Joe McCaffrey spent 15 years working for both
Fleetway and DC Thomson.
Between 1970 and 1985 he brought us the merry
delights of Cor!! comic's
Jack Pott and Tell-Tale
Tess. For Knockout he drew The Toffs And The Toughs
and The Full House. In Whoopee! he drew Little
Miss Muffit and, most famously
of all, he brought us Mustapha Million, taking
over strip duties from Reg Parlett
and accompanying the wealthy one's move from
the pages of Cheeky in 1977
into Whoopee! where he dwelt each week until
For DC Thomson, Joe firstly drew Big Chief
Miss Chief, then Wig And Wam
for Buzz comic and The Badd Lads for Beezer.
And you can add to that a
stack of 'duplication' strips Joe produced
- taking on a character when the
regular artist was away on holiday, or elsewhere.
Remarkably, Joe never had
any formal art training, indeed he was originally
all-at-sea in the merchant
navy before he returned to dry land and
embarked upon a career in comics.
In 1985 Joe moved into animation. He was employed
by tv production giants
Cosgrove Hall on DangerMouse,
Count Duckula and their
BFG feature. It was
here that he met up with Mark Povey. The duo
went on to create their own
character, salty sea-quack Albert Duck - Albert's
a real throwback to the Disney
strip style of the late 60s/early 70s. There's
more of him, Mark, and Poveytoons
at the bottom of this page...
Well, sort of. When Joe emailed to let me know
about his Fleetway CV we got
to talking, the results of which have become this
here brief biography written by
the man himself. Brief, like I say, but most informative
a young lad, in common with many other Liverpool lads of the time,
I joined the Merchant Navy.
I was always interested in comics and
drawing generally and on
the long days at sea I had time to do a lot of
scribbling. I never had an
art lesson, nor did I meet anyone who did.
Still,after ten years at
sea I settled ashore and decided to try my
hand at cartooning.
I managed to sell a
few to TIT-BITS and WEEKEND MAIL but after a
while the rejection slips
far outweighed the acceptances. So I changed
tack and joined an advertising
agency. For the first time I worked with
some people who could draw
and for the next few years and a couple of
agencies later I had learned
a fair bit.
In 1970 I drew a specimen
comic and sent one each to IPC and
DC THOMSON. I got work from
both. I met Bob Paynter, Fleetway's
Group Editor and was given
a couple of pages to draw up as a tryout.
In the same week I got to
draw BIG CHIEF MISS CHIEF for DC. I then
started JACK POTT and TELL
TALE TESS in Cor!!
My draughsmanship was not
too strong at this time. After two years
I was given Reg Parlett's
two pager THE TOFFS AND THE TOUGHS.
In between times I did many
'duplications' where the regular artist was
on holiday or sick - HIRE
A HORROR, FIT FRED AND SICK SID,
SWEET TOOTH, FOOTBALL MADD, STAGE
PETS - 47 different pages
During this time I began
THE NAME GAME, FULL HOUSE
and LITTLE MISS MUFFET. The
scripts were all written 'In house'.
I suspect some would be done
by the comics editors. In 1977 I took
on MUSTAPHA MILLION and ran
it for seven years until 1985. The
market was shrinking by this
time and a lot of pages went by the
wayside including MM. I decided
to change tack again and joined
COSGROVE HALL as an animator
on the BFG. Later I worked on
COUNT DUCKULA and DANGER
In 1989 I went down to London
to work on Spielberg's AN AMERICAN
TAIL II. After a year
I came home and freelanced, working on several
TV films until 1995 when
I changed tack again and retired!'
Officially then, Joe's retired now like he says, but unofficially he's
as you'll see below:
Albert Duck is a canny old Sea Salt who stars in
an ongoing series of
adventures posted online at Poveytoons.com. Mark
Povey was employed
as an assistant to Joe at Cosgrove Hall. He and Joe
hit it off and together
they created Albert and his young nephews. Initially
Albert's adventures were
planned as a tv series but although they came close
to a commission no one
actually swallowed the bait (a painfully familiar
story). In spite of the knock-
back the duo continued Albert's development. 'Albert
Duck & Black Dekker's
Treasure' is the first full-colour adventure and
it's very handsomely presented
on the Poveytoons website, with new episodes added
regularly. Says Joe:
drawn another six strips to complete the first story.
We're planning another adventure and
Let's hope so. Like I said earlier, it's a real
throwback to those Disney strips
of yore. Maybe someone will 'discover' the bird online
now and snap up
Here's the URL to bookmark: http://www.poveytoons.com
that, as I frequently say, is that. For sure, this one was short,
but it was
a delight conversing with Joe and that little biography was
to share with you...
Don't forget to drop by Fleetway
St. now, will you? - There are now over 100
Fleetway strips indexed there, including a number of Joe's...
Till next time!