'Spadger Isle'.

Chick Gordon was a mid 20th century British cartoonist, and a staff artist at D.C. Thomson for nearly thirty years. His series appeared in several of the publisher's story papers, the most notable being 'Spadger Isle' (1931-1950) in The Wizard. He was furthermore one of the original artists in The Dandy and The Beano.

D.C. Thomson
The son of a customs clerk and a music teacher, Charles Henry Gordon was born in Poplar, London, in the first quarter of 1884. His first name was generally shortened to "Chick" or "Chas". He moved to the Scottish city Dundee, where he became a staff artist of the publishing house D.C. Thomson in 1922. His brother Jack Gordon (1890-1965) was also hired, and the two remained employees of the company throughout the 1930s and 1940s. Chick Gordon drew many features for D.C. Thomson's children's story papers, starting with the one-panel cartoon 'Cheery Chinks' (1922) in The Rover. Two years later he was present in Storyland for Girls with 'Polly's Pup' (1924) and 'Bessie's Brain' (1924).

Spadger Isle
By 1930 Gordon had taken over 'Spadger's XI', a kids' gang comic in The Wizard about a backyard soccer team, originally drawn by S.K. Perkins since 1925. The initial concept had worn out, and Gordon sent the two main characters on a trip around the world. They ended up on a deserted island, after which the comic's title changed to 'Spadger Isle' (1931-1950). In true colonial fashion, Spadger and his companion, Skipper Sam, are quickly in charge of anglicizing the local tribe of cannibals, called the "Nigs". The comic was a product of its time, with the natives being drawn stereotypically and talking in jerky speech. The comic was popular enough to last through the 1930s and 1940s, and moved from the centre spread of Wizard to the front page on 28 October 1939, where it appeared in color until 12 August 1950. Each page had a constant lay-out: four introduction panels and then one large, crowded panel, in which all of the island's inhabitants and animals appear in comical situations related to that episode's subject.

'Bamboo Town'

Other features
Although 'Spadger Isle' was his main series, Chick Gordon's art appeared in several other titles. For Adventure, he drew 'The Skyrocket Rovers' (1931), and The Rover had his strip 'PC 99' (1933). Gordon was also part of the original artists team of the long-running children's magazines The Dandy and The Beano. To the first, he contributed 'Bamboo Town' (1937-1944), about two snappily dressed chimps who return to the jungle after a civilizing spell in the Big City Zoo. 'Captain Cutlass' (1944) and 'Bouncing Billy Balloon' (1948) also appeared in The Dandy, but were shorter-lived.

For The Beano, Gordon created 'Hooky's Magic Bowler Hat' (1938-1940), 'Little Peanut's Page of Fun' (1938-1940) and 'The Pranks of Peanut' (1939). Along with Sam Fair and George Drysdale, Gordon was one of the artists of 'Tin-Can Tommy' on The Beano's back-cover. The strip about a professor and his "clockwork" son was originally created by the agency of the Italian brothers Tristano and Bubi Torelli, but the Scottish publisher lost contact with them after the outbreak of World War II. Gordon additionally made 'Folks of the Mulligan Mansions' for The Family Star, as well as many cover illustrations for the annuals and seasonal books.

Charles Henry Gordon passed away on 9 May 1952.

Series and books by Chick Gordon in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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