Thursday, April 19, 2012

Spotlight On An Artist: Jack Edward Oliver

Jack Edward Oliver, or JEO as he called himself (and sometimes even just J. Edward Oliver), was the man behind brilliant cartoons such as Cliff Hanger, Vid Kid and Master Mind.

Jack was always intrested in comics and cartoons, and by the age of eight he was drawing his own comic books. His first published work however, wasn't until 1968 when he drew Instant Garbage, which was a full colour humour magazine published by himself. It cost 1/6 and was made up of lots of writing and drawings, ending up to be 16 pages long. It was because of this magazine that got him his coloum - The Instant Garbage Coloum - in Disc. I don't own a copy of Instant Garbage, but here's a scan from a JEO fan site, which I'll link at the bottom.
Disc was a music magazine, as was Music Echo, which he also drew for. In it he drew the hugely popular strip Fresco, which expanded to a full page when the magazine later became Record Mirror. Apart from drawing Fresco, he also started writing more, and had a few other comic strips in the publication, such as Toppo D' Popps.

Record Mirror folded in 1977, and that was when Jack took to comics! There was a massive choice to aim for in the late '70's, and in the end he was hired by IPC media. He took a shot at drawing The Champ - completely breaking away the Baxendale style Champ had been drawn in for so many years, and drew him in his own way. JEO's strips appeared in many different comics including Buster, Whoopee and Whizzer and Chips. Cliff Hanger was probably his most succesful, and some eagle-eyed readers noticed that the number of Cliff's shirt was the episode number! Obviously this failed when they started reprinting the strips in a random order!

Sadly, in 2007 he was diagnosed with cancer, and died in May that year. In 2010, a plaque was placed on his house in his memory. It read: "World Famous - Jack Edward Oliver - 1942 - 2007 - Lived Here - Underpaid Cartoonist".

Jack also has a fan site, which you can visit by following the link below:


As mentioned in the comments, Peter Gray posted some of Jack's original Cliff Hanger work on his site. Here it is, with a puzzle to keep you going right from the first box! On the shaceship it reads 'SYADSEUT HSILOBA', which, as Niblet managed to work out, is 'ABOLISH TUESDAYS' backwards!
And if you wish to view the stamps we were talking about, head on over to . All of Jack's are May 2007 and before.


Harry Rickard said...

You also forget Sue Denim. ;)

Rest in peace, Mr Jack Edward Oliver.

Peter Gray said...

i've met the man and he was a one off...really got on well with him and made me feel very welcome..

I'm often looking at my original drawing of Cliff Hanger...he drew them in actual size with a very fine nib..also drew it on paper..he said to save on postage..

I wish in 1992 he was given a strip to do and his talents were wasted for many years until Buster ended and he got into drawing Fresco comic strip and drawing cartoon stamp designs which are fab..

I went to his wedding and it was very sad has he didn't have long to live..But there were smiles and tears at the wedding..

I'm glad he called me a friend..and I really miss him...I wonder if ebay has any more originals of his work for sale..

ps like your new masthead..and how do you make your images big by clicking on blogger I hate the slideshow that comes up sometimes.

George Shiers said...

@ Harry - Why did he sign his Vid Kid strips as Sue Denim? Strange... :)

@ Peter - Wow you actually knew him! Lucky! ;)

If only Buster hadn't started filling all it's pages with reprints, it would have been a great comic and kept some brilliant cartoonists in work!

I thought the header was a bit boring with just text - so I used a header from a Silent Hill story :)

To make the images enlarge like mine go into settings, click on posting and comments and then the 3rd option under posts it will say 'Showcase images with Lightbox' - select no.

There is an original Cliff Hanger page on eBay for £35 - Link below :)

Peter Gray said...

The original I have is a Cliff Hanger Star Wars spoof..Star Warts..

the one on ebay doesn't have the three original i'll leave that one..
the seller is the cousion of Jack who is selling it..he is the one who got Jack drawing the stamp cartoon designs..worth seeing..thanks for the tip on the enlarging image..

Strange Hill you mean;)

George Shiers said...

You need to post it up at some point!! And if you have the printed version you could post that up with it :)

I like the stamps, on this page is a stamp remembering Jack:

And yes Strange Hill - whoops :3

Peter Gray said...

Sue Denim

it is a pun on the word pseudonym

pseudonym means a different name to your own..
Sue Denim
Pse udonym

He loved these crazy word plays...puzzles..

He also in Vid Kid did a deliberate mistake in each one and a cameo of himself in each one..

his comic pages were a lot more than meets the eye he liked to make the reader think..

George Shiers said...

I'd noticed the mistakes in Vid Kid, one time his flipped around the words in the title box, but often it was less noticeable. I'd look for ages, and sometimes I'd just give up!

I also noticed the man in each story, but I didn't realise it was supposed to be him!!

I bet there's loads more puzzles out there that we haven't even spotted!!

Peter Sanders said...

The J Edward Oliver site still exists and I add more material from time-to-time.