Comic artist Peter Ford may not be a name many fans of British comics may recognise today, but for those of us who grew up in the 1960s and early 1970s, his work remains memorable.
His credits included humour strips such as “The Munsters” and “Bewitched” strips for the TV Century 21 and Lady Penelope annuals respectively, later episodes of “Perils of Parker” for Lady Penelope comic (initially drawn by Gerry Embleton), the wonderful “Super Mousse” advertising strip for Countdown, and “Dad’s Army” and “Autocat and Motormouse” for TV Action.
He also drew episodes of “Cathy Thompson” for Penelope, the later incarnation of Lady Penelope comic, but I don’t have copies of the relevant issues to know the style he used on those.
However, earlier in his career he drew in a more realistic style, with credits spanning work for DC Thomson’s Commando, as well as illustrating at least some of Hornet‘s “Spotlight On…” features.
“He was a great bloke, really friendly,” recalls designer and editor John Egglesfield, who worked with Peter on Zambia’s Orbit comic magazine, drawing numerous items in the early 1970s, which was produced in London.
Those who remember him recall Peter was a powerful, stocky man, of Maori heritage, who grew up in Poplar, London. In addition to his comics career, he was both a judo and school teacher, the latter work including a placing at Daneford Secondary Modern, based in Gosset Street, East London. He later moved from London to live in Southend-on-Sea with his family.
Sadly, along with his strips for Countdown, his work on Orbit was among his last, as he died suddenly, of a heart attack, on 8th October 1974.
Fellow artist Gerry Embleton, who shared a studio with Peter, recalled him as “a very dear friend of mine when I was in my very early twenties,” memories posted by Matt Emery, editor of the excellent Pikitia Press blog, on a thread about Peter on the RootsChat forum.
“He was a wonderful character, he sang in amateur opera, played the guitar, was a talented cartoonist and comic strip artist, a paratroop instructor, a judo third Dan and ran a school, and was a school teacher. These separate worlds rarely had contact with each other and when he died representatives of his different interests gathered at his funeral and were amazed to discover how wide his interests were.
“He was quite a formidable character having a Polynesian anatomy, very big and powerful, a fierce warrior look when angry and a huge white toothed smile.”
“I was a fellow judoka and coach around the Poplar and Stepney area when Peter was teaching judo at the St. Paul’s Way School,” Roy Burgess recalls of ahis fellow British Judo Council member. “We went to several judo tournaments abroad together and it was a great shock when he died suddenly… I am not positive, but I believe that he was 42 at the time.”
His passing was marked on 15th February 1975 with a Martial Arts Tournament in his memory organised by Roy, the proceeds of which were donated to Peter’s wife, Lily and her family.
For anyone who remembers “Supermousse” and Peter’s other works, I hope this tribute is a worthy, if small attempt to honour his memory and collate what is known about him for today’s comics community.
If you recall more of Peter’s work as an artist, please do let us know.
• Peter Ford, died 8th October 1974, survived by his wife Lily and daughters Kim, Jane and Jo
With thanks to Norman Boyd, John Egglesfield, Matt Emery, Peter Gray, Steve Holland, Phil Rushton, Lew Stringer, Shaqui le Vesconte and others who have documented Peter’s comics career