An Artist's Journeys in Nature

Strongbow the Mighty – Cartoon Comic

Strongbow The Mighty CartoonApart from the straight Disney content, there was one other cartoon strip in Mickey Mouse Weekly that I came to rate just as highly  – a cartoon called Strongbow the Mighty, illustrated by another real master of his trade – the London-born illustrator Ron Embleton. Ron created a huge body of artwork pretty much single-handed, in a really short space of time.

Ron was in a league of his own, and it shocked me since to find out that at the time he was doing Strongbow, he was only in his early twenties, having started illustrating for comics at the age of 17  – amazing.  I still have 37 Strongbow comic pages stashed away and kept over the years because I admired his work so much, and once I get my scanner going again, I’ll put them online, because I notice there doesn’t seem to be anything much out there about this particular comic strip.

Meantime, I’ve set up a page at Patricia Howitt.com with one or two Strongbow images, which I’m sure will be relished by those who remember the cartoon – and by anyone with an eye for outstanding graphics.  Here are a couple of them:

Strongbow The Mighty Cartoon Frames

Strongbow The Mighty Cartoon Illustrations by Ron Embleton

I loved Strongbow for Ron’s marvellous, crisp black and white images, his detail, his strength of line and composition (again!), the brilliant accuracy of his men and horses, and above all his total mastery when it came to capturing power and movement.

My dad and I used to pore over his pages, marvelling at his rendering of horses and men, often frozen in a split second of violent action,  but fluid, powerful and graceful nonetheless. Very, very powerful stuff.

Now I’ve had the chance to see more of Ron’s work, I’ve a sneaking feeling that the Strongbow era might have been one of his favorites, because the images he created for it are so complete and so satisfying. Ron captured the spirit of that period so vividly, that it’s hard for me to realise that he was also engaged with Biggles (another of my favourites), American Wild West, science fiction and Playboy magazine.  What an artist!

Ron Embleton Medieval Castle

Ron Embleton Medieval Castle Book Illustration

Strongbow, as far as I remember, was only ever a black and white comic strip. I saw some of Ron Embleton’s color work in comics recently when I searched him on the net, but to be honest, I think black and white conveys his mastery of comic strip work far more effectively. Having said that, he also had brilliant control of tone and color, and produced many individual images that are truly breathtaking.  It was a real joy to me recently to find a great body of his illustration work for book publishers that I previously hadn’t known about – see above.

The other thing that appealed about Strongbow was the “Robin Hood.”quality of the story. As I’ve said before, Sherwood Forest has some deep resonances in our family history, that I wasn’t even aware of at the time. That will surface later, though.

Peace,

Patricia

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3 responses

  1. Pingback: Art and School 2 « Patricia Howitt Art Blog

  2. Enjoyed your post – I bought the original painting you included here – I love all of his work (which I knew well as a child), especially these with a limited palette range. This one is from a story called ‘The Secret of the Trolls’ – I have another very like it from ‘The Magic Apples’ – people often tend to mix these 2 stories up. I’ve also done a few RE posts as I’m such a great fan although I do tend to lean towards the fairy tales – there are some more images from the same story here – http://sharonssunlitmemories.blogspot.ie/2011/12/ron-embleton-by-candlelight-until-we.html

    July 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    • Sharon, thank you for this – I shall enjoy reading your blog. I just managed to pick up a Ron Embleton book in an op shop a couple of weeks ago – the only book of his I have. It’s called ‘Pioneers and Heroes of the Wild West’. Not exactly my favorite subject matter in his repertoire (like you I prefer his fairy story art, and also of course ‘Strongbow The Mighty”), but it’s just wonderful to hold a book of Ron’s in my hands. Only cost me 50cents, too!! Patricia

      June 9, 2013 at 9:00 pm

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