Monday, June 19, 2006

Early Ben Wicks

Ben Wicks was one of the most successful cartoonists ever to live in Canada. He had his own tv show for many years and his cartoons appeared worldwide. Perhaps best known for his syndicated strip The Outcasts. Interested in literacy, his family continues a reading program in his name. Born in England in 1926, Wicks came to Canada as a youth and eventually found his way to cartooning after a variety of jobs. He received many honours during his lifetime before dying of cancer in 2000 (full bio). He is also memorialized in the Ben Wicks Pub in Toronto --Wicks was co-owner of the popular watering hole for some time and the place still features his artwork throughout (exterior and interior).

The sequential cartoon above is from an early 1960s issue of the Saturday Evening Post, a defunct U.S. magazine that shared the best cartoonists with The New Yorker and a few other magazines for a time. Wicks broke into this tough U.S. market when he was just starting out and went on to conquer most other outlets then available to him, including editorial cartooning and children's book illustration.