Romeo - cover dated 12th September 1970 SNIP

British Girls Comics “Mystery Artists” Identified!

Several “Mystery Artists” who worked on DC Thomson girls comics for decades, largely uncredited, have been identified, thanks to information received from various sources, including former staff at the Dundee-based comics publisher.

Author and artist David Roach is trying to identify the artists of a number of DC Thomson strips – a quest that in some cases he has been researching for many years, but is suddenly bearing fruit.

IDENTIFIED: TONY HUDSON

Romeo - cover dated 12th September 1970
Romeo – cover dated 12th September 1970

Among the artists he sought to identify was one who signed his work only as “Tony”, his signature something of a rarity in itself. Thanks to former Commando editor Calum Laird, one of his contacts has revealed the artist in question was Tony Hudson, “a new name to me certainly,” says a delighted David, “but a prolific artist across many DC Thomson titles.

“Tony was a regular Romeo cover and interior artist throughout the late 1960s/early 70s and elsewhere his work appeared in Star Love (1970-74), Diana (1970, 1971, 1974, 1975 and some later annuals), Jackie (1969-mid 1970s, at least), Debbie (1975-78), and Blue Jeans (1977).

“At least, those are the periods that I know about – I certainly don’t have everything Thomson published. That’s quite a productive decade or so… where is he now, I wonder?”

IDENTIFIED: CLAUDE BERRIDGE

"Reach for the Stars" from Nikki #1, 1985. Again, who drew it?
“Reach for the Stars” from Nikki #1, 1985. Again, who drew it?

Also identified thanks to another tip off, from ace comic detective Chris Wahl, we now know that a mystery artist who worked for Nikki is Claude Berridge, on strips such as “Reach for the Stars” – but he was very busy elsewhere, too.

“I know of work for these titles,” notes David. “For Mandy, his main venue (1968 – 96), Diana (1963, 1964) and Judy (1988, 1989), but chances are there’s earlier work I’ve not properly identified.”

IDENTIFIED: HERNAN ANTONIO TORRE REPISO

1980s New Art Argentina Catalogue
Checking back through this 1980s New Art Argentina Catalogue led to identifying another Mystery Artist

David’s own researches have also led to identifying an artist for Spellbound, whose strips included “Revenge of the Black Swan” in Issue 16, published in 1977, and “Hetty in the House of Secrets“.

“A few days ago, during my quest for artists names, the legendary Quique Alcatena mentioned that he worked for the UK through Cesar Spadari, who in turn connected with the agent Luis Llorente in the UK.

“That sparked off my memory and I remembered that Luis had sent me a thick artists listing from around 1980, put together by New Art Argentina – whose director was Cesar Spadari – and it includes artists samples and Argentinian strips, None of which were actually sold to the UK as far as I can tell, aimed at British editors.

Art by Horace Lalia in the New Art Argentina Catalogue
Art by Horace Lalia in the New Art Argentina Catalogue

“It’s an impressive roster of artists many of whom I know worked for the UK, occasionally for IPC, but mostly for DC Thomson. Among the artists mentioned I know the following definitely drew for the UK – Enrique Alcatena, D’Aderrio, Alfredo Alejandro Falugi, Khato, Horace Lalia, Lucho Olivera, Clemente Rezzonico, Alberto Saichann, Alberto Salinas, Spadari, Leandro Sesarego and Anibal Rodrigues Uzál.

“It’s possible that some of the other names mentioned also worked over here (some are ‘funnies’ artists) so perhaps we will find out more over time.”

Re-reading through the catalogue led David back online to see if any of its more obscure artists had worked for UK publishers. While he’s had no luck so far, one of the websites he looked at included some art by Hernan Antonio Torre Repiso, a name David knew from his occasional work for Charlton and DC Comics.

“Repiso had lots of different styles, but a 1970s sample looked very much like the ‘Black Swan’ artist,” David reveals, “and his strip for Unexpected #202 was a dead ringer.

Argentinian artist Hernan Antonio Torre Repiso has now been identified as the artist who drew "Revenge of the Black Swan" in Spellbound Issue 16, published in 1977
Argentinian artist Hernan Antonio Torre Repiso has now been identified as the artist who drew “Revenge of the Black Swan” in Spellbound Issue 16, published in 1977

“A couple of biographies mentioned that he’d worked for Fleetway (surely IPC, in fact) and DC Thomson, so I’m sure he’s our man.”

So far David has identified Torre Repiso as the artist on several serials and short strips for Spellbound in 1977 and “Danger for Rozelle” in Debbie in 1978 – a strip possibly originally intended for Spellbound.

“I’ve no idea what his IPC strips might have been, but I’ll keep a look out,” says David. “I’ve looked at hs work for some 30 years now and always felt, somehow he was Argentinian, but had to wait a long time to have it confirmed… at last!”

Three more down, then – but more to go – can you help?

The New Art Argentina Catalogue has also helped David identify another possible British Girls Comics artists as Andres Klacik – “later a Neal Adams assistant I believe, but at this stage one of many artists looking for work in the UK.

“His bold inking style in the samples instantly reminded me of another anonymous DC Thomson girls artist, who drew ‘Della Must Die‘ for Debbie in 1979.”

Could Andres Klacik be another new name in British comics? Here's what is believed to be an example of his work, "Della Must Die", from a 1979 issue of Debbie
Could Andres Klacik be another new name in British comics? Here’s what is believed to be an example of his work, “Della Must Die”, from a 1979 issue of Debbie

• David Roach‘s quest to identify several other artists on many DC Thomson girls comics continues, and you can read about his current quest here on downthetubes – please do comment there if you can help!

• There is a terrific blog – milpluminesargentinos – about Argentinian comic creators – note that it’s in Spanish

• Author Peter Mennigen has been working with New Art Argentina director Cesar Spadari since the late 1970s over several decades. Together, they made a lot of comics for the “Bastei” publishing house in Germany. “Cesar is not only a very, very good comic artist, but also an incredibly nice person,” says Peter. “About five weeks ago, I posted a small article about him and my collaboration with him and artists from his studio on Facebook“.

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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