Joseph Leo Baxendale|
27 October 1930
Whittle-le-Woods, Lancashire, England
|Died||23 April 2017(aged 86)|
|Bash Street Kids, Little Plum, Minnie the Minx, The Three Bears, Sweeny Toddler, Grimly Feendish|
|Awards||British Comic Awards Hall of Fame|
Joseph Leo Baxendale (27 October 1930 – 23 April 2017) was an English cartoonist and publisher. Baxendale wrote and drew several titles. Among his best known creations are the Beano strips Little Plum, Minnie the Minx, The Bash Street Kids, and The Three Bears.
Baxendale was born in Whittle-le-Woods, Lancashire, and was educated at Preston Catholic College. After serving in the RAF, he took his first job as an artist for the local Lancashire Evening Post drawing adverts and cartoons.
In 1952, he began freelance work for the children's comic publishers DC Thomson, creating several highly popular new strips for The Beano including Little Plum, Minnie the Minx (started in 1953, taken over by Jim Petrie in 1961), The Three Bears, and The Bash Street Kids (initially called When the Bell Rings). Baxendale also co-operated on the launch of D.C. Thomson's The Beezer comic in 1956. Baxendale's time with D.C. Thomson came to an abrupt end in 1962 when, overburdened with work he, in his own words, "just blew up like an old boiler" and left.
In 1964, Baxendale began work for Odhams Press as they set up a new children's comic Wham! and, two years later, its sister comic Smash! Beginning in 1966 Baxendale worked for Fleetway (IPC Magazines), creating Clever Dick and Sweeny Toddler.
Baxendale left the world of mainstream British children's comics in 1975, creating the more adult-orientated Willy the Kid series, published by Duckworths. In the 1980s he fought a seven-year legal battle with D.C. Thomson for the rights to his Beano creations, which was eventually settled out of court. His earnings from that settlement allowed Baxendale to found the publishing house Reaper Books in the late 80s. In the same year he brought out THRRP!, an adult comic book.
Baxendale was the second person inducted into the British Comic Awards Hall of Fame, in 2013. He was described as having created "a lifetime of original, anarchic, hilarious and revolutionary comics" and having had an "incalculable" influence on children and comic artists, while his work was lauded for being "an integral and inseparable part of the history of British children’s comics." The BBC said that he was "regarded by aficionados as one of Britain's greatest and most influential cartoonists" and quoted the British cartoonist Lew Stringer as saying that Baxendale was "quite simply the most influential artist in UK humour comics".
In the mid-1960s, Baxendale published a weekly anti-war newsletter the Strategic Commentary. Though it had some paying subscribers, including fellow Vietnam War opponent Noam Chomsky, Baxendale made a considerable loss from sending hundreds of free weekly copies to Labour MPs.
Leo Baxendale died of cancer on 23 April 2017 at the age of 86. Andy Fanton, who at the time of Baxendale's death was the Beano's writer for several Baxendale-created strips, lauded his predecessor as “the godfather of so much of what we do”.
Over the course his career, Baxendale worked for a number of different publishers, writing and drawing many different strips in several different comics. The following lists some of Baxendale's most well-known creations. As well as creating new strips, Baxendale also worked on pre-existing properties, such as Lord Snooty in Beano issues 691–718 
- The Beano
- Little Plum
- Minnie the Minx
- The Bash Street Kids (originally When the Bell Rings)
- The Three Bears
- The Beezer
- Baxendale, Leo (1978). A Very Funny Business: 40 Years Of Comics. Gerald Duckworth & Co., London.
- Baxendale, Leo (1988). The Encroachment pt.1. Reaper Books, Stroud.
- Baxendale, Leo (1989). On Comedy: The Beano and Ideology. Reaper Books, Stroud.
- Cadwell, Adam (29 November 2013). "Hall of Fame: Leo Baxendale". British Comic Awards. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Armitage, Hugh (15 August 2013). "Inspired: Playing Out's Jim Medway on Willy the Kid". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Heartfield, James (2 June 2014). "A comically incomplete exhibition". Spiked. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Cain, Sian (27 April 2017). "Beano legend Leo Baxendale dies aged 86". Guardian. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- "Leo Baxendale: Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx comic legend dies". BBC News. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Baxendale, Leo. "The Strategic Commentry". reaper.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Morkis, Stefan (27 April 2017). "Bash Street Kids creator Leo Baxendale dies". The Courier. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- "Cartoonist who created The Beano’s Bash Street Kids dies aged 86", Yorkshire Evening Post, 27 April 2017
- The History of the Beano. Dundee, Scotland: D.C. Thomson & Co. Ltd. 2008. p. 316. ISBN 978-1-902407-73-9.
- "Leo Baxendale: Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx comic legend dies". BBC. 27 April 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2017.
- Reaper Books – Baxendale's own publishing company
- Leo Baxendale at Lambiek.net
- Video clip of Leo Baxendale talking as part of the BBC's Comics Britannia series (2007) (RealPlayer)