The story of the STAN cartoons

The STAN cartoon first appeared in the WHYALLA NEWS in July 1971.

Back then it was part of a paid advertisement for Geoff Phillips who then owned the Mobil service station at the Westland Shopping Centre. I was twenty one years old at the time and keen to have my drawings published, and while I wasn’t paid for the cartoons which appeared in the local paper it was great experience.

I’d been sending gag cartoons and comic strips off to newspapers since I was ten years old, and was just on the verge of getting a lot of stuff published and making a career out of cartooning. This drawing is the first ever STAN cartoon, dating back to mid 1971 when the big issue in town was secrecy at the local council meetings.

It wasn’t until about a month after the first cartoon appeared that the now familiar heading and title block made an appearance, with this late 1971 cartoon to the right being one of the first. As you might notice, it features a Mobil sign in the background to keep the ‘sponsor’ happy. This was the day we were all obliged to fasten up our seatbelts in cars: November 29 1971.

After a few years the cartoons appeared on their own merit, and eventually I was even paid for them. I stopped the cartoons in the mid 1990s in order to concentrate on my children’s books, and you can identify cartoons from 1971 to 1994 by the rounded heading, such as the example on the left from 1977.

After a break of a few years when two other local cartoonists had a go at supplying cartoons to the WHYALLA NEWS, I was invited back and took up the chair again in about 1998. All cartoons from this date onwards can be identified by the ‘square’ endings of the top title panel, such as this example published on Melbourne Cup day in 2006: At the same time the newspaper added the somewhat unnecessary heading, HOW STAN SEES IT.

That’s me to the left. Actually this isn’t really a STAN cartoon, but a ‘spoof’ SPAM cartoon for the annual WHYALLA BLUES which is published at the time of the annual Christmas Pageant. I’ve even been known to contribute a few funnies to that august publication too..