In Memoriam: David Torrie

The robot schoolboy Brassneck, one of the late David Torrie's favourite Dandy characters. Image © DC Thomson
The robot schoolboy Brassneck, one of the late David Torrie’s favourite Dandy characters. Image © DC Thomson

We’re sorry to report the passing of former Dandy editor and writer David  Lindsay Torrie, who died at the age of  73 on 16th May.

Mr Torrie from The Dandy‘s publisher, DC Thomons in 2006 after 45 years’ service with the company, which as well as highly regarded work on its papers as well as The Dandy, included editorships with The Beezer, Classics from the Comics and The Beeezer and Beano titles.

The death of Dave Torrie… has robbed the Union of one of its most popular, respected and hard-working men,” notes an obituary posted by the Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union. “As a player, he was a mainstay of the Kirrie club for almost 40 years, batting with vigour and bowling with skill and guile.

“… Dave was much more than a cricketer,” it continues. “Professionally, he spent all his working life with DC Thomson, rising to become editor of some its most popular publications.  He was a raconteur much in demand as an after-dinner speaker and he entertained and informed at many social occasions.  He was generous with his time and would never pass an acquaintance in the street.  He was also an avid collector and was a mainstay of various local philatelic and postcard collecting societies.”

A keen cricketeer and stamp and postcard collector, during his 25 years working on The Dandy, David – or the ‘Tor’ as he was affectionately known by colleagues – wrote several strips including “Korky the Cat”, “Desperate Dan” and “Black Bob”, the wonder sheepdog, whose stories also appeared in The Weekly News. His favourite strip was the robot schoolboy, “Brassneck”.

“The times Dave spoke most about were his times working on The Dandy under the original editor Albert Barnes,” recalls Morris Heggie, who also edited The Dandy, of a much-respected colleague.

“He started off in 1962 as office junior on The Dandy and stayed with that title until 1986,” he told us. “For the main part he was chief sub editor, taking over when Jim Simpson left to join the Beezer, which I am guessing was around 1965. He was lead writer on many of the strips but had a couple of absolute favourites – “Brassneck”, which was drawn by Bill Holroyd and “Corporal Clott” drawn by Dave Law.

“Albert Barnes was not always an easy man to get on with and I think it fell to Dave to be the peacemaker between the editor and artist on many occasions.

“He was very aware of the Dandy reader who he always said loved a more robust storyline than an average Beano reader. When he took over from Albert as editor in 1982 he tried to bring aboard some new artists like John Geering and David Mostyn while keeping hard and fast to Albert’s comic ideal, not an easy task.

“He left The Dandy to take over The Beezer which was undergoing hard times – as all comic titles were during the 1980s.

“His great friend and colleague was Beano chief sub editor Ian Gray and between them the pair had immense knowledge of comics. They lunched together every day and discussed comics, writers and artists constantly. I joined them occasionally and much of what I know today I learned from listening and quizzing that pair.

“Dave had a fund of stories about Dandy staffs of old and could mimic some of the crustier individuals hilariously. Much of your time spent with the’Tor’ was spent laughing.”

Our thanks to Morris for his recollections of Mr Torrie and our sympathies to his firends and family.

The Courier has posted an obituary for David Torries, covering his entire career as both an editor and writer here

Remembering David Lindsay Torrie: Obituary – Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union

•  The Arbroath Herald also detailed David’s long DC Thomson career and personal interests on his retirement back in April 2006

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a “freelance comics operative”, currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY.

John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor.

He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY.

Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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