Classic Cartoons: Martin Plimmer on Mel Calman

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The Independent Culture
MEL CALMAN'S gloomily gentle pencil-drawn men were influenced by Thurber, but eschewed his reckless line. He drew men as thought-bubbles, pondering eternal complications, often to do with relationships, on which he was an expert, having been married twice. His work appeared regularly in The Times and six syndicated cartoons a week kept America happily miserable.

For all his melancholy (his listed recreations in Who's Who were "brooding and worrying"), he wasn't depressive, and was capable of wild, hallucinogenic fantasies, according to his daughter Stephanie, a sitcom writer. One was a plan to spray Centrepoint pink from a helicopter. Sadly, he died - in 1994 - before he could carry this out. Some of his many drawings can be seen at the exhibition Look Back in Angst, at Rae-Smith Gallery, Cecil Court, London WC2 (0171-836 7424), to 24 Oct.