Joseph Leo Baxendale (Cartoonist)
Born 1930, Died 2017. Baxendale was born in Whittle-le-woods, and was educated at Preston Catholic College. After serving in the RAF, he took his first job as an artist for the local Lancashire Evening Post drawing adverts and cartoons.
In 1952, he began freelance work for the children’s comic publishers DC Thomson, creating several highly popular new strips for The Beano including Little Plum, Minnie the Minx (started in 1953, taken over by Jim Petrie in 1961), The Three Bears, and The Bash Street Kids (initially called When the Bell Rings). Baxendale also co-operated on the launch of D.C. Thomson’s The Beezer comic in 1956.
In 1964, Baxendale began work for Odhams Press as they set up a new children’s comic Wham! and, two years later, its sister comic Smash! Beginning in 1966 Baxendale worked for Fleetway (IPC Magazines), creating Clever Dick and Sweeny Toddler. For a year before he fully retired from cartooning to concentrate on publishing in 1992, Baxendale drew I Love You Baby Basil! for The Guardian.
Baxendale was the second person inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame, in 2013. He was described as having created “a lifetime of original, anarchic, hilarious and revolutionary comics” and having had an “incalculable” influence on children and comic artists, while his work was lauded for being “an integral and inseparable part of the history of British children’s comics.” The BBC said that he was “regarded by aficionados as one of Britain’s greatest and most influential cartoonists” and quoted the British cartoonist Lew Stringer as saying that Baxendale was “quite simply the most influential artist in UK humour comics.”