Tom Kerr – who was he?

Morgan Wallace commented on a post of mine and forwarded this cartoon signed by “Kerr”. I showed this previously here but didn’t read ‘Kerr’! Interestingly this sent me on an exploratory trip to see what we know about Tom Kerr, if this is his work, which i begin to think it is not!

Morgan said

“I don’t have much information to work with. It came with a collection of other similar pieces. I know that all of them are original commissions, never been published.
All 20+ pieces hail solely from 1941-1943. Many were humour artists that contributed to humour publications of the day. Men’s magazines of the period also ran some of the artists, such as prewar and wartime issues of RAZZLE, LONDON OPINION, LILLIPUT, BLIGHTY, PUNCH, and even the Daily Mirror.


Kerr cartoon


Tom Kerr’s Wikipedia entry is thin on the ground, to say the least and even Steve Holland, our British comics expert admits defeat! He does have many mentions of Kerr and a very early example of his work, but none that show this style signature. When I see Tom Kerr, the comics artist, sign his work it’s usually in upper case and with no chance of comparing the letter ‘e’, which might give us the best clue!


Here’s a page form a 1967 Lady Penelope comic of “The Monkees” comic strip just before he finished drawing it. BUT note the signature. Would the above signature have evolved into this one below?

Anyway I have spent an interesting afternoon scouring all sorts of places for this listing which I hope helps someone! Tom Kerr information is so thin on the ground, if you want to contribute, let  me know.

List of strips (which I could find!)

  1. “Adam Eterno” in Thunder (17 October 1970) – Reprinted in Lion Holiday Special 1974
  2. “Alona” in Princess
  3. “The Avengers” in TV Comic 1968 (#877-887, #889)
  4. “Billy’s Boots” in Scorcher
  5. ” Boy Bandit ” in Jag (27 July 1968-1 March 1969)
  6. “Brew-up Ben and his Boomerang” in the never published Whacko (c.1971) – see Steve Holland
  7. “The Can-Do Kids” in Lion (1 January 1972-15 January 1972, 15 April 1972-22 April 1972)
  8. “Charlie Peace” in Buster (August 1964 – June 1966)
  9. “Coote’s Crocks” in Wizard (c.1972) see George Shier’s blog
  10. “Crowther In Trouble” in Look-In ( 9 January 1971- December 1972)
  11. “The Daredevils ” in Jag (11 May 1968-15 June 1968, 29 June 1968-20 July 1968, 10 August 1968, 14 December 1968, 18 January 1969)
  12. The Day the World Forgot” in Eagle (April 26 1969 vol.20 No.17)
  13. “Doctor In Charge” in Look-In (c. May 1972)
  14. “Fatman and Sparrow” in Solo (15 February 1967 – ?)
  15. “The Fenn Street Gang” in Look-In (c. 1971)
  16. “Fireball XL5” in TV21 (30 September 2067 #141- 30 December 2067 #154)
  17. “Get Smart” in TV21 (1 July 2067 , #128 [published in 1967] – 23 December 2067, #153)
  18. “Jack O’ Justice” in Valiant (23 January 1965 – ?)
  19. “Kelly’s Eye” in Knockout (20 October 1962 -9 February 1963)
  20. “The King of Keg island” ran in Lion (14 November 1970 to 13 March 1971)
  21. “Kraken and the Ogre from the Past” in Valiant (August -September 1964)
  22. “Life with Uncle Lionel” in Princess (September 1963 -?)
  23. “The Magic Bus” in Little Star (1972-1974)
  24. “The Man called 39” in Valiant (February and May 1965)
  25. “The Mark of the Mysterons” in Solo (24 June 1967, #19 – ?)
  26. “Mary Jo: the girl with the heart of gold” ran in Princess (1963 – 1967)
  27. “The Mind Stealers” in Lion (28 December 1968 – 26 April 1969)
  28. “The Monkees” in Lady Penelope (24 September 1966 -14 January 1967?)
  29. “Oddball Oates” in Lion (3 May 1969 – 7 November 1970)
  30. “Patty Pickle” in Twinkle
  31. “The Perils of Paul White” in Whizzer and Chips
  32. “Peter the Cat” in Score ‘n’ Roar 1970
  33. “Phil the Fluter” in Lion (20 March 1971-22 January 1972)
  34. “Pinky & Perky” in Harold Hare’s Own Paper
  35. “Pinocchio” in Harold Hare’s Own Paper (c.1960/61)
  36. “Sgt. Bilko” in Solo (18 February 1967 #1 – 14 September 1967 #31?)
  37. “Sgt. Bilko” in TV21 (
  38. “The Sparrows go to War” in Buster  1965
  39. “The Stealer” in Whizzer and Chips
  40. “The Steel Claw” in Valiant
  41. “Thunder Boult – the Magician who went to War”  in Buster (April 1964 and January 1965)
  42. “Who’d Kill Cockney Robin” in Shiver and Shake
  43. “Witch Winkle” in Twinkle
  44. “The Outlaws” in Jag 8 June, 15 June, 20 July, 3 August, 31 August, 16 November 1968
  45. Valiant Book of TV’s Sexton Blake
  46.  ~~Anti-smoking strips See Lew Stringer’s blog
  47. ~~Clarkes Commando (boys shoes) adverts (Series 1, Series 2)

