A further selection of artwork by Misty and Tammy comic artist John Armstrong is being sold on eBay by the downthetubes team, on behalf of his estate.
Most of the artworks on offer – some larger pieces on cartridge paper – are work he created during his college days, before he began his long career in book illustration and comic strip work, but reflect his obvious skills as a draughtsman.
Among the items is a Robinson Crusoe artwork measuring roughly 27cm x 38cm on board, that, while undated and unsigned, may have been an illustration considered for inclusion in one of several “classic adventure” books commissioned by British publisher Nelson. John both created the covers and interior art for these titles, which retold the stories such as Robin Hood, The Pilgrim’s Progress and Don Quixote.
John’s daughter, Sue, has a copy of the published book, but this art for sale here isn’t included. The dog is believed to be the family pet, which may have been called Ned.
John Armstrong, who passed in 2018 aged 94, took to drawing at an early age, and started as a commercial artist for a Newcastle advertising agency, eventually taking samples of his work to London and, first drawing comics in the 1950s, initially a ballet story, “The Mystery Ballerina“, for Girl’s Crystal, as well as other work for the title, followed by “Cherry and the Children“, which continued in School Friend.
John is best known for his work in Misty and Tammy, especially for “Bella at the Bar”, the character’s initial stories written by Jenny McDade recently republished by Rebellion, but his work also includes “Moonchild” for Misty, written by Pat Mills and also re-published by Rebellion, and “Grange Hill” for Beeb.
Toward the end of his comics career he worked for DC Thomson, on strips such as “The Secret Gymnast” for Bunty (he worked in colour for the first time since creating some covers for the Girl’s Crystal annuals in the 1950s, on Bunty covers and annuals).
All his work was based on people he knew. Bella, for example, was based on his girlfriend’s niece, so he drew her from life and Bella herself aged in the strip.
Outside of comics, he was known for his love of horses and ice skating, and drew promotional art for local rinks until illness prevented him from drawing on a regular basis.
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. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 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.