We’re sorry to report the passing of The Beano and Topper artist, John Forsyth Dallas, who died peacefully at home earlier this month, aged 83.
Dundee newspaper The Courier notes in a tribute that he was the artist responsible for drawing “Beryl the Peril” for 16 years, taking over from David Law in 1970, who created the character for The Topper comic.
John joined DC Thomson as a studio artist in December 1963, illustrating The People’s Friend as J Campbell Kerr, and ghosting the styles of other artists in the firm.
His working life was spent mainly in DC Thomson’s headquarters at Meadowside in Dundee, although he did have a spell of home working in the 1970s and 1980s.
Between 1989, until he retired in 2003, John was the artistic custodian of “Ball Boy”, succeeding Malcolm (“Mal”) Judge, the loveable but not overly skilled football character in The Beano.
He was also one of the artists for “The Numskulls”, about tiny people living inside a head, each working in their own department, for both The Beezer and early issues of Beezer and Topper, another strip he took over from the strip’s creator, Malcolm Judge, after his death in 1989. The strip continues to this day in BEANO.
His credits as artist also include “Tricky Dicky”, from 1979 to 1986, who became The Topper’s cover star, succeeding “Danny’s Tranny” and preceding “Beryl the Peril”.
Other known credits include “Billy Whizz”, “Chip the Stone Age Boy“, and “Lord Snooty” for The Beano; “Saucy Sue” and “The Badd Lads” for The Beezer; “Joe Soap” for Cracker; “Dinah Mo” for The Dandy (one of several artists, including Nigel Parkinson, who drew the revived strip in the 1970s, first created by Leo Baxendale back in 1957 as “Dinah Mite”, becoming a strip drawn by Ron Spencer in the early 1970s); “Tony Jackpot” for Plug; and “Souper Boy” and “Lumbering Jack” (a strip that featured a Victorian Bobby brought into modern times to deal with unruly kids), for The Topper.
His daughters told The Courier that his work was really his hobby and he loved to do portraits and caricatures for family and friends. His spare time was in the main spent with family, including his four grandchildren, Andrew, Cameron, Rebecca and Morven.
Because John, like other talented artists, was called on to “ghost” for others, there are probably many more characters he drew across several decades (including, perhaps, such gems as a 1975 cover for Sparky, No. 542, featuring TV’s “The Goodies”). But he was a much-appreciated talent in his own right, and his work is admired to this day.
Our sympathies to family and friends at this time.
John F. Dallas, died on 7 January 2022, survived by his wife, Jean, children Jean and Fiona
Donations in John’s memory, may be made to Marie Curie and Alzheimer Scotland