Friday, May 23, 2008

Mike Western RIP

Only just heard that Mike Western has died, last Tuesday, at the age of 83.

For those who don't know, Mike was one of the last of the old guard, a true great of the British comics industry. A time when we actually had shelves full of weekly adventure/humour comics like; Valiant, Lion, Victor, Buster and Cor!!

He started working in comics back in the 50's, drawing for numerous titles and covering a whole range of stuff, from action to slapstick, but he's perhaps most associated with The Wild Wonders and Darkie's War.

For me, it wasn't until i was doing Albion that i really came to appreciate and see the standout talent the fella had. For part of my research i spent zillions of hours reading/re-reading old English comic and annuals, and was bowled over by the versatility and style of Mike's art, cus, he could do playful, funny stuff, in a lovely fluid, exaggerated style, then you'd have the dark and realistic mood and rendering of his war stories. Whatever he was doing, it was strong and confidant, full of expression and energy, and i learnt a lot from his art, and it partly helped convince me that an artist does NOT have to put his style in stasis; instead, you just draw to suit the subject.

Today, looking at a pile of his strips(and gorgeous painted covers), impressed me all over again, made me sad too, i really miss those comics and seeing work of this calibre.

Do yourself a favour - go read some!


Peter said...

Hi Shane

Thanks for publishing this great appraisal of my Dad's work.

Along with his cheerful and optimistic approach to life, it is the consistent quality of the comics, the drawings and the paintings he produced that I shall best remember him by.

Thanks to people like Steve Holland, Ian Wheeler and yourself for keeping his memory alive - he really appreciated it.

Pete Western

shane oakley said...

Credit where credit is due. It's the least i could do, Peter. Anybody who knows anything about English comics, will surely value and cherish the outstanding work your father produced. Myself, and many contemporary artists stand in his shadow.