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 Sparrows fight on” Buster Holiday Special 1980 [7 pages]
  40. “The Stealer” in Whizzer and Chips
  41. “The Steel Claw” in Valiant
  42. “Thunder Boult – the Magician who went to War”  in Buster (April 1964 and January 1965)
  43. “Who’d Kill Cockney Robin” in Shiver and Shake
  44. “Witch Winkle” in Twinkle
  45. “The Outlaws” in Jag 8 June, 15 June, 20 July, 3 August, 31 August, 16 November 1968
  46. Valiant Book of TV’s Sexton Blake
  47.  ~~Anti-smoking strips See Lew Stringer’s blog
  48. ~~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.

 

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