Bill Asprey is a British newspaper cartoonist, who specializes in cute, gentle and heartwarming daily gag comics such as 'Love Is...', 'Moebius', 'Wheel Nuts', 'Only Human', 'Pooch' and 'Bees'. He was also the artist behind a long-running comic strip which adapted Roald Dahl's 'The BFG' , as well as the more cheeky erotic humor comic 'Aphrodite'.

Born in India, Asprey eventually settled down in London where he served an apprenticeship in a local cartoonist studio. He found work in the advertising industry before becoming an independent artist. Throughout his career he made designs for Bedford Brewery and Vinopolis and published in most English papers and magazines. He could also be read in Hugh Hefner's Playboy. In 1975 Asprey met Kim Casali, a New Zealand cartoonist best known for her internationally succesful 'Love Is...' cartoons, which debuted in 1970 in The Los Angeles Times. 'Love Is...' appears in a daily cartoon format of just one panel, yet is technically not a "gag" cartoon. All episodes starred a miniature version of a nude man and woman shown in romantic situations which defined the concept 'love', according to the author. It had no intention to make people laugh, just to be heartwarming. At the time Casali's husband was terminally ill with cancer and she looked for someone to continue the comic in her place. At first Dale Hale took the job, but his heart wasn't really into it and he quit after a year. From that moment on Asprey took over and became her official successor to this very day. In 1978 he also created a weekly gag comic around the series, which appeared in The Mail on Sunday. This comic strip differed from the one-panel cartoons by depicting the couple fully clothed, on the instance of the newspaper's editors. It was also an actual gag comic in the sense that it depicted the protagonists in humoristic situations with a genuine punch line. Otherwise, not much was changed to the concept. The couple still remained devoid of any personality, apart from the fact that they are very much in love. Casali was scriptwriter for both cartoons and co-oversaw the merchandising until her death in 1997. Since then her son Stefano takes care of the writing.

In 1981, when Prince Charles and Diana married, Asprey received the honour of designed a wedding souvenir for the royal couple. In 1986 he and journalist Brian Lee created a comic strip version of Roald Dahl's classic best-selling children's novel 'The BFG' (1986-1998) for Mail on Sunday. Originally it was a straight adaptation, but after a few months they had told the entire story. Lee received permission from Dahl to write his own scripts, which were read and approved by him afterwards. Rather than mimick Quentin Blake's original drawings, Asprey drew the Big Friendly Giant, Sophie and the other characters in his own style. After Dahl died in 1990 the comic still published new stories for another eight years.


Pooch

Another gag comic Asprey's known for is 'Moebius', made in collaboration with American physicist Edgar Edelsack. It stars the absent-minded professor Cranius, Robert the dog and Moebius, a character who originated from a Moebius strip (the scientific concept, not Jean Giraud). A more risqué work is 'Aphrodite', which Asprey published under the pseudonym "Leon" in Tit-Bits. It featured the eponymous Greek goddess of love in hedonistic gag situations on Mount Olympus. The comic also ran in the Scottish Daily Record for a while, but was banned because readers complained about the erotic atmosphere and frequent nudity. Asprey also created the gag comic 'Wheel Nuts', starring anthropomorphic cars and 'Only Human', an one-panel gag cartoon series about people in every-day embarrassing situations. Asprey is also the man behind the cute puppy dog 'Pooch' and the romantic cartoons 'Bee Lines'.

He is the founder of the Internet site 'Cartoon World', which promotes cartoon art of various artists.


The BFG

www.artfulaspreycartoons.co.uk

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