm unsure whether there's been one in the last
couple of Christmases.  I therefore don't know if he's still alive or
not, as he was a good few years older than me.

Because we were both good at art, on the few occasions he
visited my family (before emigrating), we'd do a drawing together -
his part on one half of the paper, mine on the other.  Then we'd separate
it into two halves, and he'd keep the half I drew in his wallet, and I'd keep
the half he drew - somewhere safe meant to be, but I somehow managed
to lose it by the time of his next visit.  This happened twice, I believe, and
then, on September 17th 1972, we did our third attempt, half of which
you can see at the foot of this post.  What surprises me now, seeing
the date, is that I'd lived in this house for only three months, the
previous doodles having been done in my former abode.

The drawing we did was of a large panel on the front cover of
The BEANO #1492, dated February 20th 1971.  (And a big thanks
to IRMANTAS from KAZOOP!! blog for identifying the ish for me,
'cos I'd long forgotten.)  I was surprised to learn this, because I'd never
have thought I still had a Beano bought over a year before, but perhaps it
was because it was the first issue to have the decimal price on the cover.
If so, I probably also had the previous one as it was the last to have the
£-s-d price - 4d.)  My cousin signed his half PICASSO and I signed
my half REMBRANDT (modest as ever), and that could well
have been the last time I ever saw him.

Except, niggling away at the back of my memory, is a feeling
that he may have visited one more time.  I seem to remember that
either I couldn't find his half of the drawing on that occasion, or - for
once - he didn't have my half with him, so we never got to put the two
halves together again, as was meant to be our custom.  Perhaps I'm con-
fusing it with another drawing from an earlier occasion, but I've a notion
it's probably as I think I remember, because I seem to recall my sense
of elation when, weeks or months later, I actually discovered where
I'd stashed his half of our masterpiece.  Of course, I suppose it's
 always possible that I only dreamt the episode.

Which brings us to the present:  I was cleaning an old photo
frame recently, and took the photo out to clean the glass properly.
Tucked in the back was Roger's half of the drawing.  This made me
want to see the other half, so I asked good ol' Irmy, who dug through
his back issues and found the comic whose cover panel had been cop-
ied back in 1972.  I was surprised to see what would've been my half,
because I'd always imagined (not having seen the part I'd drawn since
first producing it - except for maybe once, remember) that my sub-
ject would've been BIFFO's pal BUSTER (not the IPC one),
and not a PLUG ventriloquist's dummy.

Anyway, I managed to track down and purchase the issue
on eBay, so here's the front and back covers to help you celebrate
my joyous reunion with a comic from my youth, which, to be honest,
if it hadn't been for Roger's drawing, I'd probably never have remem-
bered in a month of Sundays.  Now all I have to do is find out if my
former collaborator is still alive, and see if my part of the drawing
is still tucked away in his wallet.  If not, at least now I can re-
create it and send him a copy for old times' sake.

 Just in case he's the sentimental type.

UPDATE, 2016:  Yup, he's still with us -
got a Christmas card from him and his missus.


Christopher Sobieniak said...

Interesting story!

Kid said...

Thanks, Chris.

Colin Jones said...

My father had two brothers, one of whom emigrated to Australia circa 1960 and he had two children so I've got two Australian cousins that I've never met nor had any contact with in any way - we aren't a close family. Good luck in finding your cousin, Kid :)

Kid said...

I don't think I'll be making it a priority, CJ. It's just another of those things that I plan on getting around to - eventually. It's nice to have tracked down the comic again 'though.

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