Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Charlie did next

From Dandy to dolly birds...
Charlie Grigg swiftly became the definitive Korky the Cat artist when he took over the artistic duties from James Crichton on the cover of The Dandy in the early 1960s. Instantly making Korky a friendlier looking figure, his covers for the weekly, and the Dandy Summer Specials and annuals, were some of the finest pieces of humour art DC Thomson were producing at that time. No wonder that DC Thomson chose him to draw Desperate Dan for the specials and annuals following original artist Dudley Watkins' death in 1969.

Grigg was also adept at illustrating "light adventure" stories for the publisher, with his most memorable sixties strips being The Red Wrecker and The Umbrella Men for The Dandy. (A more in depth feature on those strips will appear here at a later date.)

When Grigg retired from regular comics work in 1983, he turned his hand to illustrating saucy seaside postcards for Bamforth. These British curiosities were hugely popular decades ago, and could be found on spinner racks outside shops in every seaside resort. Sadly, by the time Charlie Grigg entered the field, the age of the postcards were heading for their last days. Today, Bamforths saucy postcards are considered a 20th Century collectible, supplanted by holidaymaker's text messages, although some shops do still have old stock.




Many of the Bamforths cards I used to see as a youngster were illustrated by the artist "Taylor" but I instantly recognised Charlie Grigg's work when I chanced upon his cards in the late 1980s / early 1990s. Signing them "Chas", they show the same rich colour work as he'd presented us with on his Summer Special covers, although the tone of the gags are noticeably more adult! In a way it seems odd to see a style so closely associated with children's comics depicting bawdy comedy, but by 21st Century standards the humour is fairly innocuous. If anything, it's the innocence of the humour that led to the downfall of the traditional saucy postcards, as double entendres went out of favour, replaced by blatant smut. Basically, the innuendo of these cards is considered too "soft" for today's seaside stag and hen party crowds.


Incidentally, Chas' card about the man stroking the sunbather's leg - shown below, - has been copied for a large display on Blackpool's Central Pier. The style is inferior to Grigg's, but it has been there for several years now. Thus a bawdy seaside gag has become a fixture of the town itself.


No doubt some may disapprove of the subject matter here but it can't be denied that they are excellent examples of artwork and, in an historical context, are an interesting sample of British humour.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

This material isn't suitable for a blog on British comics! There's enough smut in rags like Viz. The artwork is very accomplished but could you please censor the offending parts if you display similar imagery in the future? Sorry to be a prude but this is offensive.

Vince

Lew Stringer said...

I don't see anything offensive in cartoon drawings of the human body. Besides, these postcards appeared on public display in shop spinner racks for years!

Charlie Grigg was a popular comics artist and these cards show another avenue of his career. Admire the artwork and don't focus on the nipples. ;-)

Lew

Anonymous said...

Well said Lew! The style of Charles Grigg is unmistakable. Loved his work on Splodge and Foxy in The Topper.

DK

alcilan said...

Fascinating stuff! That takes me back to holidays of my youth and seeing these outside shops on the prom. It was probably the introduction to the naked female form for many a young lad. I wonder how some reacted if the real thing didn't measure up! ;-)

Al

Lew Stringer said...

He he. Fair point Al. Yes, I think you're right; they'd be the first "naked ladies" we sixties kids would have seen.

The beauty of those gags was that as they were double entendres they could only be understood by people who already knew the slang terms etc. Yet they were still fascinating because they seemed to encapsulate British comedy with their buxom women and red nosed drunks.

Lew

Peter Gray said...

Strange how Americans and some people get upset seeing a naked women or man.......but love violent images and don't blink...

the protester didn't say anything wrong with the cartoon violence in the other blog...man torn in half..etc..but a amusing naughty postcard gets the reaction.....

I say more naked funny cartoon women Lew...:)........

alcilan said...

Yes indeed. Weren't the Carry On movies basically this genre of postcards, brought to life, as it were?

Anonymous said...

Oh Vince, offensive??! How very childish of you

Russ said...

Charles Grigg died today at 5:30am at 97 years old.
RIP Granddad we'll all miss you so much. At last you can be with Gran.

Roger Grigg said...

Sadly Chas Grigg passed away today the 4th of December 2013 having just celebrated his 97th birthday with his sons, grandchildren, great grandchildren other relatives and friends.
We will all miss you Dad
Roger Grigg

Lew Stringer said...

Thanks, Russ and Roger, for letting me know. I've just uploaded a small tribute to him. My sympathies to you all at this sad time.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...