The adjective ‘legendary’, bestowed too cheaply upon too many, finds a truly worthy recipient in the man who brought utter joy to generations of British children with his brilliant creations, Minnie the Minx and the Bash Street Kids.
Leo Baxendale’s wonderfully inventive comic strips drew the reader into a world where anything was possible and everything rib-achingly funny. His anarchic humour chimed with children of all ages and the vibrant penmanship inspired countless comics artists.
The hit list included other classic strips Little Plum, The Three Bears and Lord Snooty. The comics historian Denis Gifford has called him “the most influential and most imitated comics artist of modern times”.
The pressure of unrelenting deadlines took its toll on Baxendale and in 1962 he walked out on DC Thompson (a seven year legal rights battle with the Beano publisher was to follow) and found work two years later with Wham! and Smash! comics in London.
Less well known, perhaps, was his involvement in the activist newsletter the Strategic Commentary, campaigning against the US’s involvement in the Vietnam war. Noam Chomsky was his first subscriber.
Baxendale also founded the publishing house Reaper Books in the late eighties and continued to work in comics before retiring in 1992 to concentrate on publishing books. He was inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame in 2013.
He died from cancer on Tuesday 25th April.