Our Dutch friends have an entry in the vast Lambiek Comiclopedia which forms the basis of the Wikipedia article and Lew Stringer has examples of his work on his blog, but no biographical information. Roger Perry (a contemporary) in his memoirs for Downthetubes mentions Kerr illustrating strips in the Lady Penelope Annual of the Monkees, which he also did in the comic too. Kerr drew Monty Carstairs (who was also drawn by Frank Bellamy). British Comic Art blog has some nice scans

I used GCD, ComicsUK Forum, the above mentioned Steve Holland’s Bear Alley Blog, Lew Stringer’s Blog and any other source I could find!

And finally, on the ComicsUK Forum Shaqui mentioned on 1 March 2006:

I’ve seen Tom Kerr‘s signature on strips as far back as 1960, drawing ‘Pinky & Perky’ and ‘Pinocchio’ for ‘Harold Hare’s Own Comic’. I tried to trace him through his agent but was told he died in the 1970s.


And finally on the Save




Supermoose chocolate bar and Peter Ford

Countdown 006_1971_Mar_27 Pg 24

Countdown  #6 27 March 1971, p.24

A recent email prompted me to look into Supermoose, as I was investigating whether Frank Bellamy produced some advertising for the chocolate bar.  I remember the milky chocolate bar (from Cadbury Limited) which I thought more substantial than Milky Way (Mars Limited). It appeared in 1970, as far as I can ascertain, and was “a chocolate covered nougatine whip”, perhaps explaining why I liked it better than Milky Way!

It appears that the cartoons are by Peter Ford, who has an interesting, but brief history on the Internet.

Steve Holland points out his realistic artwork in Commando comics and John Freeman’s DowntheTubes lists a few of the reprinted stories he did. Peter Gray’s comic and art blog mentions his work on “Dad’s Army” in Countdown‘s later incarnation as TV Action and ComicsUK Forum shows he also illustrated “Motormouse and Autocat” strips too. He has also illustrated some “Bewitched” strips which appeared in Lady Penelope in the second half of the 1960s.

Matthew Emery (on the above mentioned forum) says:

Mick Anglo described him in his book on the fifties as, ‘a stocky Maori who used to draw adventure strips in which Aeroplanes often featured.’

Gerry Embleton shared the following, “Peter Ford was a very dear friend of mine when I was in my very early twenties. He was a wonderful character, he sang in amateur opera, played the guitar, was a talented cartoonist and comic strip artist, a paratroop instructor, a judo third Dan and ran a school, and was a school teacher. These separate worlds rarely had contact with each other and when he died representatives of his different interests gathered at his funeral and were amazed to discover how wide his interests were. He was quite a formidable character having a Polynesian anatomy, very big and powerful, a fierce warrior look when angry and a huge white toothed smile.”

From what I’ve researched he very likely grew up in Poplar.

Shaqui on the above Forum mentions that: “[Regarding] “Perils of Parker”, [i]n fact Gerry Embleton did the first 20 or so, then there was a ‘crossing over’ period as Embleton and Ford shared a studio, before Ford took over the strip entirely.”

and later states

“…[H]aving corresponded with his close friend Gerry Embleton, Peter Ford sadly died of a heart attack in the 1970s.”

If you follow Matthew emery’s pursuit of information at you’ll see, he was an expert in Judo as well as an artist!

Anyway back to the Supermoose series. It surprised me when I researched a bit further as it started in issue 6 (27 March 1971) of Countdown and continued until issue 31 (18 September 1971) without a break. Most appeared on the back page, but sometimes moved inside in order a special feature appear in its stead.

