a smith (ajsmith) wrote,
a smith

J. Edward Oliver, 1942-2007

the Last page of the last Buster Comic ever, published the first week of the present decade:

it was a deadening shock to receive the news yesterday morning that cartoonist Jack Edward Oliver had died from cancer at the age of 65. I had known his style from kidness back when reading his neatly drawn strips like "Vid Kid" and "Cliff Hanger" in Buster and other IPC comics as they hung on through the rise and wane of Madchester, but had only gained a deeper respect for him in the last 18 months when I discovered his 70s pop comic pages he had created for Record Mirror. These were a revelation to me, each page was a hamper full of contemporary pop culture references, tortured puns, puzzles, and GREAT artwork (the above example of his work doesn't begin to do justice to the photo-realisitc rendering he was displaying weekly at his 70s pop peak ): in fact, each of those pages (many of the later ones printed in beautiful red duotone or even a few in colour) should be hanging in galleries instead of rotting away in the attics of those prescient enough to cut out and keep them back in the day.

I got in email contact with Jack twice since I became aware of that stuff, once in Jan 2006 to let him know the depth of my appreciation, and once again earlier this year to ask if I could borrow his "box with a handle" device for use as a detail on the cover of the Littlest Album. both times he respondced graciously and with geunine interest, and it's dully sadly predictable that once I had his validation both times, I did nothing more to nurture any more meaningful communication. I never even got round to sending him a Littlest Album as I promised, partially cos I was waiting on his next comic mail out on his mailing list (he was still producing excellently drawn weekly adventures of the dinosaur "fresco de la ray" in the style of a classic newspaper strip and mailing them out to his fans for no gain up till week befroe he died. The last ever one was a great spoof of the first Christopher Ecclestone Dr Who episode, featuring the "Nestle Consciousness" )- to get his home address. Chalk it up to just one more regret, though to be fair he probably wouldn't have had time to listen to it in the last weeks of his life, espeically as he got married just 2 months ago.

That sad comic news was a portent of later in the day, when I foudn out for sure that Alistair is leaving Khaki Shorts and that the next issue will be the final regular one. While I might ressurect it now and again just for the perverse sake of it in days to come, the Alistair edited Yellow run of good stuff and borderline professionalism/non fanzinism comes to an end next month, and I have to ask myself whether I'm cut out for drawing comics at all.

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