'Erik the Viking'.

Graham Thompson is a British cartoonist and illustrator. As a comics artist he is best known for drawing books starring the Muppets in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He also adapted two films, 'Bugsy Malone' (1976) and 'Erik the Viking' (1989), into graphic novels. Thompson's work is most familiar to general audiences as images on Jumbo jigsaw puzzles.

Early years
Graham Thompson was born in 1940 in the United Kingdom. He left school to become a stained glass window designer, but eventually continued in advertising. For 30 years he worked as artist/storyboard artist in various advertising agencies in London.

Film adaptations
In 1976 Alan Parker directed 'Bugsy Malone', a gangster comedy musical film in which all leading roles are performed by children, including a still very young Jodie Foster. The movie didn't do well at the box office, but became a cult classic in the United Kingdom through repeated broadcasts on TV. Already in its release year 'Bugsy Malone' was popular enough to inspire a comic book adaptation drawn by Graham Thompson, published solely for the British market by HarperCollins.


'Bugsy Malone'.

More than a decade later Monty Python comedian and director Terry Jones directed 'Erik the Viking' (1989), a film loosely based on his own fantasy novel of the same name. The picture stars Tim Robbins and Eartha Kitt, Mickey Rooney, John Cleese, Neil Innes and Terry Jones in smaller roles. At the time the film wasn't a huge success, mostly because many people incorrectly assumed it was a Monty Python film, solely because of the presence of Jones and Cleese. Thompson adapted this movie into a comic book as well, published by Robson Books.

The Muppets
Between 1979 and 1982 Graham Thompson illustrated several books based on Jim Henson's 'The Muppet Show' for publisher William Collins & Sons. He created two full comic books, namely 'The Comic Muppet Book' (written by Jenny Craven, 1979) and 'Muppets at Sea' (1980), and made the comics for the 'The Muppet Show Annual 1979' (1979) as well. He also contributed to the colouring book 'Meet the Muppets' (1982). Thanks to the global popularity of the franchise the comics were translated all across the globe as well.


'Muppets at Sea'.

Children's book illustrations
In 1967 Gordon Boshell (later also scriptwriter for Steve Dowling's comic strip 'Garth') started writing the children's book series 'Captain Cobwebb' (1967-1980). The stories revolve around two brothers, David and Goby Green, who have wacky adventures with their uncle Septimus, nicknamed "Captain Cobwebb". Boshell illustrated the first two stories himself. The third book was drawn by Raymond Fishwick, while Trevor Stubley livened up the pages of the next novels. Graham Tompson illustrated reprints of the first five books, published by Armada Books.

For Tandem Library Graham Thompson and Gare Thompson created 'Our Journey West: The Oregon Trail Adventures of Sarah Marshall' (2003). He illustrated various children's books about vehicles and machines, such as Angela Royston's 'Monster Road Builders' (Barrons Juveniles, 1989), 'Monster Building Machines' (Barrons Juveniles, 1990) and 'Monster Machines' (Frances Lincoln, 1992). He also livened up the pages of 'British Diecasts: A Collectors Guide to Toy Cars, Vans and Trucks' (Haynes Publishing, 1980), 'Bikes (Wheels)' (Gareth Stevens Pub, 1986), 'Tractors (Wheels)' (Gareth Stevens Pub, 1986), 'Cars & Trucks (Wheels)' (G. Stevens Pub, 1986) and 'Diggers & Loaders' (G. Stevens Pub, 1986).

Graham Thompson is also a prolific illustrator of comedy books, some aimed at a juvenile audience, including Mary Danby's 'The Armada Book of Limericks' (Harper Collins, 1978), Janet Rogers' 'The Beaver Book of Tongue Twisters' (Random House, 1981), Martin Stoll's 'Fun for Free' (Harper Collins, 1981), Jennifer & Graeme Curry's 'The Complete School Verse' (Red Fox, 1991) and Des MacHale's 'The Tiny Book of Scottish Jokes' (Harper Collins, 2000). He co-illustrated Gyles Brandreth's 'Jokes! Jokes! Jokes!!' (Andre Deutsch, 1999), alongside fellow artists Mike Miller, John Symth and Robert Nixon. Together with Louis Hellman, Diana Gold, Peter Stevenson and David Mostyn he also drew cartoons for Brandreth's 'Biggest Kids' Book of Fun Ever!' (Andre Deutsch, 2002).

Thompson furthermore illustrated sports-related books such as Clive Clark and Ronnie Corbett's 'Armchair Golf' (Willow Books, 1986), 'Middle Stump. An Alphabet of Cricketing Terms' (MacDonald, 1987) - which had a foreword by cricket champion Graham Gooch - and Keith B. Marshall's 'This for the Half: Golfing Miscellany' (Hale, 1988).

Jigsaw puzzles
Graham Thompson is rather well-known as a long-running illustrator for Jumbo jigsaw puzzles, where he specializes in images with lots of crowds. Other illustrators active as puzzle artists for this company have been James Alexander, Rob Derks, Neil Easton, Paul Gibbs, Jan van Haasteren, Dick Heins and Bill Houston.


Graham Thompson's 'Britain United' puzzle. 

Series and books by Graham Thompson in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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