Friday, May 23, 2008

Mike Western RIP

Only just heard that Mike Western has died, last week, 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, including stand out runs on 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 abundant talent the fella had. Part of my research was spent reading/re-reading 60's and 70's weeklies and annuals.
...and I fell madly in love with his art.
He could do playful, funny stuff, in a lovely fluid, exaggerated style, then you'd have the rich and realistic mood and rendering of his war stories. Whatever he was doing, it was strong, confidant and full of energy.
I learnt a lot from his art, and it partly helped cement my belief that an artist does NOT have to put his style in stasis: instead, you just draw to suit the subject. Change the flavour.

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


Pete Western 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.