John Ryan 1921-2009

I’m saddened to learn of the death of master story-teller John Ryan.  For my own potted biography of this gentle genius you can check out our review of Eagle Classics: Harris Tweed although I’m sure the papers and news services will be full of fulsome obituaries for a man who was a pioneer of British comics, children’s books and television animation.

Typically, I’ve been intending to review his Captain Pugwash children’s books for some time now but never quite got around to it.

I first met him whilst teaching at the London Cartoon Centre where he was a rapturously received guest-speaker one evening. Afterwards, while chatting with the delighted fans of four generations who had come to see and hear him, he very kindly showed me the actual cut-out and props (painted in black and white wash tones) he had produced for the very first 1950s Pugwash TV episodes, whilst simultaneously drawing a freehand biro sketch of Mary, Mungo and Midge for my bemused and overwhelmed wife.

He was a prince among men and we’re all the poorer for his passing, but at least his unique accomplishments will live in the legacy of brilliant tales he leaves behind.