Uncle Charlie by Peter Lang

The Scottish cartoonist Peter Laing was the author of 'Uncle Charlie' (1955-1978), a pantomime comic strip distributed through US syndicates from 1957 to 1959.

Peter Scott Laing was born in 1922 in Lanarkshire in the central Lowlands of Scotland, and educated in Edinburgh. He joined the Merchant Navy at the outbreak of World War II and started cartooning to fill in the weary hours on radio watch. He started selling his first cartoons to newspapers at ports of call. Back in civilian life, he joined the staff of a Manchester newspaper, and later worked for other major British newspapers too.

Uncle Charlie by Peter Lang

He created his 'Uncle Charlie' strip, starring an ingenious elderly man, somewhere in 1955. Many sources mention the starting year as 1959, but a newspaper article about Laing in the Evening News of 28 January 1959 stated that he created the strip "four-and-a-half years ago". In late 1957 the strip already appeared under the title 'Mon Oncle' in the Québec newspaper La Presse, as syndicated through the George Matthew Adams Service. After Adams passed away in 1962, his syndicate's features were sold to the Washington Star Syndicate. 'Uncle Charlie' appeared under the George Matthew Adams Service imprint until 1965, and then ran through the Star until 1978. 'Uncle Charlie' shows a strong resemblance to 'Mr. Abernathy' by Frank Ridgeway and Ralston Jones, which started in 1957. Laing wasn't the first to create a comic strip with the title 'Uncle Charlie'. The US cartoonists Franklin Booth and Dave T. Jones both a short-lived strip of the same name, respectively in 1904 and in 1948.


Self-portrait accompanying the 1959 article in the Evening News

Series and books by Peter Laing in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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