Veteran British comic artist John Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson

In Praise of… Comic Artist John Gillatt

Veteran British comic artist Joh Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, January 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson
Veteran British comic artist John Gillatt with writer and editor Barrie Tomlinson, February 2014. Photo courtesy Barrie Tomlinson

Comics editor and writer Barrie Tomlinson kindly sent us this photograph of himself with veteran artist John Gillatt at his home in Peterborough this weekend.

A page of "Jet Ace Logan" drawn by John Gillattt hat featured  in Tiger, cover dated  2nd April 1960.
A page of “Jet Ace Logan” drawn by John Gillattt hat featured in Tiger, cover dated 2nd April 1960.

John’s credits in British comics span decades, including work on “Jet Ace Logan”, “Johnny Cougar”, “Dan Dare” (for New Eagle, which Barrie edited) and, perhaps most famously, the opening episodes of “Billy’s Boots” for Scorcher. (A strip that went on to further success in Holland where Billy Dane was transplanted to the continent and, unlike his British incarnation, grew up to become a talented football star in his own right, as Lew Stringer recounted on Blimey! It’s Another Blog About Comics back in 2010 – a version kick started with some deft new art by John).

Spot illustrations for "The Hand in the Sky", a text story for Tiger (2nd October 1965).
Spot illustrations for “The Hand in the Sky”, a text story for Tiger (2nd October 1965).

Gillatt first drew “Jet-Ace Logan” for Comet and later Tiger in the late 1950s. In 1989 he took on the daily ‘Scorer’ comic written by Barrie for The Mirror newspaper, along with artist David Pugh.

A page of "Billy's Boots" by John Gillatt  from Lion and Tiger, 28th September 1985.
A page of “Billy’s Boots” by John Gillatt from Lion and Tiger, 28th September 1985.

“It was an enormous pleasure to see John again, after quite a few years,” Barrie told us. “I’ve always said that John’s artwork on such classics as Billy’s Boots, Jet-Ace Logan, Johnny Cougar, Scorer and a host of other characters was just about unbeatable.

“Following a stroke, John is unable to do strip work but he is now busy learning computing skills,” Barrie reveals.

“It was an honour to have my Daily Mirror “Scorer” scripts illustrated by John. He always made each picture so realistic.
And on top of all his drawing skills, he is the perfect gentleman.”

John Gillatt – Illustration Art Gallery Archive

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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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