Saturday, October 18, 2014

Happy Birthday Pete Western! - as Drawn by Comic legend Mike Western

Happy Birthday Pete!
Today is the birthday of animator and director Pete Western, and here at FLiP we thought we would share some of the hand-drawn cards sent to him by his illustrator father Mike Western over the years. They serve as snapshots through the decades from the 70s to the noughties. I have know Pete for almost 30 years - we first met on Who Framed Roger Rabbit? - but I had no idea his dad was a famous comic book artist. More than that, I recognise Mike Western's style from the war comics that I and my friends read avidly as a child, re-fighting WW2 in our living rooms with plastic soldiers and hand-painted Spitfires.

Here is what Pete wrote about his Dad's cards, sent each year on his birthday:

"Mike worked very hard to stick to his weekly deadlines drawing comic strips so I'm amazed and very grateful that he always found time to produce cards for all the family's birthdays and other annual events. The following are precious treasures of mine indeed!"

"Dedicated to Steve Holland [who provided me with the invaluable dates of when such-and such a strip was drawn], Rufus Dayglo [super comic strip artist in his own right] and David McDonald [who is just about to publish a collection of my Dad's strip "Baker's Half Dozen"] - thanks for keeping Mike's name alive, you guys."

Mike Western's work will be instantly recognisable to anyone from the UK in their forties. He drew comics such as Valiant, Battle Picture Weekly (one of my favourites as a kid) where he drew "Darkie's Mob" and "HMS Nightshade", as well as "The Sarge" and Tully's "The Team That Went to War". He drew two covers for 2000 AD as well as tons of other stuff.

Darkie's mob
Mike Western's work was very much a part of my childhood, and that of my friends. And Pete must have gotten into animation in a similar way to me - growing up with it, being surrounded by comics, illustrations, and drawings.

Happy Birthday Pete!



1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for writing this article, Alex. It's great to know you grew up with those comics.
    Just to set one thing right, the "Baker's Half Dozen" panel illustrated above is drawn by Rufus Dayglo, a huge fan and a great comics artist in his own right. "Baker's Half Dozen" is soon to be republished in its entirety and Rufus has written a nice foreword.