Thursday, October 30, 2008





Dudley D Watkin's Young Warrior Comic Strips. Easily my favourite British cartoonist and revered illustrator of Desperate Dan, Lord Snooty, The Broons and Oor Wullie, Dudley D Watkins also had a lesser known artistic sideline producing Christian tract strips for the Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade during the 1950s and 1960s. Watkins was a highly religious man and always kept a huge Bible near his drawing board. His Bible had wide margins in which he would scribble copious notes when inspiration took hold. Watkin's place of worship was the Dundee Church of Christ, a Free Protestant community where he met his wife.

From 1956 he drew and wrote William the Warrior, a schoolboy character much given to scripture quotations and musing on moral dilemmas. Later he created Tony & Tina, the Warrior Twins (see above) for the Young Warrior Christian Children's Paper. These strips were collected and published in booklets during 1966 and 1969.

4 comments:

Mister E said...

Fantastic stuff by the great Watkins. I have copies of some of these religious strips published as small booklets (from a time before the word 'mini-comic' was coined). I must see if I can find them and scan them for you. Wonderful to see the twins annoying their mum and dad by reading scripture out loud at 6.30 in the morning - that's priceless! A sign of more innocent times, to be sure.

John Bagnall said...

Wow,I would certainly love to see those booklets. As far as I know, there are no monographs on Watkins work, aside from the hardback Broons collections. But just think how many tomes there are about lesser Transatlantic cartoonists! Dudley D is a giant.

Ten Inch Wheeler said...

Wasn't Dan Dare originally created as Chaplain Dan Dare of Space Fleet for a Christian comic?

Mister E said...

> Wasn't Dan Dare originally created as Chaplain Dan Dare of Space Fleet for a Christian comic?

I think that's almost right; Dan Dare seems to have had his origins in a character named Lex Christian, a flying padre. The story about the evolution of Eagle can be seen here, for example (http://www.dandare.org/eagle/morris/morris.htm). Marcus Morris began the publication as a direct reaction to the perceived threat of American horror comics that were arriving in the UK after WWII. And for the full story on that strand of comics history, you need to read the excellent study by Martin Barker.