The London-based Illustration Art Gallery, publishers of the fantastic Illustrators magazine (Issue 19 is out now) have, this month, branched out into some very reasonably priced humour comic artwork by longtime British comics artist Sid Burgon, including a complete two-page “Ivor Lott and Tony Broke” strip from Buster.
If memory serves, Pat Mills once told me one of his first jobs at IPC was writing this strip – I’m sure he will be quick to correct me if I’m wrong. I do recall him saying how much he hated writing such humour strips, because they were so old-fashioned.
Sidney William Burgon (better known as Sid Burgon, or “Swab“) was born in Berwick-on-Tweed, Northumberland on 3rd October 1936. Taught to draw by his mother, he left school at 14 and worked as a mechanic for 13 years, drawing as a hobby and taking night classes in art, until his co-workers at the garage encouraged him to follow his talents.
After selling some cartoons, signed “SWAB”, to The Weekly News, he quit the day job and became a full-time freelance cartoonist in 1963, working for various newspapers and magazines. He won the Society of Strip Illustrators award for Best Artist in 1982.
He started drawing comics in 1970, drawing “Hot Rod” for Whizzer and Chips, then “Joker” for Knockout.
Available now from the Illustration Art Gallery is an example of “Ivor Lott and Tony Broke“, pen and ink art published in Buster comic in the issue cover dated 17th October 1987.
Also up for sale is an episode of “Roys Toys“, which appeared in the same issue; and another for the issue cover dated 31st December 1988.
Two signed episodes of “School Funds” which appeared in Buster, cover dated 25th June 1988, and 27th August 1988, are also on offer.
Other strips Sid drew at IPC include “The Invisible Monster” for Monster Fun, “Adam and his Ants” for Wow!, “Bookworm” and “Lolly Pop” for Whoopee!, “The Toffs and the Toughs” in Whizzer and Chips, “Milly O’Nare and Penny Less” for Jackpot (anyone detecting a theme?) and “Hit Kid” in Krazy.
He was recruited by DC Thomson in 1989, but he insisted that he still be allowed to work for IPC. Strips he drew for DC Thomson included “Biffo the Bear” in The Beano, “Adrian the Barbarian” for The Beezer, and “Bully Beef and Chips” and “Keyhole Kate” for The Dandy.
For nearly 20 years he also entertained readers of The Berwick Advertiser with his wonderful Christmas issue cartoon on a local theme. Like all his work it was outstanding.
When his eyesight deteriorated, he retired 2012 aged 75, after drawing for 30 years, his final work appearing in Kirk News, the church magazine of Berwick St Andrew’s Wallace Green, which he’d been drawing for over the same period.
“I’d always been good at art at school and loved reading comics – in fact I still do,” Sid told the Berwick Advertiser on his retirement, “and thought a job as a cartoonist sounded fantastic.
“I got my first cartoon in ‘The Weekly News’ in 1963 and got paid two guineas, and after that the work just took off with regular contributions to comics like ‘The Dandy’ and ‘The Beano’.
“It was a marvellous job really,” he admitted. “It just seemed to come quite naturally to me and I always seemed to be able to come up with something for the cartoons.”