Rupert Bear by Alex Cubie
'Rupert and the Boffit'. Originally published in the Daily Express in September 1965, reprinted in color in the Rupert Annual 1978.

Alex Cubie was a Scottish animator, illustrator and comic artist. He was one of the main artists to draw Mary Tourtel's iconic 'Rupert Bear' newspaper strip during the 1960s and 1970s.

Early life and career
Alex Cubie was born in 1911 in Renfrew, Scotland, not far from the capital Glasgow. He started out drawing cartoons for the newspaper Glasgow Evening Citizen. In 1934, he moved to London, where he created cartoons for The Daily Sketch and The Leader. When World War Two broke out, Cubie was drafted in the British army in 1940. He originally worked as a fitter, before the army felt his artistic talent could be more useful in their design team, where he could draw lay-outs for tactical exercises. After the war, Cubie returned to Fleet Street, where he designed greeting cards.

In the late 1940s, Cubie made a move to animation. He joined the Rank film company in Cookham. Around the same time, one of Disney's animation directors, David Hand, was in England to help out the Gaumont Company with their own locally produced animated films. Cubie became part of Hand's Britain-based animation unit.

Rupert by Alex Cubie
'Rupert and the Penguins' (reprint from Rupert Annual 1979).

In 1951 Cubie became a staff illustrator and cartoonist for the Daily Express. Between 1952 and 1962, he was an illustrator for the quarterly 'Rupert Adventure Series' books, in alternation with Enid Ash. The heads of Rupert and his friends were sometimes filled in by Alfred Bestall, who drew the regular stories in the newspaper. By 1965 Cubie was asked to draw Rupert's adventures in the newspapers as well. Bestall was no longer able to continue the series and retired (although he continued to provide artwork to the annuals for years to come). Cubie drew 68 adventures with the little white bear until 1979, with Freddie Chaplain providing the stories. Cubie had a more cartoony approach than Bestall and applied thicker black outlines around the characters. Apart from the daily comic, Cubie also drew puzzle pages for the annual 'Rupert' books. Between 1974 and 1977 he also drew the covers of the Rupert Annuals. Cubie produced most stories in the post-Bestall period, but he alternated on drawing stories with Jenny Kisler, with sporadic interludes by Enid Ash and Wendy Arnot. Lucy Matthews and John Harrold regularly illustrated stories from 1976 onwards, until Harrold was appointed the full-time 'Rupert' artist in 1985. Alex Cubie passed away in 1995.

Rupert the Bear by Alex Cubie

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