Robert Bruce Clark, AKA R.B. Clark(e) or Bob Clark, was an Australian comic artist, best known as the creator of the newspaper gag comic 'Boofhead' (1941-1970). During its run, 'Boofhead' was incredibly beloved with mainstream audiences, despite its crude artwork. The series ran for almost 30 years without interruption and coined the Australian slang term "boofhead". 

Early life and career
Robert Bruce Clark was born in 1910. He worked as a textile worker before turning to cartooning, for which he used the pen name R.B. Clark.

Boofhead, by R. B. ClarkBoofhead, by R. B. Clark

Boofhead
On 12 May 1941, his comic strip 'Boofhead' debuted in the Sydney Daily Mirror. The humor comic featured an incredibly stupid and clumsy man with a long nose and a cantilever haircut, named Boofhead. Since Clark was an amateur cartoonist, his drawings were very primitive. Everything was drawn two-dimensionally with little sense of perspective. Boofhead is always drawn in profile, rarely directly facing the reader. Backgrounds are usually just a white void. Clark was aware of his graphic limitations and once asked his editors whether he should take some drawing lessons. They denied his request, because his comic strip was popular enough with readers. Altering anything might've been a commercial disaster. 

'Boofhead' was indeed extraordinarily beloved with general audiences. It was also published in other printed media owned by publisher Ezra Norton: the Sunday Mirror, Truth and Sportsman. Invincible Press released several 'Boofhead' comic books between 1945 and 1962, while compilation annuals ran between 1957 and 1962. The comic strip ran uninterrupted for nearly three decades. When asked why 'Boofhead' struck such a chord with readers, Clark speculated that people who felt frustrated about their lives could at least laugh at Boofhead, who was clearly less competent and succesful than themselves. The final episode was published in 25 July 1970, shortly after Clark's passing. 

Legacy
A 4.5-metre high statue of Boofhead can be seen near the Leuralla Toy and Railway Museum in the Blue Mountains, at the property of NSW politician Clive Evatt. It was erected next to one depicting Olive Oyl from 'Popeye'. The neologism "boofhead" is still a popular slang expression in Australia for people who are foolish or slow. A celebrity fan of 'Boofhead' was Australian musician and cartoonist Martin Sharp. 

Boofhead, by R. B. Clark

Series and books by R. B. Clark in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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