We asked you five questions about cartoons. Here come the answers!
- Which cartoonist, famous for drawings of unlikely or implausible contraptions, illustrated the first of Norman Hunter’s Professor Branestawm books, published in 1933?
W. (William) Heath Robinson. Heath Robinson started drawing elaborate and ramshackle solutions to everyday problems shortly before the First World War. In the Second World War the team of codebreakers at Bletchley Park named one of their machines – forerunner of Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital electronic computer – “Heath Robinson” in his honour.
- Carl Giles drew topical cartoons of a family, including an enigmatic, mute matriarch known simply as Grandma, for which national daily newspaper?
The Daily Express. In later life Giles said he felt guilty about leaving the more left-wing Reynolds News for the Express stable, but he was well paid for doing so: by the mid-1950s he was earning over £8,000 a year (the equivalent of about £140,000 today) for drawing three cartoons a week.
- Dundee-based publishers D C Thomson were behind the two best-selling British comics of the twentieth century: The Beano and The Dandy. Which was established first?
The Dandy was first published in December 1937 and thus pipped The Beano (first published 30 July 1938) by about seven months. Its last printed issue appeared on 4 December 2012 (its 75th anniversary), by which time its sales had slumped from a peak of over two million in the 1950s to just 8,000. A digital relaunch failed to gain traction and it closed just six months later.
- Political caricaturist James Gillray drew a cartoon “The Plumb-pudding in danger” showing which two statesmen carving up the world between them?
Napoleon and William Pitt the Younger. Alongside William Hogarth, Gillray is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of British cartooning. His “L’Assemblée Nationale” was such an accomplished piece of caricature that the Prince of Wales (later King George IV) paid a considerable sum to have it suppressed and the plate destroyed.
- Who created The Three Bears, Minnie the Minx, Little Plum and The Bash Street Kids for The Beano?
Leo Baxendale, who sadly died in April 2017. Baxendale left D C Thomson in 1962 suddenly after overwork, eventually winding up with rival stable IPC Comics (publisher of Whizzer & Chips and Buster). He fought a seven-year legal battle with Thomson over the rights to his Beano creations in the 1980s, the settlement of which enabled him to create his own Reaper Books publishing house.
How did you get on? Why not let us know?