Richard Jennings

Richard Jennings had a long and distinguished career with Eagle - after Ashwell Wood (and perhaps Frank Humphris), he was probably employed longer than anyone else.

Like many of the early Eagle artists, he too went through the rites of passage drawing Tommy Walls.

Tommy Walls

Jenning's first artwork for Eagle, 20 October 1950. Colour reproduction is still not all it could be. Notice the "instructive" element! Tommy Walls was an advertising strip - Tommy would perform some heroic feat [here, the rescue of some stranded sheep], then be revived by a block of Walls ice cream. Many Eagle artists [Bruce Cornwell, John Worsely, Maz, Harold Johns, as well as Hamspson himself] turned their hands to the strip.

Richard Jennings Tommy Walls Richard Jennings Tommy Walls

More good schoolboy stuff. Needless to say, Tommy is kidnapped, tied up, escapes, and comes back to win the match at the last moment. But the idea of keeping fit on ice cream ...

But Jennings will be remembered best in Eagle for his drawing of the Storm Nelson strip. I was lucky enough to acquire a board of original Jennings artwork some time ago [the autioneer didn't know who the board was drawn by!] and here are some scans.

Richard Jennings original artwork Richard Jennings original artwork

Some of the attitudes shown in Eagle towards black people would, I feel, not be acceptable today!

Richard Jennings Eagle annual

But Jennings was also a stalwart of the Eagle annuals. He drew some pictures for a slightly macabre text story [one of my favourites even at the age of 8] involving a medical student's skeleton that had gone astray.

Richard Jennings Eagle Annual

Finally, a rather gung ho picture from Eagle Annual Number 9 - a pilot being rescued from the sea by a helicopter. But it shows off Jennings' use of drama rather well.

Jennings had served in the RAF Air/Sea Rescue service in the Middle East during the war.

Richard Jennings continued working for Eagle even after the take over of Hultons, and has said that working for the Eagle in the 50s was one of the most enjoyable times of his life. He died in 1997.