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September 21, 2007

Ian Robertson Gray, 1938-2007

imageIan Gray, a mainstay of the DC Thomson youth comics effort, writing for the Beano and several other publications from the middle 1950s until the early '90s, died on September 6 following a heart attack. He was 69 years old. Ironically, Gray's passing came the same month as his appearance on the "Fun Factory" episode of the Comics Britannia series on BBC4. Gray was credited with co-creating Gnasher, the dog of Thomson's Dennis the Menace, in 1968. The articles in the Scotsman and the Guardian provide about as smart and concise a picture of the writer as one could hope for; according to those pieces, Gray had a real knack for lively kids strips bordering on anarchy, providing scripts that played to his artists' strengths and desire to collaborate given something interesting to put on the page. He also seems to have been an accomplished musician and a classic English sportsman. Among his collaborators were Ken Reid and Leo Baxendale. Gravett notes in one of the pieces that Gray left the Beano in 1977 to edit Plug, that he edited a line of 64-page booklets featuring work from the Beano, and that he spent his last three professional years on the Dandy.

He is survived by a wife and four children.
posted 3:10 am PST | Permalink

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