Charlie “Chas” Grigg was a cartoonist who drew Desperate Dan, Korky the Cat and many other characters for the DC Thomson’s comics – Dandy, Beano, Topper and Judy, from the 1960s to 1980s. Now a new book about his life and work has just been published – and his family are dedicating half the proceeds The Alzheimer’s Society and Dudley-based dementia support group, Me, Myself & I.
His much-admired work will also be celebrated at a special event at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival next year.
A combination of over three years collaboration between author Dr Billy Dakin and the Grigg family to present the life and work of Charlie Grigg – the Black Country’s best kept secret, who was always modest about his work and did not realise how influential or how loved his work was. He died in 2013, aged 97, a victim of Alzheimer’s.
As we noted in our 2017 news item noting the unveiling of a special plaque to the artist, Grigg, drew the Dandy front cover “Korky” strip for over 20 years. In addition to his comic work, he also drew nearly 200 saucy seaside postcards signed ‘CHAS’ for Bamforths.
“Also, as he came from a very poor background, I want this book to inspire children. If they have a dream then follow it. If they work hard enough then they will make that happen.”
Introduced by Dr Terry Daniels, The Life of Charlie “Chas” Grigg is the story of the Black Country’s best kept secret whose work at one point was being seen by over two million people per week. The 160-page book spans his early career, his work for DC Thomson, his other works and more, and in a detailed review on his Blimey! blog, fellow comic artist Lew Stringer describes the book as a “marvellous surprise that would make an ideal present” for Christmas.
“Charlie Grigg was the first artist that made an impression on me when I saw his Korky cover on the first Dandy I had in 1964,” says Lew. “I was captivated by it right away, and seeing what Korky got up to next was a highpoint of my week when I was five years old. I still enjoy looking back at his work now I’m a 60 years old.”
Fifty per cent of the book’s proceeds will go to charity. The Dudley Me, Myself & I group enables the carer of a dementia sufferer to find a life outside their caring role, while still maintaining a life of their own alongside their caring responsibilities. Also benefitting will be the Alzheimer’s Society, a charity on hand for anyone affected by dementia – wherever they are, whatever they’re going through.
The life and work of Charlie Grigg will be celebrated at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival in February 2020, at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery on Saturday 1st February.
At the event, titled “Boy with the Magic Pen”, biographer Brian Dakin, along with Tom Stanton, Alex Vann and John Langford, will share a medley of readings, music and performances all about Charlie.
• The Life of Charlie “Chas” Grigg is available here for just £10 plus postage: charliegrigg.com and the Black Country T-Shirts site here. It’s also available from the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley
• The life and work of Charlie Grigg will be celebrated at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival in February 2020 – event details here
• Charles Grigg Obituary (Daily Telegraph – site registration required)