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.