If anyone can add anything, let me know

Countdown 007 Pg 15

Countdown 008 Pg 24
Countdown 009 Pg 24 - SupermousseCountdown 010 Pg 24Countdown 011 Pg 15Countdown 012 Pg 24Countdown 013 Pg 24Countdown 014 Pg 10Countdown 015 Pg 24Countdown 016 Pg 22Countdown 017 Pg 24Countdown 018 Pg 24Countdown 019 Pg 10Countdown 020 Pg 18Countdown 021 Pg 24Countdown 022 Pg 10Countdown 023 Pg 24Countdown 024 Pg 24Countdown 025 Pg 15Countdown 026 Pg 18Countdown 027 Pg 15Countdown 028 Pg 10Countdown 029 Pg 10Countdown 030 Pg 10

And the last strip that I have found was published in Countdown issue 31 (18 September 1971)

Countdown 031 Pg 22_1971_Sep_18

W. J. Blyton author and artist and farmer and journalist!


Men and Shires map by Blyton; Page 1 by Sheppard

Having spent a lot of time reading William Joseph Blyton’s two books ilustrated by Raymond Sheppard, and writing blog articles on them, I also wanted to show the author’s artwork. Some of it is quite well executed but others are perhaps rushed. You be the judge.

The Tablet ( 6th March 1937, Page 16 ) also reviewed the book (see other reviews in my Sheppard article)

The literary map at the beginning of Mr. Blyton’s book is a good foretaste of what is to come. Scott, Shakespeare, Chaucer and Hardy have England and the Lowlands divided between them in broad spheres of influence, as it might be Northumbria, Wessex and Mercia. Other names appear in groups—Wordsworth, De Quincey and Ruskin clustering among the Lakes, Priestley and the Brontës sharing the wastes of the industrial provinces, and so on down to the crowded South. One does not expect to find Swinburne so far up the lonely North-East coast, and what is Marvell doing on the Humber ? Mrs. Gaskell and Cmdmon sing an odd duet. Altogether it is a fascinating map, and will keep the reader from the text for many minutes.

” I am in love with this green earth, ” wrote Lamb, and Mr. Blyton has caught and fixed this mood in poets and prose-writers the land over. He has turned out just the book for a lazy spring or summer day, when the senses are sharpened for country sights and sounds, and a favourite stretch of hillside or coast is all the better for having touched the heart of Keats or Coleridge. Mr. Blyton himself knows how to use language (though rather too fond of the caviare, as in his iterations of “sapid”), and can sum up a period of literature neatly : “Poetry, it seems, was to turn pedagogue ; the wild horses of the sun to become Dobbin in the shafts of instruction. Gay’s `Rural Sports’ had not this systematic or homiletic air, just previously, any more than the humorous rogue Allan Ramsay’s ‘ Gentle Shepherd,’ which had a bright unreal Petit Trianon accent. To fire fact with imagination, genius was needed, the genius which Wordsworth said made poetry `the trans-figured countenance of science.’ This was withheld. Talent only was given. But what provocative and curious failures or half-successes talent producet: nevertheless ! ” There is little that Mr. Blyton misses (though Johnson in the Hebrides and Jane Austen in Bath are surely not to be disregarded in such company) and he gives us much that may be unfamiliar. John Clare, for instance, could write such lines as these : “And Crossberry Way and old Round Oak’s narrow lane With its hollow trees like pulpits I shall never see again.

Enclosure like a Buonaparte let not a thing remain.

It levelled every bush and tree and levelled every hill And hung the moles for traitors, though the brook is running still It runs a naked stream and scold.”

That excellent poet, Lord Gorell, has written the lines which sum up Mr. Blyton’s purpose : “My footsteps fall on English earth In sound of English sea, And, new as though unfelt before, Its glory falls on I will not praise her more than this—She everywhere has known Whole centuries of quiet love As deep as is my own.”

The English language is as flexible as the English countryside, and both have here been explored by a patient and loving friend.

There are many satisfactory woodcuts, one or two tiresome errors in quotation. English Cavalcade fails entirely to give the quality of the book ; here is no pageantry, or high top note of patriotism. Why not have taken the title from the device on the intriguing map : Men and Shires?

I have emboldened the only reference to the illustrations. Did the reviewer mean Sheppard, Blyton or both?

