London’s Cartoon Museum will be celebrating the 65th anniversary of Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp in August, with a talk delving into the history of the long-running strip, still published today in the Daily Mirror, and syndicated worldwide.
Taking place on Thursday 4th August, Helene Elysee, Reg Smythe’s niece, current co-writer Sean Garnett, co-writer and artist Lawrence Goldsmith, and Fergus McKenna, the Content Sales Director of Reach PLC, will discuss the history of the strip, and you’ll have the opportunity to view some original art, too.
Andy Capp is a quick witted, sharp tongued character, treasured as a loveable rogue by his many fans across the globe, who, down the years, has, thankfully, given the content of some early cartoons, evolved to match the ever-changing society around him.
Created for the Daily Mirror, Andy Capp first appeared in the paper on 5th August 1957. Reg Smythe wrote, drew, inked and lettered every gag and picture for the 18,000 strips he created over the next four decades.
The strip has been syndicated in at least 50 countries and still appears in some hundreds of newspapers worldwide, his adventures at one time collected regularly in the UK, starting in 1958, at a rate of two albums a year, for several years. He’s also been the star of stage and screen, with James Bolam playing him on TV in a short-lived TV series.
Titan Comics published Andy Capp: 60 Years of Thinking About the Big Issues in 2017, a collection of strips celebrating the strip’s 60th anniversary, by Roger Mahoney, Lawrence Goldsmith and Sean Garnett.
Helene Elysee is the author of My Dancing Bear (published by Elysee Associates, as Hélène de Klerk, in 2015), a biography of the cartoonist. A former journalist, she was very close to Reg, and has a wealth of fascinating stories about the man behind the cartoon, some featured in this Mirror article, published back in May 2017.
The current artist and co-writer of Andy Capp, Lawrence Goldsmith, will talk about his long career as a newspaper artist and how he came to work on the strip. Sean Garnett, who co-writes Andy Capp, is hugely respected journalist and writer in his own right, too.
Fergus McKenna is the Content Sales Director of Reach PLC, in charge of the worldwide syndication and licensing of the Andy Capp brand, and other Mirror and Express strips, too, such as Garth, and his appearance offers a rare opportunity to find out more about this vital aspect of any newspaper strip’s long lasting success.
This event will be a great opportunity to discover the story of Reg Smythe’s life and his huge success, and find out how the strip has remained so popular to this day.
• Talk – Celebrate the 65th Anniversary of Reg Smythe’s Andy Capp 6.30 – 8.00pm Thursday 4th August 2022! The Cartoon Museum, 55 Wells St England, W1W 8HJ | Tickets cost £10 and can be booked here
This is the story of Reg Smythe, creator of the world famous Andy Capp cartoon by his niece and former journalist Hélène de Klerk. Reg was the first British cartoonist to break into the American market and the first one to offer what journalist Paul Slade called “brutal kitchen sink realism”.
The story charts his impoverished childhood and formative relationships through to international recognition and his last years as a semi recluse in the North of England.
The memoir gives an insight into the man behind the cartoon, linking childhood and adult experiences to the development of the cartoon’s characters, describing how he worked and what fame meant to him often in his own words, and featuring his early work and many never before seen cartoons.
James Bolam brought the loveable Northern layabout to life in this Thames TV produced sitcom. With Bolam in the title role, fag and all, the series also brings to life Flo, Andy’s long-suffering wife (played by Emmerdale’s Paula Tilbrook), Jack the landlord, Percy the rent collector, and the rest of the gang from the pages of the Daily Mirror.
The show was written by Leeds-born novelist, playwright and journalist Keith Waterhouse, creator of classic characters Budgie and Billy Liar the series was directed by BAFTA winner John Howard Davies (Fawlty Towers, Mr. Bean).
• Cigarettes and Alcohol: Andy Capp By Paul Slade
An extensive feature on the character. Reg Smythe was the greatest British newspaper strip cartoonist of the 20th Century – and second only to Peanuts’ Charles Schulz on a global scale. So why don’t we treat him that way, Paul asks?
Andy Capp copyright Daily Mirror. With thanks to Richard Sheaf