In Memoriam: Bill Stirton

Bunty Comics from 1968

Bunty comics from 1968.

We’re sorry to report the passing of Bill Stirton, former head of the artists’ department at DC Thomson, who has died at the age of 94.

As studio manager, Mr Stirton oversaw the inhouse production of artwork for a huge number of DC Thomson titles and also tutored new artists. In 1980, he was particularly impressed with the talents of a young Nigel Parkinson, who these days is best known as the regular artist on “Dennis the Menace” for The Beano.

Born in Birkhill and educated at Muirhead and Logie Central schools, he joined the Territorial Army in 1938 and joined the 237 Highland Field Company, Royal Engineers when World War two began. He was caught up during the retreat at St Valery where he escaped the advancing Germans by plunging into the English Channel and scrambling up a net to board a rescue ship. When the Allies invaded Italy later in the war, he was involved in clearing mines and building bridges.

He joined DC Thomson after the war, and remained with the company for the rest of his life, apart from a brief departure to London in 1956 to work for the art department of the Daily Express. (Homesick, The Courier notes he returned to Dundee and DC Thomson within a year).Comics he worked on included Bunty, launched in 1958 and Judy in 1960, followed by a succession of new titles including Victor, Diana, Hornet, Jackie and Mandy.

Mr Stirton became studio manager in 1974 and led the department when the tools of the trade were a drawing board, set square, ruler, pens, Radiograph, Letraset and pencils.

“There was a lot of pressure because every publication needed work done by the department,” he recalled shortly before his death.”But it all went smoothly and we still had time for a laugh and a bit of fun.”

Although he retired in 1985 he remained active: he was a keen golfer and a member of the Dundee Press Club, and a regular contributor to The Courier’s Craigie column.

Full Obituary in The Courier by Andrew Argo

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: British Comics, Obituaries

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