Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Veteran artist John Cooper passes

I've just heard via editor John Freeman that veteran comics artist John Cooper has passed away after a short illness. Born in 1942, John's first adventure comic strip was drawing a Special Agent 21 story for the TV21 Annual published in 1968. (Source: An interview by Terry Hooper at this link.) His long career saw him illustrating numerous strips for many comics over the years including several Judge Dredd stories for 2000AD but he's probably best remembered for One Eyed Jack in Valiant in 1975 and taking over the Johnny Red strip in Battle - a strip which he made his own.

John's work was also seen outside of comics, such as illustrating scenes for TV news stories. 

Here's a short selection of John's work, starting with his very first comic strip from the pages of a TV21 Annual (undated on the cover but according to the indicia inside the book it was published in 1968)...





A page of a Joe 90 strip from the Joe 90 Annual published in 1969...

The first episode of One Eyed Jack (script by John Wagner) from Valiant dated 20th December 1975...



Part of a Goalmouth strip from Roy of the Rovers comic...

Another of John's excellent covers for Battle-Action...
John's work must have been seen by millions who grew up on boys comics from the late 1960s to the end of the 20th Century and his dynamic layouts and action-packed style brought a lot of pleasure to those readers. I only met John once, briefly at a convention in Norway years ago, but the easy going Yorkshireman was good company. My sincere condolences to his family and friends on their sad loss.

There's an excellent tribute to John Cooper on the Down The Tubes blog:
http://downthetubes.net/?p=20091

6 comments:

Paul McScotty -Muir said...

Sadly another UK artist lost so soon after Brett Ewins passed away - commiserations to Johns family and friends at this time. I remember Johns art on Johnny Red from some issue of Battle (after it was cancelled) that I was given by a friend (as I had long since given up regularly buying UK comics by then) ) and really enjoying the story and art and wishing I had picked up more issues (I still have some of these in my collection as well). As always a nice tribute Lew.

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks Paul. John drew a lot of material over the last 50 years but sadly most of it was uncredited.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please, please, PLEASE release "One-Eyed Jack - the complete case files"?

Used to love looking at John's stuff when I was a kid (and still do) - his style was so distinctive.

And a Yorkshireman too - why am I not surprised?!

Lew Stringer said...

There's so much good stuff that's simply not being reprinted unfortunately. I think if a One Eyed Jack collection happened it'd be an indie publisher doing it with Egmont's permission.

Hibernia Comics said...

Nice piece Lew, and sad times too for comics.
There was some confusion over the ownership of Jack, at the time of doing the Comic Archive, neither IPC or Egmont claimed ownership. IPC said it was post 1969 so it was Egmonts, and Egmont said that it was created in a IPC owned comic, Valiant, so its IPC's.
Confusing?! At least two people, with some knowledge and experience have dais its IPC's property. Time will tell.

Karlos N said...

This is just heartbreaking. First, we lose Brett Ewins and now John Cooper.

Growing up I just adored anything Cooper did: One-Eyed Jack, Gaunt, Dredd, and, it goes without saying, his glorious run on Johnny Red.

As Garth Ennis says, such a shame he didn't get to see the reprints of his JR work. Long overdue and much deserved. Its only fitting some of his work is finally being collected for posterity.

Cooper's art was as much a part of my childhood as anything else. Seeing it always made me happy.

Thanks, John.

Fly high, good sir.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...