Friday, 5 January 2018



Back in the late 1980s when I was freelancing for IPC, sometimes when I was in the main post office sending off work to London, the assistants would enquire of me (on sighting the name 'EAGLE' or 'WHIZZER & CHIPS' or '2000 A.D.' [or whatever] on the package of artwork I was posting) "Do you know the RUPERT BEAR artist?"  First time it happened I assumed they just thought that anyone involved in comics must know one another, but they explained that artist JOHN HARROLD posted his Rupert strips from the same post office.  Turned out that he lived in my home town, just a short walk down the road from me.

Eventually, while in Glasgow one day, I was introduced to Rupert's illustrator in AKA BOOKS & COMICS by comics fan and historian JOHN McSHANE, and we both later found ourselves sharing the same train carriage back home.  He invited me to drop in for a cuppa and chat some time, and repeated his invitation whenever we ran into one another, but I was always busy with work back then and never got around to taking him up on his kind offer.  Eventually, John moved down to England somewhere, and then to Paris, and I've no idea what he does now as he no longer draws Rupert, and hasn't for a long time.

However, one of his endpapers from an earlier Annual is reprinted (I assume - maybe it's new) in this year's Rupert book (along with a couple of strips), and I thought you might like to see it.  Maybe I should put in a bit of time and effort and digitally remove the spine-line down the middle, but why should I do all the work?  I'm sure if you all try hard enough, you can imagine it isn't there.  Very evocative, eh?  (Oh, go on then - I've included a line-free version below.)

Incidentally, this 2018 Annual's contents are all reprints from earlier books, going right back to 1939, including strips by ALFRED BESTALL, so it's a nice little collectors' item.  I've no idea if this is a 'one-off' event, or whether the books have been all reprints for a while now, but perhaps a knowledgeable 'Crivens!' reader can enlighten me?  Ta muchly.

Enjoy!  Did you read Rupert as a kid?  Let's be having your reminiscences in the comments section.

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