Terry was interviewed in COMIC BITS #3 and 5 as those with long memories will remember. I’ve never posted this online and it was, sadly, not included in The Hooper Interviews book. But for posterity…here you go!
TH:Now,Terry,you went along to see Cos [Albert Cosser,Editor of WHAM!] over at Odhams when you were in your late thirties. You mention,in a chaper of your autobiography I’ve seen,that this was going to definitely be your last attempt at getting into comics. How long had you been trying before the big break in 1967
Above:Terry at the drawing board and his wife Sheila. c. 1970?
TH:I’ve known many comic artists and you can always tell those who enjoy their work. This is what really shines out in your work;the love of drawing. So,my question has to be;could you really have thrown it all in and said “Well,I’ve given it my best shot -where’s the ’Situations Vacant’ page?”
Terry:No. I’ve always been enthusiastic about drawing “fun pics” along with a great interest in other artists’ work!
TH:In CB#3 you mentioned how you and Sheila tested ideas on children to see if they’d catch on. Big problem is that kids today don’t grow up with comics like they used to [though,as with my nephew,Gerhard (7),put old comics and annuals in front of them and they’re engrossed. So does the “kid test” still work?
Terry:It still works -I get involved through grand children and young groups.
TH:Going back to when you met Cos;you took on the ailing “Sammy Shrink” strip. Presumably you worked on this from home? However,when you got more involved,such as assisting Jack Legrand to put together WHIZZER & CHIPS,was this an office job? What was it like to initiate the preliminary work on a new British comic -were there any problems?
Above: Terry & Sheila at the London Eye 2000
TH:Now,I know the idea of WHIZZER & CHIPS was that there was a comic within a comic that you could,if you wanted to pull out. The amount of blather over “why?” is almost daft -what was the idea about and whose idea?
Terry: “Two comics-in-one” -Bob Paynter’s idea- we always,from day one,worked closely with Bob on all future projects. I always told young audiences that the two-comics-in-one idea was to save arguements in a two child household when the comic popped through the letter-box -often,a bright child in the audience would suggest that the “two children” could still argue over who read which part first!!!!
TH: Just looking at your stripography in CB #3, you either created,ghosted or took over strips that most of us today would say were the strips of their time -“Danny Dare”,“Sammy Shrink”,“Baby Whamster”,“Grimly Fiendish” - to name a few of the hundred plus[!!] characters you worked on. You must have been really pleased! The question is,have you ever received fan-mail while working on the strips,or since [most creators seem to have been unaware of just how loved their work was]?
Terry:Yes! From all over the World. A couple of years back now,there was one from New Zealand from a father who was introducing his own child to the art of comics -my art!
In the early days we broke all Fleetway records on fan-mail with the strip “Scribbler”!
TH: I know that I probably have asked this question before but which characters have a special place in your affections -
“Sammy Shrink” because he was your break into comics?
Terry: Yes – that was the real start! Others:“Odd Ball”,“Ginger” -many more,of course.
TH: There was a point when Fleetway took over Odhams and the future looked bleak -did you get any contact with the new bosses at the time?
Terry:Mainly Cos and Alf.
TH:Eventually,you worked at Fleetway under Bob Paynter for 20 years;did he often fall back on yourself and Sheila to come up with new ideas or to try to revitalise an old one?
Terry:Yes – often!! [all good fun].
TH:Is there one character that you have always wanted to work on,either at Odhams or Fleetway,but never got a chance to?
Terry:No. Worked on most,even as a one-off in a special or annual!
TH:You went to work for D. C. Thomson in the early 1990s and drew “Number 13”,“Bash Street Kids”,“Billy Whizz” and others for the BEANO and “Korky The Cat”,“Buster Crabb and,then,for 10 years,”Winker Watson“ for the DANDY. Who approached whom and why did the Fleetway work dry up?
Terry: Sheila and I approached Thomson and were warmly welcomed. Fleetway work dried-up because of the general run-down of titles.
TH: Right,you told me,in 2002,that you are no longer working on “Winker Watson” and that Thomson’s said that they might want you to work on a new strip -anything new on this?
Terry: YES!! Created the new character “Baby Herc” -here’s a illo!
TH: Finally,any news on getting the autobiography published ?
Terry: No, on the book.
TH: Is there anything you’d like to draw that you haven’t yet tried?
Terry: Not really -always open to new ideas!
TH: Then,Terry,my thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and I really do hope a publisher picks up on your autobiography as it is fascinating stuff!
Since the interview it is nice to report that Terry’s book has now been published!
Cartoons and Comics, with over three hundred pages of reminiscences, artwork and original cartoons is available from Lulu. It’s £12.74 (plus p&p) and absolutely packed with artwork dating from 1947 onwards.
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