The death of Dundee-based comic artist and painter Brian Delaney was announced last October, a creator whose many credits included work for DC Thomson’s Jackie magazine, some Diana annuals, Buddy and Mandy, IPC’s Misty, School Fun, and more, but it’s taken me a while, unfortunately, to assemble some of his work in tribute.
Dundee’s The Courier carried a tribute to the artist, who was 82, who sadly fell victim to Alzheimer’s.
Brian studied art under Alberto Morrocco, head of the school of painting, at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, and began working for DC Thomson in 1961.
“Dad also like to remind us that he paved the way for the Tavern Bar in Hawkhill becoming something of an art school institution in the 1960s and 1970s, his son, Evan, noted. “His sister Marlene was married to Bert McIntosh, the landlord.”
His credits for DC Thomson included strips for Buddy, Diana, Mandy, Patches, Romeo and TOPS (later, TV TOPS) – and he worked on many strips for rival publisher Fleetway, too
Although best known for his girls comics work, his skill as an artist crossed different styles. When DC Thomson artist Dudley D Watkins passed away in 1969, Brian was mooted as his replacement to be entrusted with drawing “Oor Wullie” and “The Broons”, but was considered too valuable by his department and remained in position.
When Jackie magazine was at the height of its popularity, Brian illustrated its celebrity stories, his strength being in recreating likenesses, seen also in his work for the “Super Personality Series” for Buddy, where he also drew “Tom Smith’s Schooldays”.
Rebellion republished one of the Misty strips he drew, “The Four Faces of Eve”, published in 1978, written by Malcolm Shaw, in their first Misty collection, Moonchild & The Four Faces of Eve, released in 2016.
Another popular, but short-lived strip drawn by Brian was “Grange Hill Juniors”, for School Fun, a prequel to the popular BBC TV series created by Phil Redmond, with the characters in their junior school days. Published in 1983 until 1984, School Fun ran for just 33 issues before merging with Buster, and the strip didn’t continue there.
(Brian had previously drawn the “Grange Hill” strip for the extremely short-lived Grange Hill Magazine, published by IPC in 1980, which lasted just two issues).
Likenesses his strong point, it’s no surprise he was commissioned to draw “The Professionals” for DC Thomson’s TOPS comic (later, TV TOPS), published from 1981 to 1984 before merging with Suzy. “The Professionals” initially ran as complete stories but, later, multi-parters.
One of his final strips was a Swedish version of Alfred Andriola’s superhero character, Kerry Drake, who featured in Seriemagasinet, published by Semic Press, starting work on stories in 1986, and continuing to contribute art until 1994.
He would go on to become an accomplished painter, using his time to create many original works, as well as reproductions of a wide range of art he admired, from Monet to Norman Rockwell – until, sadly, Alzheimer’s gradually took hold, and his intellect and abilities were gradually stolen away.
“He loved to work,” his son, Lee, told The Courier, “and when we lived in Baxter Park Terrace, as we were young children, he worked the night shift, taking his seat in the lounge, sleeping by day.
“It was not uncommon for him to put in a 14-hour shift to meet a deadline.”
Brian is survived by his wife, Sandra, sons Lee and Evan, grandchildren Calum, Madeline and Matthew.