As I do research for some of my articles and blog posts, I sometimes get what I call the Serendipity Effect. Some of you may wonder what I mean by this, so I will try to explain it as best as I can.
The research into my Micron articles were a perfect example. As I looked into the company Wells Gardner, Darton & Co. Ltd, I discovered a book called The Merry Tales of the Wise Men Of Gotham that was published by them in 1907. This turns out to be a series of tales that can trace its roots back to the 15th Century. Where it gets interesting is when we look at Bill Finger, not Bob Kane, choosing that name for Gotham City and it turns out to be an old nickname for New York. This is something I never went looking for and it is something that I have found by pure happy coincidence.
A few of my articles have ended up being created due to this effect as the articles Chained To His Bat and The Spy In The Sputnik were both directly related to my research into the work of Ron Smith for Down The Tubes. If I had not carried out the research to create the Ron Smith article, I would never have discovered the information that led to creating those two articles.
Now I have a new article to create and that is thanks to my good fortune in being put in contact with the widow of Jeff Bevan. His widow has a large collection of Jeff’s work and had been kind enough to allow me to visit and photograph some of this work that had not been seen for years by anyone outside the family. And here is where the Serendipity Effect kicked in. There was not just a lot of Jeff’s work in this collection but there were also a treasure trove of throwaway gags by other artists. As Jeff had been a staff artist for D C Thomson, it turns out he was great friends with David Gudgeon so David and others would send Jeff cartoons to cheer him up during any absence, to celebrate life events or just to generally take the mickey out of each other. The Dixon Hawk gag here is a good example of that.
Now David Gudgeon was a name that was unfamiliar to me but when I saw some of his drawings then I knew that the art style was annoyingly quite familiar. So on my return home, Google (other search engines are available) was my first port of call and the entry on Lambiek for David Gudgeon allowed me to realise where I have seen the style before as David or “Gudgie” had been the artist for at least two Beano strips that I read way back in 1976. One being Richard The Lion and the other being Jacky Daw and His Maw and Paw. After a bit of digging I have found examples of both strips for you to enjoy.
I have still got quite a lot of work to do to prepare the photographs of Jeff’s work for a second article for Down The Tubes, but I thought that I would share the wealth of my good fortune with you all. And just to finish off, here is another one shot that you may enjoy and the inspiration for the title of this article.