Leo Baxendale

Created Little Plum (10th October 1953), Minnie the Minx (shortly before Christmas the same year) and The Bash Street Kids (1954) - not a bad boast, and probably the single most important burst of creativity of any British comic artist in the history such things...

One of the first truly modern comic strip artists (the first arguably being David Law), Leo Baxendale first approached D C Thomson in 1952, shortly before his 22nd birthday. Flicking through his younger brother's Beano he had been inspired by what he called the "remarkable new phenomenon" of Dennis the Mennis - "a remarkable new character in a modern urban setting."

Baxendale left The Beano in 1962 after a disagreement with the editor. In 1964 he left Thomsons for good, to be one of the main artists, along with Ken Reid, for a new comic - "Wham!" Published by Odhams, who had lost the rights to Mickey Mouse, Baxendale himself had high hopes that the comic would be a "super-Beano". And while it was, indeed, a great success artistically, it was sadly shortlived comercially. Among other things, it featured very thinly disguised versions of Jonah and the Bash Street Kids.

After the failure of Wham!, Baxendale spent a few years working for its parent company Fleetway (IPC Magazines), creating the likes of Clever Dick and Sweeny Toddler. By the seventies Baxendale, who freely admits that his style was never the same from one year to the next, had reinvented himself once again. Like David Law, his drawing became simpler and more childlike, in an attempt to engage a new generation of youngsters. His self-published books 'Willy the Kid' showcase this style. Other artists, notably Tom Paterson and Martin Baxendale (yes, Leo's son), adopted the technique and carried it on into the eighties. It finally arrived in the Beano in 1986, when new editor Euan Kerr hired Paterson to draw Calamity James.

Leo Baxendale history:

Drew for the Beano from issue 586 (1953) to issue 1045 (1962).

Why not visit Leo's own website here, and read all about his other projects over the years?