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Bill Ritchie, 1931-2010
posted January 29, 2010
 

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Bill Ritchie, a longtime cartoonist in the UK's rich tradition of children's humor comics, passed away on January 25th at his home in Friockheim, Scotland.

Ritchie was born in Glasgow in 1931. News reports mention that he was a top cycle speedway rider as a teenager (placing second overall at an international competition in 1948). He was trained at the Glasgow School of Art. Both art training and cycle riding to a book seat to national service when Ritchie served as a military policeman during the Korean War.

imageHe would go in the 1950s and 1960s to become one of the primary cartoonists for the DC Thomson publications. He most famously drew Baby Crockett for The Beezer starting in 1956, later also drawing a version of that feature for younger readers that was published in Bimbo. Another popular title for The Beezer was Smiffy. His art for The Moonsters distinguished the 1960s publication Sparky, as did his Barney. Ritchie would go on to draw several covers for the publication as well. His time at DC Thomson would span nearly 40 years, during which he built a concurrent, successful illustration career through several magazine gigs in England and abroad.

He had continued working long past retirement until just a few years ago, both in cartoons and children's books. The Ritchies moved to Friockheim in 2001. Like many other artists in the English cartooning tradition, Ritchie pursued other arts hobbies -- his included photography and sculpting.

He is survived by a wife of over 50 years, Anne, three children, four granddaughters and a great-grandson. Bill Ritchie's funeral was scheduled for one week after his passing.

a special thanks to the usual suspects on UK comics: Lew Stringer, Peter Gray, Steve Holland; I bring almost nothing to this particular table

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