As we reported earlier this week, veteran comic artist Colin Andrew recently passed. Here, Syd Jordan pays tribute to this unsung artisan of British comics (and much more)…
|An episode of Jeff Hawke: Overlord. Jeff Hawke © Daily Express|
In the Eastern Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium, filled to overflowing with family and friends, Colin Andrew’s simple “green” coffin rested on the venerable catafalque, its top and sides bedecked with drawings and written valedictions.
Between my first meeting with Colin and this moment, lay the gulf of sixty-two years. But the inner heart remembers. The 18th century turreted building in Dundee with a spiral staircase up to a little two-roomed studio, and the young darkly handsome visitor with a sheaf of drawings, an already evident talent and a dream…
A few years later and he, Willie Patterson and myself had been christened “The Scottish Mafia” by the Express strip department. A nickname which Colin’s acerbic approach to authority did little to mollify! His was a quite staggering artistic grasp of form and texture, and his ability to create convincing scenarios without any reference was to amaze and intrigue his clients, from the world of comics to that of the advertising media.
When I asked Colin to stand in for me while I worked on a possible Jeff Hawke weekly, what I got was a fabulous set of “wall-to-wall” drawings with effortless dramatic lighting and wonderful character images of the aliens.
The literary quality of Scottish education is something I shared with both Willie and Colin and the scholarly side to Colin’s nature was well served by that.
A heartfelt reading of Robert Burns’ “A Man’s a Man for a’ that” and the closing music of Paul Robeson’s “Going Home” linked his political beliefs to those of two others who dreamt of harmony among men. Modest, caring and honourable in his dealings, the tenor of his life was reflected in the range of people who came to mark his passing, good kindly folk whose grief was tempered by a sense of privilege at having been part of that life.
Good night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
You’d know where that’s from, Colin.