Sunday, March 16, 2008

Walter Howarth R.I.P.


Walt Howarth, the prolific artist of many British annual covers of the sixties and seventies has died, aged 80.

Like many artists of his generation, his work was often uncredited, but his work would be familiar to many children due to his prolific and varied output. His career spanned 60 years but he was best known for the many covers he illustrated for the tv theme annuals published by World Distributors such as the early Doctor Who annuals. In a pre-DVD age, Walt Howarth had to produce likenesses and representative artwork often based on minimal photo reference.

In recent years, Walt had produced private commissions for fans, based on reproductions of his old annual covers or brand new creations of past tv annuals that never existed. (For example, a Batman TV Annual cover featuring likenesses of Adam West and Burt Ward, - something never actually published in the sixties.)

More information:

http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/headlines/display.var.2121451.0.0.php

Update: John Freeman's blog has a tribute and more info on Walt:

http://downthetubescomics.blogspot.com/2008/03/in-memoriam-walt-howarth.html

29 comments:

Steve Penny said...

I was very proud to be associated with Walt for the last 10 years or so. I have been selling British Annuals since 1985 and my first words to him were "Hello, Mr Howarth. You don't know me but you have kept me in business for the last 15 years". Walt did not only illustrate children's annuals. He also painted many of the WDL comic covers in the 1950's (John Wayne, Cisco Kid, Billy the Kid and many others)and he also painted many of the jigsaw puzzles from that era(Coronation Street, Wells Fargo, Bonanza, Dr Who etc. Every time I met up with him he would come up with a new "gem" - "I painted that". Walter had a happy disposition and he will be sadly missed by all his friends in the the business. My web site www.purenostalgia.co.uk has many of his pictures on show and you can purchase them as signed limited editions. These will obviously now become investment items as they sell out. God bless Walt.

Steve Penny said...

I was very proud to be associated with Walt for the last 10 years or so. I have been selling British Annuals since 1985 and my first words to him were "Hello, Mr Howarth. You don't know me but you have kept me in business for the last 15 years". Walt did not only illustrate children's annuals. He also painted many of the WDL comic covers in the 1950's (John Wayne, Cisco Kid, Billy the Kid and many others)and he also painted many of the jigsaw puzzles from that era(Coronation Street, Wells Fargo, Bonanza, Dr Who etc. Every time I met up with him he would come up with a new "gem" - "I painted that". Walter had a happy disposition and he will be sadly missed by all his friends in the the business. My web site www.purenostalgia.co.uk has many of his pictures on show and you can purchase them as signed limited editions. These will obviously now become investment items as they sell out. God bless Walt.

John Freeman said...

Sad news. Just one small point Lew, the Doctor Who cards mentioned - I checked this, he didn't draw them but he did autograph a Daleks card drawn by Sarah Wilkinson, see http://tinyurl.com/3bh457

Anonymous said...

There was a Batman Annual published in the UK to tie in with the TV Series in the 1960's, I even have a copy of it kicking around here *somewhere*

To be honest once past the cover it was nothing special, just the usual mix of 50's DC reprint material but the Adam West/Burt Ward photo cover was an eyecatcher !!

-Nigel Cantwell

Lew Stringer said...

True, there was a Batman Annual with a tv series photo cover:

http://www.tonystrading.co.uk/galleries/annuals/1968.htm

I assume that's the one you mean? There were other UK Batman Annuals too of course, and with painted covers (some perhaps by Walt) but not based on the likenesses of Adam West or Burt Ward.

Steve Penny said...

Hey, and don't forget that Walt painted all of the covers for the digest sized Batman World Adventure Libraries. In fact, he painted most, if not all of the covers for all the different World Adventure Series such as Man from Uncle, Bonanza, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician, The Phantom etc. He painted so much that it is often just impossible to list everything down without writting a book.

Anonymous said...

My 1968 Batman Annual IS indeed the same as the one on show at Tony's gallery.

If i'm not mistaken the Adam West photo was taken from the movie rather than the TV series.

as mentioned before all the Batman stories filling the 96 pages seem to date from the 1950's although most of them have been reprinted during the 60's in the 80 page giants.

The inside cover pages are of more interest, what appears to be original artwork showing Batman, Robin and the four baddies from the movie, artist unknown sadly.

-Nigel Cantwell

Lew Stringer said...

You're right. The Batman photo is from the movie as he says the classic line "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb". :)

Michael Howarth said...

He was a wonderful man!

Not just an amazing talent, but my best friend and my Grandpa!

Thanks for all your fantastic comments!

Michael Howarth

Lew Stringer said...

