Ethel & Ernest, by Raymond Briggs
'Ethel & Ernest'. 

Raymond Briggs was born in 1934 in Wimbledon Park, London. He studied painting at the Slade School of Fine Art, where he graduated in 1957. He became a freelance writer, illustrator and book designer, as well as a teacher of illustration at the Brighton College of Art. For a long time, Briggs mainly produced children's books, such as 'The Strange House' (1961), 'Father Christmas' (1973), 'Father Christmas Goes On Holiday' (1975), 'Fungus the Bogeyman' (1977), 'The Snowman' (1978) and 'Gentleman Jim' (1980).

Father Christmas, by Raymond Briggs
'Father Christmas'.

In 1982, Briggs created the awarded graphic novel 'When the Wind Blows', about an elderly couple preparing for and living through a nuclear war. This remarkable book, which was made into a movie, was the first of a series of comics for adults Raymond Briggs did, including the moving 'Ethel & Ernest' (1998), Briggs' honest and moving graphic memoir of the marriage of the author's parents. Ethel and Ernest spent their entire married life living in the same Wimbledon Park house. From this main setting, Raymond Briggs offers his readers an intimate peek into the lives of this working class couple, who happened to be his parents. Ernest is a good-natured milkman, and an avid follower of the news and modern developments; Ethel a modest housewife with middle class aspirations. Their main windows to the world are the Daily Herald and the BBC, who bring the major political and social events of the 20th century into their lives. From the Great Depression and World War II to the post-war modernizations and generation gap, all are met with the naïvety of the day. Sometimes the world news comes closer to home, like during the war, when the couple have to send their son to the countryside and build a bomb shelter in their backyard. Briggs uses no dramatizations. He tells the story of real people, with their everyday worries and joys. 'Ethel and Ernest' was not merely a chronicle of the 20th century, but also a moving document of the passing of time. It was in that same house that the eager young couple began their joint life in 1928 and where they died within months of each other in 1971.

Raymond Briggs also made the children's comic books 'Ug, Boy Genius of the Stone Age' and 'Ivor the Invisible' (2001).

comic art by Raymond Briggs
Comic art by Raymond Briggs. 

from The Guardian, by Raymond Briggs
Comic strip by Raymond Briggs, The Guardian. 

Ethel & Ernest, by Raymond Briggs
'Ethel & Ernest'.

Raymond Briggs site

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