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 The Fleetway interviews #2

The Big Mustapha

    Back in 2002 cartoonist and animator Joe McCaffrey filled in the details
    on his Fleetway CV, and
more besides...

  Mustapha Million

  The McCaffrey CV     Joe speaks               Duck and run
  Introducing the            A mini-biography,       Joe's new strip star
  Main Man...                in Joe's own words..    Albert Duck...

     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 1985.

     Jack Pott   Mustapha again...
     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.

     DangerMouse   Albert Duck  Little Miss Muffit

     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...    


     Joe McCaffrey  

    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 methinks:

        'As 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, 
        PETS - 47 different pages in all!
        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

        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 still cartooning,
   as you'll see below:

   Albert Duck again...  

    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:

'...I've drawn another six strips to complete the first story.
      We're planning another adventure and perhaps another...'

    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
    that commission...?

    Here's the URL to bookmark:  http://www.poveytoons.com


   And 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 definitely something
   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!


© Joe McCaffrey/Poveytoons, IPC/Fleetway, Cosgrove Hall   / F2000-2004