Born Celt of Austro-Scottish blood, cartoonist Brick – aka writer and editor John Stuart Clark – drew first breath in 1949 in Berne, Switzerland. Dragged round air force bases in Far East and Europe, he reveals he was eventually deposited in “Posh School, Rochester”, England.
Nine years later deemed red-brick failure and consigned to military, church or industry. Instead, he made a break for art college, purportedly to learn Fine Art but made films instead.
Graduating with honours, he was consigned to lecturing – so made a second break for it, taking on jobs including cabbie, bouncer, roadie, scrapman “and dosser”, he says, until drew first cartoon sold to Farmer’s Weekly while a tarmac labourer.
Cartooning, Brick has discovered, can pay more than the other jobs he’s experienced down the years, but there’s one drawback – the pay days are less. Despite this, he invested in an electric pencil sharpener in 1978 (“because Chuck Jones used one”), hung up the tarmac rake the following year, and became a full-time scribbler, when Margaret Thatcher ascended throne. The rest is a round of newspapers, books, magazines and more.
In 2015, Brick became Honorary Associate Professor of English at the UK’s University of Nottingham and was nominated for two of the USA’s Eisner Awards for the World War One anthology To End All Wars, for Best Comics Anthology and Best Reality-Based Work. He’s the author of several short form comics and the graphic novel Depresso, an autobiography of his struggle with depression.
Now semi-retired, he’s recently been circulating scurrilous poke in the eye “Reality Check” cartoons in the style of David Low and Giles out into the internet, all of which can be found on his official web site, along with plenty of examples of his work. (Brick’s influences are actually often European, but this current work is definitely more British in tone).
Along with his travel writing, to satisfy childhood desire to become a lumber jack, he also currently works as a volunteer ranger at Sherwood Forest one day a week. With many current cartoons robbing the rich of their dignity, this seems rather an apt place to be working!