I'm sorry to report that tonight I was informed by the family of comic artist Charles Grigg that he passed away at 5.30 this morning.
Charles Grigg, affectionately known as Charlie or Chas, originally worked as an engineer in the Midlands before he began freelancing as an artist for DC Thomson in the 1950s. His skills proved to be popular with the readers and he continued drawing numerous comic strips for the company for almost 40 years. One of his earliest strips for the company was Charlie the Chimp which he illustrated for The Dandy from 1957 to 1960.
Back then, DC Thomson did not allow artists to sign their work, but the characters that Charlie drew would be familiar with millions of children. In 1961 he was asked to take over the cover artwork of The Dandy's lead strip, Korky the Cat, which he then drew for the next 22 years.
Charlie's version of Korky became the definitive one, and the artist's marvellous ability with colour led to him producing some memorable covers for The Dandy Book and The Dandy Summer Special.
Although most of Charlie's work was on humour strips such as Korky for The Dandy and Foxy and Splodge for The Topper, he was also able to turn his hand to adventure work. Some of his most memorable serials being The Red Wrecker, The Purple Cloud, and The Umbrella Men, all for The Dandy.
Charlie moved into semi-retirement 30 years ago after which he illustrated saucy seaside postcards for the Bamforth postcard company. Sadly, as The Birmingham Post reported in 2012, in recent years he began to suffer from vascular dementia and was cared for by his son Steve.
Regrettably, I never met Mr.Grigg but his artwork provided so much childhood pleasure when I was reading The Dandy in the 1960s. Published on Mondays back then, it gave a bright start to the week and I eagerly looked forward to whether Korky would 'win' or 'lose' on that week's cover. (I always wanted him to win, thwarting the mice or the gamekeeper.) I thrilled to the adventure strips The Red Wrecker and The Umbrella Men, with Charlie's detailed artwork drawing me into that strange world of ordinary British towns under siege from some bizarre menace. The Dandy Summer Specials became synonymous with journeys to Blackpool, with the discovery of Charlie's luxuriously coloured covers becoming a part of that long-anticipated summer holiday. Then on Christmas Day, the delight of unwrapping the latest Dandy Book, with the first sight being Charlie's festive covers.
Though most of us never knew the man personally, Charles Grigg was part of our lives, with his warm, funny and enthralling comic strips bringing smiles to millions of children over the years. And as adults, we still have those happy memories, - and if we're lucky, the comics too, - to reflect on. I hope those thoughts will be of some comfort to Mr.Grigg's family at this time. He was one of the best.
(As always, click the images to see them larger. All images in this article are Copyright DC Thomson, except for the Bamforth postcard.)