Tony Husband obituary


Tony Husband, who has died aged 73, was the cartoonist behind one in every of Britain’s longest working comedian strips, The Yobs, a brand new episode showing each fortnight for 38 years since 1985, on the seemingly uninspiring topic of bovver boys with IQs as little as their brows. “I used to be overwhelmed up by a bunch of skinheads,” Husband advised the Observer in 2001, “so perhaps this was my approach of getting again at them.” He had submitted a cartoon to Non-public Eye of two skinheads spray-painting graffiti on a wall, one in every of them asking “How do you spell NF?”

The journal’s editor Ian Hislop then steered that they use “the yob figures that you simply do so much” in a three-panel strip known as The Yobs. It went on to be named strip cartoon of the yr in 1987 by the Cartoonists’ Membership of Nice Britain, who had already chosen Husband as greatest gag cartoonist in 1985 and 1986, and would reward him many extra occasions.

Husband had beforehand been warned towards sending cartoons to Non-public Eye, a pal telling him it was a closed store for Oxbridge sorts. He despatched in 10 cartoons anyway, however acquired a package deal again from them with no observe; he didn’t hassle to verify what number of cartoons have been returned. “Every week later a pal rang to congratulate me on having two cartoons in Non-public Eye. Puzzled, I dashed to Stockport to get a duplicate … and there they have been.”

A former hippy, Husband was tall, slim and surprisingly deadpan for somebody whose enterprise was laughter. “I’ve truly received a really personal sense of humour,” he as soon as advised the Manchester Night Information. “Folks’s blunders make me snort. And I like daft issues. And I suppose I do incline in direction of the sick facet of life. I don’t take something that critically.” He made enjoyable of on a regular basis existence and its quirks, which led to him profitable the Cartoon Artwork Belief’s Pont award in 2005, the quotation studying: “Whether or not it’s soccer hooligans on the rampage or a quiet sherry for 4 within the entrance lounge, Tony Husband’s cartoons sum up the British character of right now.”

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The Tony Husband cartoon that started the long-running strip, Yobs, in Non-public Eye {Photograph}: Tony Husband/Non-public Eye

In later life Husband’s father, Ron, suffered from Alzheimer’s, his gradual lack of reminiscence and transfer right into a care house inspiring Husband to attract just a few illustrations of an imagined dialog between the 2. Stephen Fry tweeted the pages to his social media followers and a writer mailed Husband asking if he might flip the pages right into a guide. Take Care, Son: The Story of My Dad and His Dementia was revealed in 2014 and Husband turned an energetic campaigner for dementia. He tackled different difficult topics in From a Darkish Place (2016), about his son Paul’s heroin dependancy, and in his illustrations for Libby Moore’s After… The Influence of Baby Abuse (2019).

The eldest son of Ron, a managing government of Nice Common Shops, and Vera (nee Fletcher), Tony was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, however raised within the countryside, within the village of Gee Cross close to Hyde, Better Manchester. He attended the native Holy Trinity main faculty and found a expertise for artwork at Greenfield Road secondary faculty in Hyde. His father loved drawing cartoons and portray watercolours, and Tony started cartooning on the age of 16, at first copying his father’s work but additionally influenced by his studying of Punch and Non-public Eye and cartoonists equivalent to Mike Williams. He developed a free, uninhibited model of drawing that allowed him to sketch upwards of 60 cartoons per week.

He joined a Manchester promoting company as an workplace junior, and it was within the in-house journal of one in every of their purchasers, Burlington World, that he had his first cartoons revealed in 1968. He continued to attract cartoons at night time whereas working as a window dresser for Burton’s menswear retailers after which as a designer for a Manchester jeweller, contributing to native underground papers – Grass Eye and Mole Categorical – earlier than promoting two cartoons to Weekend and the Every day Mirror in a single week in 1971; he went on to attract for nationwide day by day newspapers, weekly magazines and shiny monthlies.

He took voluntary redundancy from the jeweller’s in 1984 and have become a full-time cartoonist, later that yr publishing his first guide, Use Your Head, which imagined macabre makes use of for a severed head – as a door cease, a baby’s potty, a Christmas tree ornament, and different grisly recommendations. He was named joke cartoonist of the yr for the primary time that yr.

Over a drink in a Manchester pub, Husband, a fellow cartoonist, Patrick Gallagher, and a author, Mark Rodgers, dreamed up Oink!, an irreverent, various kids’s comedian. They approached IPC, the nation’s largest comics writer, who agreed to publish it from April 1986, alongside long-running and unchanging Buster and Whizzer & Chips, for which Husband wrote occasional scripts. Edited by Uncle Pigg, the paper was stuffed with pig-puns and gags about smells that received over the 10- to 13-year-old viewers, promoting 155,000 copies fortnightly by its fifth situation earlier than falling again to 90,000. Husband’s character, Horace “Ugly Face” Watkins, was a star from the start and Paul made visitor appearances in photograph tales.

It folded after 4 years, however out of the ashes got here a TV collection, Around the Bend! (1989-91), a mix of cartoons, stay motion and puppets starring Doc Croc and his employees of rats who run a spread present from their sewer. The present was nominated for an award by the Royal Tv Society.

The trio of Husband, Gallagher and Rodgers have been introduced in by the BBC to launch Hangar 17, described as the primary “the-weekend-starts-here” Friday night time present for youths since Crackerjack. The wacky selection present’s mixture of music and comedy ran for 3 seasons (1992-94). Husband additionally wrote an episode for the Chuckle Brothers’ comedy collection ChuckleVision (1994).

He wrote and illustrated dozens of books and designed costumes, surroundings and slides for Save the Human, a kids’s present that was staged on the Manchester Opera Home in 1990. The present, about animals taking up the world after mankind has made a large number of it, was co-written with David Wooden. Husband additionally toured with the Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan, performing A Cartoon Historical past of Right here, a mixture of readings and improvised poetry, which the artist illustrated on a flipchart, or on acetate the place venues had projectors.

Ever busy, he contributed strips and cartoons to publications together with the Oldie, the Instances, the Spectator, Golf Worldwide, the Nursing Normal and Sensible Caravan. He illustrated greetings playing cards, was cartoonist in residence on the Lowry Centre in Manchester, official cartoonist for the Groucho Membership in London, and drummer for the Loafer journal’s ukulele band.

Husband lived in Hyde, not removed from the place he grew up, and loved strolling within the countryside, dreaming up jokes. He was on his approach to a Non-public Eye leaving get together in London, on a Thames barge , when he suffered a coronary heart assault on Westminster Bridge. After his father’s loss of life, Paul posted on-line the final cartoon Husband drew: on the prepare to London, considering that he could be late, he despatched an image of himself waving goodbye to a ship departing from Westminster Pier.

His spouse, Carole (nee Garner), whom he married in 1976, acted as his book-keeper and private assistant. She and Paul survive him as do his brothers, James, Keith and Ronald.


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