Spare Ribs by Don Roberts

Don Roberts was born in Devon on 17 April 1936 as the son of a hotelier. He spent more than seven years in RAF Fighter Command and the Air Ministry, and joined the Foreign Office in 1960 as a propaganda artist. By 1962 he was contributing cartoons to Time and Tide, and in 1964 he moved to the Daily Sketch as a staff artist, before becoming art director of the Daily Express in 1965.

He started working as a freelance cartoonist in 1972, working for more than 50 US and European publications. He notably worked with British cartoonist Frank Dickens on the comic strip 'Spare Ribs', which ran in the Daily Express from 9 August 1976 to 6 March 1977. It told the everyday adventures of an eightteen year-old typist called Debbie, a frustrated romantic who worked at the Bentridge's Department Store in London together with her office friends Suzi, Maisie and Kelly. Roberts applied a more detailed drawing style than Dickens, who in his turn used a more verbal style of humour on 'Spare Ribs' than he did on his well-known feature 'Bristow'.

Roberts had a kids' strip called 'Small World' in the Scottish Daily Record from 1982 to 1991. He made political cartoons for the Sunday Mirror and Today in the 1980s, and furthermore appeared in Punch, Daily Mail, The New Yorker, Paris-Match, the Daily Mirror, Reader's Digest, Farming News and Wales On Sunday. He also provided the cartoons for Channel 4's 'A Week in Politics' from 1988 to 1993. He has furthermore drawn for advertising, and as a character designer for animation studios like Treehouse Productions. He ranks Gerard Hoffnung, Walter Goetz and Jean-Jacques Sempé among his main influences.

Spare Ribs on Martin Crookall's blog

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