Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Dudley D. Watkins
Today marks the centenary of the birth of Dudley D. Watkins, the original artist of Desperate Dan, Lord Snooty, The Broons, Oor Wullie, Ginger, Mickey the Monkey, Biffo the Bear, and many more. The Nottingham-born artist also illustrated numerous adventure stories for the comics and many would consider him the best artist D.C. Thomson ever had. (Certainly the company respected him enough to allow him to sign his work for several years; a rare privilege for British comic artists at that time.)
Dudley passed away in 1969 and such was the strength of his style that reprints of Desperate Dan continued in The Dandy for many years afterwards. Even today, newer artists on The Broons and Oor Wullie "ghost" Dudley's style rather than be allowed to forge their own; Watkins' look being definitive.
The artwork of Dudley Watkins was always a pleasure to behold. A mixture of realism, natural humour, and a gift to portray slapstick, his strips delighted generations of children and will never be forgotten.
Above: Two pages by Dudley Watkins from The Dandy No.325, dated August 17th 1946.