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

Home > News Story and Obituary Archive

Simon Bond, 1947-2011
posted January 1, 2012


Simon Bond, the cartoonist behind the best-selling, seminal book of cartoons 101 Uses Of A Dead Cat, died in Northamptonshire County, England, on July 22. He was 63 years old.

Born as the older of a pair of twins in New York city to British parents, one of whom worked for the United Nations, Bond and his family moved to Nottingham when the future cartoonist was a small child. He studied art at the West Sussex College Of Art And Design In Worthing from 1965 to 1968. Upon graduation, Bond worked for Tatler in paste-up at about the time that long-standing publication's name was restored from London Life by publisher Guy Wayte. He left that position to briefly manage a jewelry store.

Bond moved to the United States in 1970, settling in Phoenix which suited his chronic asthma. There he held a variety of jobs, including that of cartoonist. Bond freelanced for a number of magazines including Saturday Evening Post, Esquire, National Lampoon and The New Yorker. He released his first book, Real Funny in 1976.

In 1981, Methuen in Great Britain and Clarkson N. Potter (now an imprint of Crown) in the U.S. released Bond's collection of 101 Uses For A Dead Cat (called 101 Uses Of A Dead Cat In Great Britain) at the height of a cat-cartoon craze that included Jim Davis' groundbreaking first collection of Garfield cartoons and the B. Kliban cat-focused books. It sold 600,000 copies in its first year on its way to over two million copies in twenty countries, spending 27 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list in the year of its publication. The book was profiled/reviewed in Time and People, spawned two official sequels (101 More Uses Of A Dead Cat and Uses Of A Dead Cat In History), an unofficial sequel/response book (The Cat's Revenge), an omnibus (2001's Complete Uses Of A Dead Cat), a number of calendars, several imitators and a 25th anniversary re-issue in 2006.

Bond returned to England in 1982 just as his career had surged because of the hit book. A follow-up to the cat book, Unspeakable Acts, failed to perform as well as 101 Uses. He also worked on a screenplay during this period. Back in Great Britain, Bond picked up Punch and Private Eye as clients. He married an American in 1985. Among the cartoon book releases and his consistent production for various publications, Bond himself published and co-edited the humor magazine Squib in the early 1990s. His books, which came out at a steady rate of about one a year, included A Bruise Of Bouncers (1987), Battered Lawyers And Other Good Ideas (1989) and Everybody's Doing It. I believe the bulk may have been published by Longstreet Press. Bond illustrated a pair of books by Alan Abel as well as books by Tom Isitt and Percy Richer. He edited a book of RS Sherriffs work, and even authored a children's book series starring the teddy bear Tough Ted (titles included Tough Ted And The Tattered Ear). His last original book came out in 2002.

at top is perhaps the most famous cartoon of Bond's career; Bond actually owned four cats at various points in his life despite being allergic to them