Tony Husband – RIP

British cartoonist Tony Husband has passed away.

William Anthony (Tony) Husband

August 28, 1950 – October 18, 2023

Tony’s son Paul broke the news (X/Twitter and Facebook):

I hate to post this because I know how many of you are going to be affected by it.

Yesterday my Dad, Tony Husband, passed away as he was on his way to a Private Eye leaving party on a Thames barge. Something that meant a hell of a lot to him.

He had a heart attack on Westminster Bridge.

It’s somewhat ironic that he somehow managed to survive 30 years of Private Eye parties but the one he didn’t make…

I don’t know what more I can say other than he was everything to me and everything want to be.

This is the very last cartoon he made. Sent to his mate Nick Newman on the train down cause he thought he would be late.

The BBC reporting on Tony’s death quoted a number of fellow cartoonists, musicians, illustrators, etc.:

Also posting on X, Mr Newman, said: “Unbearably sad news that the great Tony Husband has died.

“Creator of Yobs and thousands of brilliant cartoons for Private Eye and others, he will be hugely missed by friends and readers.”

Private Eye magazine said: “RIP cartoonist Tony Husband – prolific, funny and inventive contributor to Private Eye since 1985.”

On his DeAn cartoons X account Dean Patterson described him as “a giant of British cartooning”.

Author and TV personality Richard Osman said: “So sad to hear of the death of the wonderful cartoonist Tony Husband, a man whose work has made me laugh so many times.

“Humour with such tremendous wit and warmth.”

Illustrator Stanley Chow said: “It is of great sadness to hear that my dear friend Tony Husband passed away last night.

“One of Britain’s greatest cartoonists. He was such a legend, yet so humble. But most all, just one of the kindest and soundest soul you’ll ever meet. May you rest in peace Tony.”

Confidentials, as part of their tribute, ran an interview from earlier this year:

“When I was a hippy I was beaten up by a gang of skinheads,” explained Tony Husband, sat in the bar of the The Edge Arts Centre in Chorlton, glass of white wine in hand.

“I’m not a violent person, so I started to draw them to get my own back, and I did some skinhead gags – two skinheads spraying a wall, and one says to the other, ‘How do you spell NF?’

“Ian Hislop took it for Private Eye and then wrote to me saying, ‘We love your skinhead jokes, do you want to do a strip and we’ll call it The Yobs? Give it a shot and we’ll see how it goes.’ Anyway that was 38 years ago.”

The Political Cartoon Gallery has a short profile and samples of Tony’s Private Eye cartoons.

Tony Husband is a self-taught artist, and began a career as a freelance cartoonist in the mid 1970s after a succession of jobs including advertising and window dressing. He became a full-time cartoonist in 1984. His gag cartoons contain much black humour. He has a regular cartoon strip in Private Eye entitled Yobs, which has run from the late 1980s…

Paul Hobson tells us that The Yobs is “a biweekly look at the hooligan element of British society through the eyes of the consistently dark, and unerringly accurate, humour of Tony Husband.” Occasionally it is titled Yobettes when taking on the female of the species. It has been running in Private Eye since 1986.

Hobson also notes The Oldies comic strip ran in the 1990s and was Tony’s take on senior living, and Tony’s Divots for Golf International in the 2000s was a bit less biting as Tony had a passion for golf.

Another passion of Tony’s was mid 20th Century political cartoons, especially during war time.

These, as well as the books collecting his cartoons, are well worth having.

And getting back to his humo(u)r … The Spectator and Punch both have archives of Tony’s cartoons.

John Robb, at Louder Than War, gives a heartfelt farewell to Tony:

Brilliant cartoonist and all round great human being Tony Husband has died. His endless flow of distinctive cartoons that peppered Private Eye and beyond were always witty, poignant and laugh out loud clever. They punctured the pompous and they underlined the ridiculous in a series of glorious lines that were immediately signature in their distinctive brilliance.

Above all Tony was a much loved face on the Manchester scene – a music fan whose love of bands like Sea Power soundtracked his life. We only saw him a few weeks ago at their Krankenhaus festival and it was a pleasure as always to catch up with this genuinely warm soul and talk music and our shared Blackpool birthplace.

Tony will be much missed.

UPDATE: downthetubes obituary with a great look at his career and some great cartoons.

There is much more (cartoons and more) at Tony’s website.

all images © the respective copyright owners