Nice to hear from you Michael. My condolences for your loss. Your Grandpa's work will always be remembered with affection.

ric_mac said...

Can anyone confirm if Walt painted the covers for World Distributors' 1960s 'Outer Limits' annuals?

Wayne Howarth said...

Yes, I can confirm that my Dad did two 'Outer Limits' covers for World, both of them are amongst my fondest memories of his work. One was a picture of some 'little green men' ! and the other was of some schoolboys running away from a UFO.
It has been very heartwarming to read the tributes to Walt on this and other sites, and on behalf of all of his family we thank you very much

ric_mac said...

Wayne, thanks for the reply. Your father was a very talented illustrator. His covers for the first Doctor Who Annual and for the Outer Limits Annual (with the green aliens!) I think are paticularly fine pieces of work and impressed me very much even as a child. They are tremendously atmospheric paintings with lots of interesting detail. I was lucky enough to recently acquire the artwork from the *back* cover of the OL Annual, and I can assure you that it has found a very appreciative home. Sincere condolences for your family's loss, but I hope that it's of some comfort that there are many who will remember Walt's work with admiration and affection.

Anonymous said...

We own one of his original paintings, and must say, it's a work of art, we own the picture, from the Doctor Who book, Blood And Hope, we have this book, this by the way, was Walt Howarth's own copy.

We wish we would have had a chance of meeting him. R.I.P.

Anonymous said...

Walt Howarth completed the inside illustrations but the actual front and back cover of the first Dr Who annual was illustrated by someone else who wasn't given the credit for this due to becoming ill!!!

Lew Stringer said...

That's the first time I've heard that. Do you have a source? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lew...yes it's from a very good source. It was my dad who actually did it as he worked for World Distributors and did the front and back covers, design and artwork in full colour. They were waiting for the full stories to follow from the bbc and meanwhile my dad was in hospital with TB and was treated for 12 months. Walter meanwhile did the drawings for the inside pages only prior to publication of the first annual.

Lew Stringer said...

I've passed the info on to the guy who was Walt's agent. Could you give me your dad's name? It's hard to credit someone who's posting anonymously.

Anonymous said...

My dads name is Stanley Freeman, known as Stan. My dad knew Walt and had met him frequently in Manchester. My dad has only recently discovered what is written about the first annual through the internet and is upset that someone else has been credited with his artwork. Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

Apologies if you get this message twice but i don't think it sent the first time. My dads name is Stanley Freeman, known as Stan. We have only just discovered from the internet that my dads artwork on the front and back covers of the first annual has been credited to someone else. He met Walt many times in Manchester but this finding has been quite upsetting. Thanks for your time.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks. Do you know of any other covers your father drew? It's not easy pinpointing who did what for WDL when covers were uncredited.

Stanley Freeman said...

Hello Lew-It's timeIspoke up for myself following my daughter's kind comments.I am Stan Freeman and I worked "in house"at World Distributors Ltd.I shared a studio With the esteemed artist Ron Smethurst for some time.When Ron joined the company he worked mostly on annual covers whilst I handled a large variety of titles and formats in many genres.I also designed and did the artwork for the first Dr Who annual's covers

Lew Stringer said...

Hi Stan, Thanks for getting in touch. I've sent your details to Gary Wooton, who was Walt's art agent and handles his paintings so hopefully you can discuss it with him and clear things up.

stanleyfreeman said...

HI Lew -haven't heard from Gary Wooton yet ,so can't clear anything up .as you say. Truth is Stan Freeman did the total design and artwork of the first Doctor Who annual cover.Thanks -Stan Freeman.

stanleyfreeman said...

Still heard nothing from Gary Wooton.Don't have any contact details for him.Have you given him my e-mail address?
Sorry to bother you Lew-Thanks
-Stan Freeman

Lew Stringer said...

Yes, about a month ago. I hope he'll be in touch soon. What other covers did you do for WDL?

stanleyfreeman said...

Thanks Lew,no contact so far from GW.I was more involved with fun books ,story books and activity books as opposed to annual covers.
I think John Pemberton thought I might be more suited to science fiction because I was younger!Besides everyone else was busy at the time.Walter was almost exclusively engaged on cowboy annuals then.I'll try to provide more details shortly-Stan Freeman

stanfreeman said...

The man you mentioned Gary Wooton has still not surfaced Lew- must be busy!-Stan Freeman (first Doctor Who annual artist)

Lew Stringer said...

I'm sorry Gary hasn't been in touch but it's out of my hands, Stan. Have you contacted all the other websites that credit Walt Howarth with the annual cover art?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...