Thursday, 28 August 2014

RIP Jim Petrie

"Enjoy this curry, Fatso."
An hour ago I read on the Beano website that Jim Petrie has died. He was one of my favourite artists when I was a kid & his work had a massive influence on my own art work and my sense of humour. Yet weirdly, until I read that sad announcement sixty minutes ago I didn't even know his name.

Despite my woeful ignorance regarding the identity of a man whose work helped mold me into the person I am today, I still often think of his Minnie the Minx strips and laugh. That sounds like the type of insincere twaddle people write about someone who's just died, but it's true. One strip that always makes me laugh whenever I remember it was about Minnie's dad's efforts to get his daughter to have a bath. The strip began with Minnie, covered in muck watching Eastenders on the telly and cheering a growling image of Leslie Grantham on the screen; "Go on, Dirty Den! Be dirtier!"
Found the actual strip by Googling 'Beano 1988'! Living in the future is great.

Petrie also drew a series of film/book parodies starring a Minnie supporting character, Fattie Fudge. These strips (written by Craig Ferguson) involved Fudge's attempts to gorge himself on food while playing the role of the protagonist of whichever film or book was being parodied. To this day I can't hear the famous Macbeth line "Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble" without mentally finishing the line with "MacBroth drinks it at the double!" while picturing a bekilted Fudge gleefully downing a witches cauldron of broth.

The Fat-Tum of the Opera

Whenever I draw cartoons I still unconsciously (and unsuccessfully) try and emulate Petrie's' s style. His Minnie would often leap into the air, legs akimbo, stretching her beret above her head in triumph. It's a pose that I find cropping up in my work a lot, but of course it never looks as good. Petrie also had a fantastic way of drawing spindly fingers and knobbly noses, and I'll often find myself trying to give my characters similar features.

It's a real shame that it never occurred to me to find out the identity of the man responsible for these cherished memories. My ignorance not withstanding, Jim Petrie was a true comic book legend. My condolences to his friends and family. A proper obituary can be found here and Lew Stringer (another favourite artist of mine) has a number of examples of Petrie' s work on his blog.

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