Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

December 12, 2006

Bus Griffiths, 1913-2006


Bus Griffiths, the artist and cartoonist best know as the author of the 1978 logging industry graphic novel Now You're Logging, died on September 25 in his beloved British Columbia. Moving to that area at a young age, Gilbert Joseph Griffiths worked in logging during the decade depicted in his comic, the 1930s, and after doing some comics during the 1940s when many homegrown companies popped up because of import restrictions on United States funnybooks, divided his time between cartooning and logging until 1961, when he retired from the tree-downing trade. Griffiths had been doing the occasional strip about logging for an industry magazine, and in 1972 began the graphic novel that was published by Harbour. This puts it right in the discussion of first graphic novels in the longform comics stories published like prose books sense. It has since been reprinted twice, and Griffith continued to pursue illustration and art at least up until a 2003 stroke.

Now You're Logging is a fascinating comic in a lot of ways, with its mix of educational tract-type work, nature scenes and old-fashioned movie-type moments and plot developments. The writing is serviceable, and the art varies wildly from some depictions of the great outdoors and the clear explications of how different facets of logging worked, all the way to some odd but expressive figure and face work. If nothing else, Now You're Logging evokes a sense of what Griffiths' young life must have been like, an unsparing but still romantic look at a way of living spent mostly outdoors plying a trade that had honor and purpose.

Bus Griffiths is survived by a wife of 66 years, two sons and five grandchildren. A service was held October 21.

I can't imagine a better obituary than the one prepared by Sequential on his behalf.
posted 2:22 am PST | Permalink

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