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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Colin Andrew (1933-2013)

News has just reached me that Colin Andrew died at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead,  last week.

Colin Andrew has had a long and varied career in comics and as an illustrator and book cover artist, yet remains one of the lesser-known names in the field despite some high profile work.

Born and raised in Dundee, Andrew found work as a junior in Bill McCail's Mallard Features studio in Glasgow. His first published work was a cartoon in Lilliput magazine, and his first strip was for a local paper. For the latter he dreamed up the storylines and drew layouts for a story of anthropomorphic trains, in the spirit of Thomas the Tank Engine. After his national service, he moved to London and joined the King-Ganteaume studio, working mostly Westerns and historical strips for Pancho Villa, Rocky Mountain King, TV Heroes and other Len Miller titles. When the King-Ganteaume partnership split, Andrew continued to work for Kenneth King, contributing to Lone Star and Space Ace.

In the late 1950s, Andrew was drawing a great deal for Zip and Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse, notably the "Captain Morgan" strip in Zip. In 1960 he assisted Syd Jordan, another McCail studio alumni, on Jordan's Daily Express strip "Jeff Hawke". The strips were written by Willie Patterson, with whom Andrew collaborated on two newspaper strips in Lord Beaverbrook's Glasgow Daily Herald, both factual strips, one a history of the world cup, the other on famous football players.


His favourite strip was also penned by Patterson, "What Is Exhibit X" in Boys' World, starring John Brody, a scientific investigator for the Daily Newsflash. The strip was subsequently taken over by other creators and Andrew found himself drawing "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" in Buster as well as features for Boys' World, Eagle, Lion and Tiger over the next few years. He and his wife also taught in China in the mid-1960s.

He returned to strip work drawing "Tomorrow West" in Solo, followed by stints on "Fireball XL5" and "Stingray" in TV Century 21 and "Alias Smith and Jones" for TV Action. He also drew for both

Since the 1970s his output in comics has been limited as he has concentrated on illustration (including work for both World of Wonder and Look and Learn) and book covers; in particular he supplied New English Library with many quickly executed covers in the 1970s. He has also worked in advertising and for an advertising studio where he storyboarded television commercials; his work in the latter field included storyboarding the government's sell-off of PoweGen. In the 1980s he also drew editorial cartoons for the Camden New Journal for three years.

Andrew returned to comics in the 1990s via his friend Syd Jordan, who suggested he submit samples to Fleetway and Marvel UK. After some 18 months he was contacted by the latter, and worked irregularly on episodes of "Dr. Who" strips in Doctor Who Magazine.

Andrew, who lived in Camden Town, is survived by his wife, Janet (nee Quesnel, whom he married in 1962), and their two daughters, Catriona and Shona.

(* The photograph is taken from the Camden New Journal website, copyright unstated; 'What Is Exhibit X?' © IPC Media.)

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