Letters: The birth of Dan

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Gilbert Adair took an admirable stance in wishing to start the ball rolling in the subject of comic art ("Tintin betrayed", 23 June), but he was too abrupt in dismissing British comic artists, including "whoever it was who first dreamed up Desperate Dan".

Some might take this to mean Dudley Watkins, who drew Desperate Dan and whose comic style was in direct descent from that of Tom Browne, creator of Weary Willie and Tired Tim.

Mr Adair lauds various American comic draughtsmen but it should be remembered that, in American comics, the work on the page is not always that of the individual named in the heading, because of the widespread use of assistants. Come to that, did not Herge, of whom he thinks so highly, also use assistants?

We should celebrate comic artists from this side of the Atlantic such as Watkins, Browne, Percy Cooking, who inherited Willie and Tim from Browne and drew them for more than 50 years, Roy Wilson, who depicted rollicking animals and humans with a masterly line, and Jack B Yeats, the brother of W B, who drew for Comic Cuts before achieving fame as a painter.

As to "whoever it was who dreamed up Desperate Dan", the received wisdom among comic historians is that it was Albert Barnes, the founder editor of The Dandy, who had a chin which he himself described as "like a chest of drawers". He instructed Dudley Watkins to create a character with just such a chin and Dan was the result.

TONY GLYNN

Southport,

Merseyside

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