‘Long before there were Nick Hornby novels and Men Behaving Badly to tell us that blokes are impossible yet lovable gits, there was Andy Capp … the artistic loss of Reg Smythe seems great, which is really a tribute to his cartoon, with its fine texture of truth and lies’
The Independent, obituary, July 14, 1998
This is the story of Reg Smythe, creator of the world famous Andy Capp cartoon by his niece and former journalist Hélène de Klerk. Reg was the first British cartoonist to break into the American market and the first one to offer what journalist Paul Slade called a brutal kitchen sink realism.
The story charts his impoverished childhood and formative relationships through to international recognition and his last years as a semi recluse in the North of England.
The memoir gives an insight into the man behind the cartoon, linking childhood and adult experiences to the development of the cartoon’s characters, describing how he worked and what fame meant to him – often in his own words, and featuring his early work and many never before seen cartoons.
‘Reg Smythe is the most popular English humourist with Americans since Charles Dickens’
Al Capp, Saturday Evening Post, March 1973
‘Reg Smythe was the greatest British newspaper strip cartoonist of the 20th Century – and second only to Peanuts’ Charles Schulz on a global scale. So why don’t we treat him that way?’
'It’s always good to see another substantial contribution to the criminally neglected field of Smythe studies'
Paul Slade, PlanetSlade.com