Happy Birthday, Oor Wullie!

He is Scotland’s most famous son, a dungaree-wearing, spiky-haired scamp who has sown mischief in Auchenshuggle for 70 years — and first appeared in the Sunday Post on 8th March 1936.

Oor Wullie, who celebrates being “nine years auld” today was created by Dudley D Watkins who also illustrated The Broons, Korky Cat and Desperate Dan. Born in 1907, Dudley moved to Scotland in 1925 and started to work for publisher D.C. Thompson for a trial period of six months, and remained at this publisher until his death in 1969.

It was recently revealed that Wullie himself is based on Ron Low, the son of RD Low, former editor of the Sunday Post.

Staff at the DC Thomson headquarters in Dundee were struggling for inspiration for a new character when eight-year-old Ron, dressed in dungarees, strode into the office clutching a bucket of potatoes.

Watkins immediately set about sketching him sitting on the upturned bucket. The iconic image, drawn in 1935, defined the character who has remained unchanged ever since.

The early years clearly place Wullie and The Broons in Glasgow with a few mentions of Glasgow (or Glesca) appearing in the strips. Also, from May to October 1938, the characters made frequent visits to the Empire Exhibition which was held in Bellhouston Park, Glasgow.

Odd Facts about Wullie…
• In the early years Wullie had a wee brother but he mysteriously dissapeared never to appear again.
• In September 2005 the first Oor Wullie annual from 1940 sold at auction for £4,015. Only five copies are known to exist.
• A survey conducted in 2004 named Oor Wullie as Scotland’s Top Icon beating William Wallace and Sir Sean Connery into second and third place.
• He may be 70 but he’s still young enough to be on MySpace

Categories: British Comics - Current British Publishers

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