Friday, October 17, 2008

Birmingham Post cartoonist retires

Bert Hackett, cartoonist for the Birmingham Post for over 40 years is set to retire.

Bert, 75, has drawn both the pocket front page gag and the main editorial cartoon five days a week since 1966, initially alternating with business partner Graham Gavin. This gave rise to their collective pen-name, Gemini, which Bert continued to use after Gavin stopped drawing in 1974. In his 42 years on the paper he has produced over 10,000 cartoons, the last of which appears in today's issue.

Birmingham Mail cartoonist (and PCO member) Colin Whittock adds:

He was a crusty old bugger who appeared to be in deep depression when he sat hunched over his board puffing away on his pipe (when such things were allowed). Eventually he always came up with suggestions for roughs which yielded a good gag. Over the years he created many classics that rivalled the best in Fleet Street, but of course being on a Birmingham paper they weren't seen by those that matter, so he never received an award for work that would certainly have been in the running if he'd been on a national.

He's a brilliant caricaturist and many of his originals are stunning. Lately he's been doing more coloured work but always using old-fashioned brush and watercolours, he never embraced Photoshop or the like. A class act for over 40 years, with a huge following of Post readers. He will be missed and I hope the Post will continue with the Birmingham papers' tradition, (unusual for provincials) of always having an in-house cartoonist.

The PCO: Great British cartoon talent