June 29, 1950 |
Brooklyn, New York
Merton of the Movement
Air Pirates collective
Popeye comic strip
|Spouse(s)||Shary Flenniken (div.; m. c. 1972–1976)|
Bobby London (born June 29, 1950 in Brooklyn) is an American underground comix and mainstream comics artist. His style evokes the work of early American cartoonists like George Herriman and Elzie Crisler Segar.
As a child, London was "pen pals" with comedian Stan Laurel, who provided critiques on London's youthful cartoons. His first professional cartooning was for the left-wing National Guardian in the late 1960s. He created his underground newspaper comic strip Merton, in New York in 1969. He also drew cartoons for Rat Subterranean News before moving to the West Coast.
The nucleus of the Air Pirates collective began to form in c. 1970 when London met Ted Richards at the office of the Berkeley Tribe, an underground newspaper where both were staff cartoonists. (London later drew a highly fictionalized account of their experiences at the Tribe in his story "Why Bobby Seale is Not Black" in Merton of the Movement [Last Gasp's "Cocoanut Comix" imprint, Oct. 1972].) In 1970 London and Richards attended the Sky River Rock Festival at Washougal, Washington, and met Shary Flenniken and Dan O'Neill at the media booth, where Flenniken was producing a daily Sky River newsletter on a mimeograph machine. Before the festival was over the four of them produced a four-page tabloid comic, Sky River Funnies, mostly drawn by London.
In early 1971 O'Neill invited Flenniken and Richards, along with London and Gary Hallgren, a Seattle cartoonist they had met at the festival, to San Francisco to form the Air Pirates collective. The Air Pirates lived together in a warehouse on Harrison Street in San Francisco, where London and Flenniken began a relationship that turned into a short-lived marriage.
London developed the raunchy Dirty Duck strip in 1971. Dirty Duck had been originally published by the Los Angeles Free Press and subsequently in books like Air Pirates Funnies and The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers. His non-duck work also appeared in underground titles such as Merton of the Movement, Left Field Funnies, Douglas Comics, Facts O' Life Funnies and El Perfecto Comics. In 1972 London moved Dirty Duck to the original National Lampoon where it was a regular monthly feature until 1976; it continued to run in Playboy for over 25 years.
In 1978, London won the Jury Yellow Kid Award for Best Artist-Writer, presented at Lucca Comics & Games. He contributed illustrations to The New York Times Op-Ed page from 1976 to 1981, and wrote and drew the Popeye syndicated daily comic strip for King Features from 1986 to 1992, at which point he was fired for doing an allegory about abortion.
In the summer of 2000, London unveiled a family-oriented comic feature for Nickelodeon Magazine entitled Cody. He co-wrote and storyboarded episodes of Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls for Cartoon Network in 2004 and contributed character designs for King Neptune and Mindy of The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.
- Boyd, Robert. "The Shary Flenniken Interview," The Comics Journal #146 (November 1991): "We were up here from 1973 ’til ’76. We broke up and Bobby went back to New York."
- Donahue, Don and Susan Goodrick, editors. The Apex Treasury of Underground Comics (Links Books/Quick Fox, 1974), p. 153.
- RINGGENBERG, S.C. "Bobby London and the Air Pirates Follies," Comix Art & Graffix Gallery (May 12, 1998).
- Patrick Rosenkranz (2002). Rebel Visions: the Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975. Fantagraphics Books. ISBN 978-1-56097-464-2.
- Ringenberg, Steve "Interview with Bobby London," Comic Art & Graffix Gallery website (July 30, 1992). Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.
- London entry, IMDB.com. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.
- "Mondo Popeye," Cartoon Brew.[permanent dead link]