The Rolling Year was solely illustrated by Sheppard; English Cavalcade was illustrated both by Sheppard and the author himself. Follow the links to read a biography and also reviews of the books on publication in 1936 and 1937 respectively.

The dual illustrations are strange, particularly as Blyton’s are not framed in the way Sheppard’s are. Sheppard, of course had co-illustrated The Old Man and the Sea by Hemingway. But we know why that happened. For English Cavalcade we can only guess.



Raymond Sheppard on p154 and Blyton on p.155





Margaret Tarrant and The Littlest One


Recently I bought a book for my wife but have no idea where now! Still I wanted to share the details in case anyone was interested.

We have both loved Cecily Mary Barker  since we were kids (no we didn’t know each other at that time!) but when we first got married we had posters on our walls and later bought two Margaret Tarrant pictures! I always thought of her artwork as ‘insubstantial’ yet cute. But the two we bought still inspire me when I look at them. They are both at the top of this post and the reproduction does not do them justice.

Anyway enough of my memories.

The Littlest One was written by Marion St John Webb and you can read more about the authoress on the wonderful March House Books website. I found I had bought the third one in the series “The Littlest One Again” first published in 1923, so I’d bought a very cheap first edition! But it was the pictures which grabbed me. Here they are.







Norman Thelwell

My wife and I visited Hampshire recently in order to see the Norman Thelwell exhibition (16 January to 10 April 2016, 11am – 5pm)at the National Trust property, Mottisfont House. I was really pleased to see that the captions, which were excellent, stated that all the artwork on display was “On loan from the Thelwell Family Archive”. I hope they won’t mind me sharing these crude photographs all taken by me, and thus including reflections!

It was wonderful to walk round a few rooms and find older people than me laughing out loud. The cartoons still work so well and as one caption stated:

“In some ways Thelwell was out of step with conventions for cartoons in post-war Britain – these were often political and urban in outlook and acerbic in tone. […] Thelwell’s approach was completely different. His style was always naturalistic  and he included a great deal of descriptive detail. […] Although he said that politics bored him, Thelwell did produce cartoons that used humour to protest against environmental issues.”


The following are borrowed from the Mottisfont website (All Thelwell material is © The Estate of Norman Thelwell, and the official website has great stuff that I have no need to reproduce here!):



Romsey Abbey

Romsey Abbey by Norman Thelwell


Daily Mirror 24 May 1961 found under the carpet!

We’ve had the plasterer in our house for a few weeks and wish we’d moved out. If we had we wouldn’t have seen this issue of the Daily Mirror which was found under our dining room carpet (or more accurately the underlay!). Please forgive the poor nature of the photos, taken with my phone. The colour of the paper is pretty accurate here! The paper was very grimy and I was sad that we didn’t have a full copy of  the Perishers strip in this find!

Wednesday 24 May 1961




Andy Capp in Daily Mirror 1961 May 24



Sooty in Daily Mirror 1961 May 24


Franklin cartoon re RAB Butler and Franco


Keeping up with the Joneses – John Burns art? in Daily Mirror 1961 May 24



Buck Ryan, The Larks, Garth, The Flutters and the Perishers and ? in Daily Mirror 1961 May 24








Ron Embleton in The Crackerjack Western Book published by The Children’s Press

I found these on the web recently and thought them worth posting. I believe the given date of 1959 as the British Library’s copy (if the same book) states [1960], but these things are hard to date. They are by Ron Embleton, an artist I saw a lot when growing up in the late fifties, sixties and seventies. His work appeared in many of the comics of my youth such as ‘Stingray’ in TV21, and many illustrations of historical subjects in Look & Learn. Even my Mother and Father-in-Law had one of his “Victorian sellers” pictures, or was is “Victorian children’s games”? You can buy lots of his original artwork from the nice people at Illustration Art Gallery.

The Crackerjack Western Book [1959] (The Children's Press)_IMG_0001

Roger Hall’s cover to the 1959(?) Crackerjack Western Book

"Express Delivery" illustrated by Ron Embleton

“Express Delivery” illustrated by Ron Embleton, p130


Ron Embleton p.132

Ron Embleton p.128

Ron Embleton p.134

Ron Embleton p.130

Ron Embleton p.136

Ron Embleton p.131

Ron Embleton p.137

Ron Embleton p.140

Ron Embleton p.140

Ron Embleton p.142

Ron Embleton p.142

Ron Embleton p.143

Ron Embleton p.143