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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Geoff Campion

Looking back over the posts of the last couple of days I noticed that I had forgotten to mention that many of the Australian A.P. magazines had covers by Geoff Campion. Campion is still remembered as one of the leading British adventure artists: to older readers he was one of the best artists to work on Westerns in the newly adventurous comics of the 1950s; younger readers (not so young now) will probably remember his as the artist of 'The Spellbinder' which he drew for Lion in the early 1970s and various strips for Action, Battle and TV Comic which kept him active throughout the later 1970s and 1980s.

This all ties in with looking through some old issues of Knockout because I came across what is possibly Geoff's first ever contribution to comics. In 1948, Amalgamated Press had put an advert into newspapers as they were looking for new artists and, out of the 200 or so replies, they hired two -- Geoff Campion and Reg Bunn. Geoff's earliest strips were actually humour strips, starting with a brief run on a character called 'Professor Bloop', whose comical antics ran in July and August 1948. Geoff was also called upon to fill-in on a couple of strips drawn by Hugh McNeill whilst McNeill was concentrating his talents elsewhere -- not least on the 'Thunderbolt Jaxon' strip which was to begin appearing shortly after in Australia. Geoff was also involved in those titles as their most prolific cover artist (based, I should say, on those covers I've seen) and was almost certainly responsible for many of the strips inside.

Here then are the first two 'Professor Bloop' strips. Not the funniest four-panel frolic ever by any means but interesting nonetheless considering the influence Campion was to have on many of the adventure artists who followed him into comics in the 1950s.

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