'Smiler the Sweeper' (The Beano #1)

S.K. Perkins was a British comics artist who was mostly active in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. He drew various short-lived humoristisic comics series for several children's story papers published by D.C. Thomson, the Amalgamated Press and Target Publications. Among the more longer-running features were 'Spadger's XI' (1925-1931) and 'The Adventures of Elsie, Winnie and Johnny' (1936-1939). He was also one of the original artists for The Beano with 'Smiler the Sweeper' (1938).

Early life and World War I
Stanley Kendrick Perkins was born in 1889 in Reading, Berkshire. His father was a clerk in a biscuit factory. Perkins served as a stretcher-bearer with the Berkshire Yeomanry during World War I. On 15 April 1916 the newspaper The Reading Mercury wrote that trooper Perkins had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for serving 30 hours under circumstances of great danger. One of the young man's deeds was carrying a wounded sergeant on his back across the open field to the dressing station, while under heavy sniper fire. The paper had already written about Perkins' heroics on 5 February of that same year, when the sergeant in question gave a detailed account of their adventure and called Perkins "a very brave man".

D.C. Thomson and the Amalgamated Press
Perkins' career as an artist took off in 1911. He drew the series 'Spadger's XI' (1925-1931) on the center pages of the D.C. Thomson comics magazine The Wizard, starting in the issue of 14 February 1925. The title hero is a cockney kid who leads the neighbourhood's backyard football team. By January 1931 Perkins was succeeded by Chick Gordon, who sent the kids on a world tour and left them stranded on a desert island, whereupon the series changed its title into 'Spadger's Isle'. Perkins then drew 'Tom the Piper's Son' (1927) for Comic Life at the Amalgamated Press and 'Wheezy Weeks and Breezy Breeks' (1927) for The Joker by Fleetway Press. When Fleetway Press was taken over by the AP, the young readers could enjoy his series 'Hurricane Hal' (1929) in The Monster Penny Comic.

Elsie, Winnie and Johnny, by S. K Perkins 1936
'Ovaltiney's Own Comic', 26 December 1936

Target Publications
Perkins' tenure with the AP titles lasted until the mid 1930s, after which he moved to Target Publications in Bath. In 1935 he drew 'Seaside Screams' for the magazine Target. Beween 1936 and 1938 he made graphic contributions to the giveaway comics magazine Ovaltiney's Own Comic, which was based on the popular radio show 'Ovaltiney's Concert Party' (1936-1939) on Radio Luxembourg. The show featured comedian Harry Hemsley who played a family and their four children, while he imitated all their voices. The magazine, published by Target Publications, featured a comic strip based on the radio child characters named 'The Adventures of Elsie, Winnie and Johnny' (1936). Hemsley too wrote and illustrated some picture-novels based on these characters. Perkins furthermore created the comic strip 'Shorty Shuffle' (1937) for Rattler and 'Curley Girly' (1938) for Sunshine.

The Beano
Also in 1938 he returned to D.C. Thomson and became one of the pioneering artists of The Beano, the longest-running British comics magazine of all time. In its first 20 issues he had a gag comic named 'Smiler the Sweeper' (1938).

Post-war work
After World War II Perkins drew various one-shot comics by small publishers, like Scion and Paget. 'Zom of the Zodiac' (1948) appeared in Scion's Big Win Comic, and starred a superhero and master in shapeshifting. He used this skill to help people. One time a man who was mugged by robbers was transformed into a muscular man who then took his revenge upon the robbers. In the late 1940s, Perkins furthermore created 'Redskins vs. Cowboys' for Paget Acme, 'Lucky Mac' for Paget Pageant, 'Jackie Joker' for Paget Dapper, 'Dozey Dan' for Paget Happy Laughs, 'Kinky Clues' for Paget's Cuts, 'Time Tex' for Paget's Sure Fire and 'Sunny Sambo' for Paget's Tupney. He passed away in Reading in 1966.

Elsie, Winnie and Johnny, by S. K Perkins 1936
'Zom of the Zodiac'.

Series and books by S. K. Perkins in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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