Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
February 27th - Desperate Dan by kanyiko February 27th - Desperate Dan by kanyiko
A Year in Comics - February 27th

Desperate Dan

Dudley Dexter Watkins was born on February 27th 1907 in Prestwich, Lancashire, England, although as an infant his family went on to move to Nottingham.  The son of a litographic print artist, he received extra art lessons at school which had been arranged for him by his father.  After completing his education, Dudley D. Watkins went to work for the Boots pharmacy chain, where he published his first artwork in the staff magazine.

In 1924, Watkins entered the Glasgow School of Art, and a year later its principal recommended him to the Dundee-based publicher D.C. Thomson, who gave him a six-month contract, which soon became a full career.  Working as an illustrator at D.C. Thomson and moonlighting as a life art teacher at the Dundee Art School, he first seemed bound for an unremarkable career - until he turned his hand to comic strips in 1933. After his editor noticed Thomson had a talent as a cartoonist, Watkins began drawing increasing numbers for the publisher.  After trying his hand at the Rover and Skipper midget comics, his first long-running series was Percy Vere and his Trying Tricks for D.C. Thomson's Adventure, about a magician whose tricks kept backfiring.  Together with writer R.D. Low, he then went on to create the strips Oor Wullie and the Broons for The Sunday Post in 1936, followed by Desperate Dan for The Dandy in 1937.

As if this was not enough, Watkins then created ever more comics for D.C. Thomson's ever expanding array of editions - Wandering Willie The Wily Explorer for Adventure; Lord Snooty for The Beano; Ginger for Beezer; Mickey the Monkey for Topper; and Jimmy and his Magic Patch for The Beano.  All of this made Watkins an unmissable cartoonist for D.C. Thomson.

Dudley D. Watkins' half-year contract at D.C. Thomson eventually turned out to be a full, 45-year contract, which only ended when he was found dead at his drawing board at his home on August 20th 1969, the victim of a heart attack.  He proved to be so unmissable, that D.C. Thomson was forced to reprint their Broons and Oor Wullie strips for seven years before they finally found a replacement artist; Desperate Dan even ran as reprints for 14 years before the publisher finally found a successor for Watkins on the strip...


71st entry of ?

February 26th - Tex Avery by kanyiko  February 26th -  2000AD 40th anniversary by kanyiko <- February 26th -- Bonus February 27th entry February 27th - Stan Mott by kanyiko -- February 28th ->  February 28th - Milton Caniff by kanyiko
Add a Comment:
burstlion Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh wow!  Poor guy, leaving so early... but damn did he create a lot in a short time!
Brit31 Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Now THIS is my era! :D
kanyiko Featured By Owner Feb 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
So glad you like it! :glomp:
Brit31 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Ropeman1 Featured By Owner Edited Feb 26, 2017
That's a half dozen full page strips for the weekly comics, the two full pages for the Broons & Oor Wullie, plus numerous odds and ends EVERY WEEK!  And all at the highest quality, every single panel was beautiful, every page drawn with care.  His pencil must have caught fire!

British kids comics just wouldn't have been the same without him in the early days, DC Thompson would probably have suffered as well.

I reckon he reincarnated as :iconshabazik:  =P
Add a Comment:


Submitted on
February 26
Image Size
192 KB


13 (who?)