In Memoriam: Artist and Designer Roger Perry – A “Truculent Foot Soldier”

Artist, photographer and writer Roger Perry

We’re very sorry to report the passing of artist, designer, photographer and downthetubes contributor Roger Perry, who died on Saturday 23rd July at his home in the Philippines – a day after celebrating his 78th birthday.

His wife Rosa has been in touch to tell us that Roger, who had been ill for some time, was taken to hospital after a cardiac arrest, caused sepsis brought on by an infection in his legs.

Across the years, his credits included work for Eagle, TV Century 21, Countdown and Purnell Books (and more) and in recent years had been a regular contributor to Eagle Times, Steve Holland’s Bear Alley web site (and assisting with research on Steve’s books, particularly Countdown to TV Action).

I never met Roger personally, but we began publishing a number of his articles last year, primarily documenting his work for Eagle and Girl, and charting the life and times of Leonard Matthews, former General Managing Editor of Fleetway and the Eagle Group of Comics – a series not without its controversial claims that we had been discussing earlier this month with a few to further revelations and amendments.

Throughout, he was fastidious in providing feedback on the features published, updating them as new information was uncovered, whilst also working furiously on articles for Steve on Bear Alley, most recently a 20-part series with the umbrella title “Perry’s Picture Post“. Correspondence was often halted by the vagaries of the Internet in the Philippines, but when Roger had the bit between his teeth about some subject or other, he was pretty unstoppable!

I will miss our Internet “chats” as he turned up some long-lost nugget of information during correspondence with a wide range of contacts, including artist David Slinn, whose assistance providing visuals for his articles was invaluable, Brian Woodford, Dan Lloyd, the late Derek Pierson and many others.

Roger Perry in the Girl office in early February 1965. The newspaper headline refers to the Labour government's decision to cancel two jets - a decision that would have grave implications of the British aerospace industry, noted in our coverage of the British Interplanetary Society's Dan Dare themed event earlier this year. A self-portrait with the Rolleiflex sitting on the window sill and using the self-timer!
Roger Perry in the Girl office in early February 1965. The newspaper headline refers to the Labour government’s decision to cancel two jets – a decision that would have grave implications of the British aerospace industry, noted in our coverage of the British Interplanetary Society’s Dan Dare themed event earlier this year. A self-portrait with the Rolleiflex sitting on the window sill and using the self-timer!

Artist, designer, photographer and writer Roger Prölss Perry was the youngest of three children – the given name of Prölss deriving from the maiden name of his paternal German grandmother.

Born in Guildford, Surrey in July 1938, after school he studied at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Art close to Oxford Circus, the West End and the BBC where he achieved the National Diploma in Arts and Design before commencing with a further year of study in commercial design under the guidance of Ley Kenyon DFC, noted for his writing, art and underwater photography, and lithographer Henry Houghton Trivick (1908-1982).

His first job in the media industry was as an in-house illustrator on Farmers’ Weekly, beginning in March 1959, working under the direction of Art Editor Alfred Harwood, working on the seventh floor of Hulton House at 161-167 Fleet Street, London. He was there for just five months before going into two years of National Service until August 1961, returning to the company (now Long Acre Press) as a layout artist (designer) at “Juvenile Publications”, the umbrella name for Eagle, Girl, Swift and Robin. He joined the team of three other layout artists – Bruce Smith, Ron Morley and John Kingsford – on Monday, 28th August 1961 where he remained until May 1966.

He then began work as Art Editor at Century 21 Publishing until June 1969. As he said: “Yes, I suppose I could be described as a ‘layout artist’ but I commissioned art (Art Editor), kept an eye on Andrew Harrison and Bob Reed (Studio Manager), took photographs as and when needed (Resident Photographer) and generally made sure that everything was present and correct when everything needed was being sent to the printer (Office Boy). I also (with the help of Linda Wheway) came up with the ideas and photographs for five books (Author?)”.

From Century 21 Publishing, Perry then went to Hamlyn Books (July 1969 to October 1970); and worked for Bob Prior’s premium packages for two months before joining ex-Art Editor of Century 21 Publishing Dennis Hooper in December 1970 who was now Editor of Countdown at Polystyle Publications.

Perry remained with Polystyle until September 1974, when he became Art Editor for Purnell Books, remaining with the publisher for eleven years – until 1985 when he started operating his own public relations business.

Due to his growing interest in the art and the close proximity of Bath where the nerve centre of the Royal Photographic Society is, he achieved the distinction of Associate Member in 1987 for audio/ visual presentations thus entitling him to display the letters ARPS after his name… although he rarely did.

Roger Perry 2015
Roger Perry in 2015

Having had a life-long fascination for the Far East, he moved to the Philippines in the 1990s, where he married Marilyn Gesmundo. He lived for 11 years on Cataduanes before moving a number of times recently following Typhoon Haiyan, finally with Raquelyn Navarro (Rosa) in the city of Naga in Cebu.

Our sympathies to his family and many friends at this sad time. He was a man who pulled no punches in correspondence and his revealing and spikey articles were, and will remain, a welcome part of the downthetubes archive.

• Roger Perry, born 22nd July 1938, at Mount Alvernia Nursing Home in Guildford, Surrey; died 23rd July 2016 at his home in the Philippines. He is survived by his wife, Rosa, his his daughter, Rae. His son, Marcus, predeceased him after a long battle with cancer

Read Steve Holland’s obituary for Roger Perry here on Bear Alley

• Read Roger’s articles for downthetubes here

Read “Perry’s Picture Post” on Bear Alley

 

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.

%d bloggers like this: