Wally (Trog) Fawkes – RIP

Cartoonist and Musician Wally Fawkes [“Trog“] has passed away.

Walter Ernest (Wally) Fawkes [Trog]

June 21, 1924 – March 1, 2023

From Metro (UK):

The political cartoonist and jazz musician Wally Fawkes, who used the pen name Trog, has died at the age of 98.

Fawkes died peacefully on Wednesday following a short illness.

From The Oldie:

TROG – aka Wally Fawkes – was a regular Oldie illustrator, drawing a caricature for the books pages every month between 2001 and 2005 before failing eyesight forced him to retire. Margaret Crick met the veteran political cartoonist, who has sadly just died at 98

Newspaper illustrator, comic strip artist, and political cartoonist Wally Fawkes was also a renowned musician.

From the BBC in 2005 on the occasion of Wally retiring his cartooning career:

In a society increasingly categorised by lists of the Top 10 Greatests, perhaps one day everyone might be the best in the world at something.

It will always, however, take something special to be Number One in two quite separate categories.

Depending who you talk to, Wally Fawkes is either Britain’s greatest living cartoonist or one of its greatest living jazzmen.

But here Wally is famed as a cartoonist and the British Cartoon Archive has the best biography:

Then, in 1942 he was “discovered” in a Coal Commission art competition judged by the Daily Mail’s political cartoonist, Leslie Illingworth. Fawkes had submitted a drawing of a nervous boxer entering the ring. Illingworth got him a job in the Clement Davies advertising agency, and in June 1945, on his twenty-first birthday, found him a job on the Daily Mail, drawing column-breakers and decorative illustrations…

… As Fawkes recalled, Rothermere “thought it would be a splendid idea if we could evolve a cartoon with a similar theme.” Douglas Mount produced some sample scripts for a series provisionally called “Rusty and The Goop”, and Rothermere approved. Fawkes was asked to illustrate it, and “Rufus” – named after the red-headed boy who featured in the strip – was launched on 25 April 1949. After Rufus discovered Flook – a magical creature that at first could only say “flook” – the strip became “Rufus and Flook,” and finally just “Flook.” Initially aimed at children, the Daily Mail even marketed an orange plastic Flook with a squeaker in its base…

Fawkes began contributing political cartoons to the Spectator in 1959, again working with George Melly, “because he knew more about what was going on than I did.” From 1961 to 1964 Fawkes was also an occasional contributor to Private Eye, and in 1962 he began contributing to the New Statesman, where he and Melly pushed the boundaries of cartoons on royalty. Fawkes also began to draw larger political cartoons for the Daily Mail…

And more at the British Cartoon Archive.

Flook ran from April 25, 1949 to 1984 in The Daily Mail and 1984-85 in The Mirror.

From 1951 – 1954 the comic strip ran in U.S. and Canadian papers.

The first week of North American strips introduced Rufus and Flook:

from The Hastings Daily Tribune September 10 – 15, 1951 via newspapers.com

Further reading:

A 2013 Comics Journal interview with Wally Fawkes

The Wally Fawkes Lambiek Comiclopedia entry

Animation Resources presents a complete Rufus and Flook adventure

The Flook by Trog Facebook page posting innumerable Flook comic strips

Punch covers and cartoons and caricatures by Trog