Cartoonist Leo Baxendale, who created The Beano’s Bash Street Kids and Minnie the Minx, has died at the age of 86.
Baxendale was also responsible for The Beano’s Little Plum and The Three Bears strips and co-created the Wham! and Beezer comics.
Beano artist Kev Sutherland broke the news on Facebook, writing: “Sad news that Leo Baxendale has died. Aged a rather admirable 86, I’d forgotten quite how long ago he started in comics.
“Creating Minnie and the Bash St Kids over 60 years ago, then Wham comic and all its characters ten years later, then Sweeney Toddler & Willy The Kid in the 70s, which is where I first came across him, he’s done more than most to leave their mark on our business.
“To think that just yesterday I was dissing him here on Facebook for being more influential than actually readable, it is truly a shame that the industry he was in at the time didn’t lend itself to long stories collected up in volumes.
“But stumbled across randomly, his strips are always a delight, and his designs live on in the house style of The Beano.”
Baxendale created Minnie the Minx, a female answer to Dennis the Menace, in 1953, before Cuthbert, Smiffy, Fatty and the rest of the Bash Street Kids in 1954.
The comic strips delighted children with their tales of trouble-making and rebellion and the characters are Beano staples to this day.
He also drew Eagle Eye, Junior Spy, Bad Penny, Grimly Feendish, Clever Dick, and Sweeny Toddler for various other comics in the 1960s and 70s.
A message on The Beano’s Twitter page said: “Everyone @BeanoOfficial is saddened to learn of the passing of comics legend, Leo Baxendale.”
Sharing a vintage comic strip, it continued: “This Minnie the Minx panel shows why Leo Baxendale’s work is timeless. Action-packed, detailed and hilarious. #RIP”
Cartoonist Lew Stringer wrote on his blog: “On Monday, myself and others in the comics industry were given the very sad news that the great Leo Baxendale had passed away on Sunday April 23, at the age of 86.
“His family asked us to hold back on mentioning it on social media until the rest of Leo’s relatives had been informed, so naturally we respected their wishes. We now have permission to post our tributes and several will be appearing online from today.”
Hailing him as “an absolute giant in the world of British comics”, Stringer said “the impact and influence of Leo’s style on British humour comics from the 1950s onwards was immeasurable”.
He continued: “Along with Davy Law (Dennis the Menace) and Ken Reid (Roger the Dodger), Leo revitalised The Beano and his art style became the one that other artists were encouraged to emulate. He also drew for The Beezer at that time, creating marvellous full page illustrations for The Banana Bunch.”