Tony Hancock – The Lad Himself
by Stephen Walsh and Keith Page
288 Pages - Out March 2023
Publisher: B7 Media
Foreword by author and Private Eye journalist, Louis Barfe.
Tony Hancock – The Lad Himself tells the story of the legendary comedian in words, pictures, and not without a few interruptions from The Lad Himself, who proves to be a little infuriated at how his story is told… as those who know and love his work would fully expect!
Tony Hancock somehow seems a natural subject for a comic – and, of course, he’s been in them before. At the height of his television fame, he appeared in Britain’s top-selling weekly, Film Fun. Since his death, he’s been the subject of biographies, radio dramas, and even a couple of television films. With the advent of satellite TV and DVD, he seems to be everywhere.
This funny, powerful and poignant graphic novel charts the life of the often troubled comedian with searing honesty but great affection – with Hancock contributing acerbic commentary in the telling. It’s a unique approach to recounting Hancock’s life story – as you would expect when dealing with such an extraordinary talent, whose enduring appeal is testament to his comedy genius.
“When he appeared on radio and television in the 1950s, Hancock immediately became an archetype,” notes graphic novelist Stephen Walsh. “And so he has remained. The writers Ray Galton and Alan Simpson basically invented the sitcom form for him, teasing out the threads of his personality and creating from them a universally recognisable figure: the ever-aspiring, grumpy, petty, frustrated everyman pitted against society, bureaucracy, jobsworth vindictiveness and whatever you’re having yourself; the best and worst of all of us, down to his last shilling for the meter.
“WC Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton and Sid Field all came before him. Young Hancock was hugely influenced by them all, just as successive generations of comic actors (John Cleese, Stephen Fry and Paul Merton, to name a few) have been massively influenced by Hancock. The Office, Black Books, Peepshow and all the other great British sitcoms of the present day are variations on the Hancock template.
Stephen Walsh grew up in Dublin, watching grainy broadcasts of comedy and drama from the BBC that somehow wafted across the Irish Sea, but would vanish as soon as the weather changed. Which, it being Dublin, was every five minutes. He never saw, for example, the conclusion of the classic Doctor Who serial The Day of the Daleks, but consoled himself with an imaginary version concocted when he was six years old (it featured werewolves who arrived aboard meteors).
Determined to put this extraordinary skill to some use, he has written for film, television and, perhaps most rewardingly, comics especially the Charlotte Corday series, co-created with Keith Page.
Londoner and artist Keith Page first became a fan of Tony Hancock whilst watching the original Half Hour broadcasts as a child.
His first published work was in 1976 and he was represented by the Temple Art Agency for many years, working in a wide variety of genres for major comic and book publishers.
He has undertaken long runs of work on Thunderbirds and latterly, Commando comics. However, he says the most fun was working on the ongoing Charlotte Corday fantasy/humour series.
Keith has a wide variety of other interests including continental comics, classic cars, sailing vessels and the novels of Georges Simenon.
B7 Comics is a new, exciting publishing division from indie film and radio drama producer B7 Media, offering new comics spanning SF, mystery and adventure in the coming months, kicking off with an all-new graphic novel based on the sci-fi noir story Pilgrim.