All at PCO were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Tony Husband, one of the cartoon world’s all time greats.
There have already been numerous fine tributes written about Tony – here’s a great memoriam by John Freeman on Down The Tubes comics-related blog. Another excellent testimonial with wonderful photos and video links can be found on the Greater Mancunians site. The BBC also marked his passing and this from The Guardian.
For our own tribute, we asked our members to share some of their favourite cartoons from the ‘Husband’ archive. What better legacy could Tony have left but his joyous body of work.
These are some of our individual selections:
There are so many wonderful Tony Husband cartoons to choose from, but I’ve chosen this one (above). Apart from being effortlessly funny and genuinely laugh out loud, his cartoons were often touching and showed his humanity and understanding of human nature.
Steve Jones (Jonesy):
Trying to pick a favourite Tony Husband cartoon is nigh on impossible. However I’ve gone with this one (as will many others I’m sure), not just because it’s so funny but for the absolute truth of it.
Steve Bright (Brighty):
I really don’t want to say why I like it more than any other of Tony’s prolific and wonderful cartoons. Probably because I’ll no doubt then find one I haven’t seen that marginally eclipses it. But in any case, I don’t think my words can do anything but get in the way of every reason I love this cartoon. It’s surely obvious? So, just enjoy it, and then go and find some more and choose your own. There are few better ways to spend the day.
Not only did Steve pick a cartoon but he also did this wonderful caricature of Tony below (Blog Ed)
There are so many of Tony’s gags to choose from – but I particularly loved this when it first appeared in the Eye. So much so that I acquired the original. It’s classic Husband – black humour, slightly surreal and yet grounded in reality. And very very funny.
Just as you laughed at Tommy Cooper before he opened his mouth, Tony’s drawings were funny even before you saw the joke.
I loved his mad world of tortoises, underpants and domestic tedium. Going through his cartoons really brought it home what a genius he was.
Every one a winner, but I’ll go for this from Private Eye.
Ed Naylor (Nay):
The good thing about doing this with Tony’s back catalogue is there are just so many wonderful gags to choose from. I’d maybe go for the famous molehills spelling “f$*k off” or this one I managed to track down in a back issue of Private Eye from shortly after the end of the first lockdown in July 2020. The pathos!
Andrew Fraser (Drew):
My favorite and also the favourite of some others on social media. Not only is it a fantastic gag but the scene is so well constructed.
Hard to pick a favourite so whittled my shortlist down to ‘Trying to grow a beard’, ‘She can test my eyesight anytime’, I’ve sorted out the problem with the neighbours’ but will go for ‘Dogs who look like their owners competition.’ just because of its beautiful simplicity and daftness. Tony had a style which looked effortless and having seen him draw live in Shrewsbury probably was for him. This is a perfect example of a visual gag which you don’t spot immediately and have to revisit because the image is so bloody funny.
Cartoons come in every kind, but often it is the simplest (of idea and of execution) that carry the strongest punch. Simple, but far from easy to do. Tony had that rare ability and had it to perfection. He could churn out classic gags, so wittily drawn, that were instantly, riotously and outrageously funny – and are so still each time you see them. Pure cartooning genius.
Chris Williams (Dink):
I’m completely failing to find a copy of one of my favourite Tony Husband gags. It involves a dinner party, a man bent over and an irate wife saying something like “Perhaps John and Sandra don’t want to know about your piles Martin!” You can picture it yourselves. That’s my level.
Also while looking for it I had a brief trawl through the Cartoonist Club of Great Britain archive of The Jester magazine and spotted a few gags Tony had done for it in the early 80s. All cartoonist related so I thought I’d post them here for you as you won’t see them anywhere else I think.
I too have had trouble tracking down my favourite so I’ve drawn it from memory. The subject matter is particularly poignant but I think Tony would appreciate it.
Tony was a massive influence in my early cartooning days, His humour was powerful, effortless and always funny… I will remember him as the rock n’ roll cartoonist, Mr Cool, his work will live on forever… RIP Tony
This cartoon attached is a magnificent feast of jokes, taking the piss out of us load of sad, grumpy, old nerds… (well I speak for myself!)
Sadly I was looking forward to seeing him at the Private Eye boat party on the River Thames, on the day he died… Everyone at Private Eye is devastated, and the manner in which it all unfolded and his text to Nick Newman, very poignant, a very sad day.
Dean Patterson (deAn):
It’s an odd thing to think there will a British cartooning industry without Tony Husband in it. For me, I think I will miss Yobs the most. The first cartoon I turn to in the Eye and then a constant companion as I spend two weeks trying to get about 80% of the crossword done. Even after looking at it for two weeks, it’s always still made me chuckle.
I love the fact that the gag is so simple but it also makes you do a bit of a double take, which was the hallmark of so many of his cartoons. I only met Tony in person once, but he sent me many kind words and I will miss the encouragement.
I’ll plump for this one, because, er… it’s bloody funny!
As others have said it’s almost impossible to choose one cartoon. So I’m cheating by including a whole books’ worth, but the one on the cover is a favourite of mine from this indeed darkly comic collection.
We’ve all gone for great gags by Tony but he also had a lot of humanity and as well as making you laugh out loud he could equally bring a tear to your eye. I found this particularly poignant cartoon he’d posted on his twitter feed. Also, his very moving book on his Father’s dementia helped many who were dealing with similar issues. Here is an interview with Tony from The Cartoon Museum talking about the book.
This was Tony being interviewed on ITV News earlier this year, when he had an exhibition of his work in Oldham. He talked about his dementia campaigning work and about the very heart rending cartoon he drew on the migrant boat crossings.
Our sincere condolences to Tony’s family and friends.
All cartoons © Tony Husband