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Friday, 14 December 2018
A TRIBUTE TO TERRY BAVE - "GHOSTING ALONG WITH SAM'S SPOOK..."
B&W copy of colour cover (sans logo) of the ICJ, in which
the Baves' article was originally intended to appear
In tribute to the late, great TERRY BAVE, I thought I'd repost this 2004 article he kindly wrote at my request, wherein he describes his career in comics, in particular 'ghosting' for other artists. It was originally intended for The ILLUSTRATED COMIC JOURNAL, which, alas, languished in limbo, so I passed it on to CRIKEY!, who were going to publish it, but ceased to exist before it saw print. Never mind, at least it appeared somewhere, even if it was only on this humble blog. Incidentally, all comic strip images below were supplied by Terry himself.
SHIELA and I have been creating, writing and drawing many, many children's comic strips since way back in 1967.
Our break came via ALBERT 'COS' COSSER, the editor of WHAM!. He bravely handed me SAMMY SHRINK, "The Smallest boy in the World" - my 'first' of many 'ghosted' features, and one we were able to make our own. In fact, over the following years, we supplied many of the weekly scripts and drew the strip for over 20 years. SAMMY SHRINK appeared in WHAM!, SMASH!, POW!, KNOCKOUT and WHIZZER & CHIPS.
Terry's version of Danny Dare, from Wham! Annual 1971
Now and again a comic artist would be called upon to 'ghost' (copy) another artist's strip on a weekly basis for a while when, for example, the regular artist was either sick or perhaps found himself in the rather enviable position of having far too heavy a workload.
As each artist has his own individual style of drawing, it was important to 'ghost' that particular style as closely as possible. With luck, and if the Editor showed willing, over a period of time it would be possible to 'make the strip your very own' by gradually introducing your own distinctive style of drawing. This didn't happen too often, and certainly not in the short term.
I was very lucky - I found it a reasonably easy task to copy LEO BAXENDALE's basic drawing style, which appeared in WHAM!, SMASH!, and POW! at that time.
Shiela & Terry Bave
Being particularly keen to make my way in this FUN business, I jumped at the chance when 'COS' offered me the chance to create a brand-new comic character of my own.
He wanted a wicked 'baby' fun character as a mascot for WHAM!, so Shiela and I came up with BABY WHAMSTER, who was quickly followed up by BABY SMASHER, the new mascot for SMASH!. We supplied scripts and artwork for both babies, who were very successful in their respective comics, and later appeared in both WHAM! and SMASH!. Each baby made a perfect foil for one another.
Sam's Spook, from Smash! Fun Book 1971
To date, Shiela and I have created, written and drawn many original comic strips. At the same time, we have been called upon to write and 'ghost' many others. In 1968, we scripted and drew GRIMLY FEENDISH and PERCY'S PETS for SMASH!. At the time, these strips were being drawn (also 'ghosted') weekly by STAN McMURTY, one of our favourite and most respected cartoonists.
In November of 1969, we got another wonderful break. GIL PAGE, then Editor of the 'new' SMASH!, invited us to contribute to the 1971 SMASH! FUN BOOK, a 96 pager full of favourite fun characters.
We scripted and drew a SAMMY SHRINK 2-pager, scripted and 'ghosted' two 4-page strips of The SWOTS & The BLOTS, and again for a 2-pager of SAM'S SPOOK. Scripts were supplied by editorial staff for a further 3-pager and 2-pager of BIG 'EAD, plus a 2-pager of BAD PENNY. A big challenge, but great fun to tackle different styles. I never looked back after that - I was happy to have a go at 'ghosting' many more styles.
The Baves supplied the script and art for The Swots & The Blots
for the Smash! Fun Book 1971
WHAM!, SMASH!, and POW! were owned by ODHAMS PRESS, then IPC/FLEETWAY took over, continuing to run SMASH! in a 'revamped' form for a little while longer. But not before I had added EAGLE EYE, DANNY DARE, The DOLLS Of St. DOMINICS and WEE WILLIE HAGGIS to my 'ghosted' list.
Big 'Ed, from Smash! Fun Book 1971
Over the following years, I 'ghosted', amongst others, SWEET TOOTH in WHIZZER & CHIPS, HIRE-A-HORROR and VAL'S VANISHING CREAM in COR!!, The KATTS, JELLY BABY and TOFFEE NOSE in KNOCKOUT, and SHIVER, SHAKE, SOGGY The SEA MONSTER and DAMSEL In DISTRESS in SHIVER & SHAKE.
Bad Penny, from - go on, take a guess
Also SNAP HAPPY and FUN FEAR in WHOOPEE!, X-RAY SPECS, MUMMY'S BOY, GUMS, and ART'S GALLERY in MONSTER FUN, RITCHIE RAGS in JACKPOT, NUMBER 13, BASH STREET KIDS, BILLY WHIZZ, The GERMS and IVY The TERRIBLE in The BEANO and KORKY The CAT in The DANDY. I've even had a go at DESPERATE DAN in the Fun-Size DANDY books.
A lot of challenging drawing, but what a lot of fun 'ghosting' the work of so many favourite comic artists.
Terry & Shiela Bave (October 2004).
And thanks to Terry and Shiela for all the years of hard work they put into making a lot of happy childhood memories for millions of readers.