Freedom News

Leo Baxendale: An anarchic inspiration

Leo Baxendale, the comic illustrator and creator of Minnie The Minx, The Bash Street Kids and loads of other comic strips and characters, died on Sunday April 23rd aged 86.

Leo, himself a near anarchist, contributed an article,”The Beano and ‘the national consciousness” to The Raven 34 (Freedom Press, Spring 1997). This was in response to a heavily illustrated article by Gavin Burrows, “The slipper and the rebel, The Beano and Baxendale’s bad-child brood” reprinted from Comics Forum in The Raven 33 (Spring 1996). Both issues of The Raven are still available from Freedom bookshop.

He was an influence on Alan Moore and Freedom cartoonist Donald Rooum, who “ghosted” for Baxendale as an artist on WHAM! in the 1960s and ’70s. In the 1960s, at the height of his fame and success, he used his salary to fund influential anti-war newsletters (he was for a time chair of Dundee CND) and later in the 1980s he used his art to campaign against the Conservative government and in solidarity with the miners.

Mostly though, from the 1950s through to the 1990s his work celebrated rebellion, disobedience, solidarity against authority and order for a generation. He kept the red and black flying on pullovers and in comic pages.

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