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1066 Biffo 
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Carol has told me she has a vague memory of Biffo the Bear dreaming about the Bayeux tapestry, which turns into a football match. If she's right, it has to be from late 1966, but which issue?


Sat Aug 15, 2015 3:16 am
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That would be Beano issue No. 1399 dated May 10th, 1969 featuring Ye Biffeau Tapestry. It was part of Biffo's Family Tree series.

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Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:50 am
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Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:24 pm
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Excellent! That must be one of Dudley Watkins' last strips (assuming it IS him).


Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:39 pm
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philcom55 wrote:
That must be one of Dudley Watkins' last strips (assuming it IS him).


According to The History of the Beano, Dudley Watkins died while pencilling the cover for issue No. 1423.

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Mon Aug 17, 2015 4:43 pm
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Nice one! Carol says thanks, that's the issue. (So much for my terribly logical assumption that it was from the World Cup and 900th Anniversary year.)


Wed Aug 19, 2015 4:18 am
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Dudley Watkins drew all of the Biffo strips on the Beano cover in 1969 until No1423(25/10/69) although there is evidence in the No1423 strip that it is not entirely his work particularly in the drawing of Buster's face.
The Biffo Family Tree series (1396-1403) was totally Watkins and was some of the best work he produced in the final year of his life. He loved drawing historical costumes and uniforms and it shows in this little gem of a series.
It wasn't the only themed set of Biffo strips in 1969. We also had, and not for the first time, Biffo the Barber (1392-1394) and Biffo at the Seaside (1410-1413) as well as the final cross-over strips that Watkins ever drew both featuring Biffo and Lord Snooty. The first being the first in the Family Tree series (1396) in which Snooty shows Biffo the Bunkerton family tree which gives him the desire to trace his own and the second in which Snooty and his pals go to see Biffo perform in a play (1418).
Throughout the twenty-one years that Watkins drew Biffo it was never a top priority strip. Oor Wullie, the Broons and Desperate Dan were granted that position. So Biffo, like the later Mickey the Monkey (Topper) and Ginger (Beezer) were, on occasion, farmed out to other artists although even then, not often, so prodigious and prolific was the pen of DDW.


Wed Aug 19, 2015 10:00 am
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And indeed Snooty - the Legend of Lord Snooty notes that Bob Nixon and another artist whose name I forget filled in during the second run (for these purposes I'm ignoring Wikipedia!)


Thu Aug 20, 2015 5:45 pm
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Watkins, who died 46 years ago today, last drew Lord Snooty in the Beano comic with issue No1345 in April 1968 when Bob Nixon then took over. So Snooty didn't figure in things when Watkins died 16 months later.


Thu Aug 20, 2015 6:26 pm
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Did Watkins often pencil "Biffo the Bear" but leave the inking to someone else? I've noticed the quality of the art is variable. Sometimes Biffo looked like a boy in a bear mask, and sometimes he seemed real, very lively and expressive.


Sat Aug 22, 2015 3:34 am
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Hi Sue,

If its Watkins it tends to be all Watkins. In the last years of his life Dudley Watkins found his workload increasingly difficult to cope with and as a result some of his strips are variable in quality.


Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:32 am
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That's not surprising, he must have been drawing around eight pages a week by the Sixties.

Here's my favourite style of Biffo art, from Beano No. 1006, 1961. I thought perhaps it was Mike Barratt inking Watkins, or perhaps it's just Watkins in a rush. Whatever, it's more chunky and expressive than usual.
Attachment:
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Sun Aug 23, 2015 2:35 am
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Classic Watkins from the early 60's Sue. A lot of Watkins' work from this period has this quality. Watkins was certainly trying to update his style at this point and so you get this angular character drawing.In some respects it was Watkins take on Davy Law.


Sun Aug 23, 2015 5:53 pm
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