Art of British Comic Artists
Allan Morley

Allan Morley (1895-1960) was one of D.C. Thomsom's most prolific artists, working for them from 1925 to 1950. He drew strips for The Beano, The Dandy Comic and The Topper, including 'The Magic Lollipops', 'Hungry Horace', 'Big Fat Joe', 'Freddy the Fearless Fly', 'Sammy's Super Rubber' and of course.. 'Keyhole Kate'!

'The Magic Lollipops' artwork by Allan Morley - 'Whip & Top' -
The Beano c1950
Does anyone have the Beano with this episode - can you let me know the date? Oh and any chance of a scan of this piece please?
( Paul Mason at )

Childrens Games by Pieter Breughel c1560 - Whip and Top

The game of whip & top has been with us for a long, long time, with wood carved whip-tops discovered in Egypt, dated to between 2000-1400 B.C. 

'The Magic Lollipops' artwork by Allan Morley - 'Bee Hive' -
The Beano c1950 - detail of the tramp

'The Magic Lollipops' by Allan Morley - 'Reading the Beano'
(excerpt from issue of 9th September 1950)

'The Magic Lollipops' featured a boy with a jar of lollipops, which, if you licked them would turn into what you wanted, though not necessarily in quite the way you wanted. 'The Magic Lollipops' ran in The Beano from 1941 until 1951, during which time sweets were in short supply. The rationing of sugar and sweets in Britain during WWII was severe and continued for quite a few years after the war. 

Children with carrot lollipops

People were fairly starved of chocolates and other sweets, so children would even resort to eating carrots on sticks, which, if they were very lucky, would sometimes be smeared with caramelised sugar!

Keyhole Kate - Dandy 390, 29th February 1949

'Keyhole Kate' artwork by Allan Morley - 'Gloves' - Dandy issue 390, February 26th 1949

Allan Morley was one of only two artists permitted by D C Thomson to initial his work
(last panel in an artwork of a 'Keyhole Kate' strip - published in Dandy issue 390, February 26th 1949)

Dandy issue 390, 26th February 1949

It is of note that of the artists working for D.C. Thomson (the publishers of Beano, Dandy, Beezer & Topper), only veteran artist Dudley D. Watkins was allowed to actually sign his artwork, and only from late 1946 onwards. Fellow artist Allan Morley, who drew 'Keyhole Kate', was also allowed to identify his work by initialling his drawings with 'A.M.' from January 1947 until he stopped drawing comic strips in 1950.

Apparently, Leo Baxendale would sometimes sign his work only to find it had been whited out prior to publication. However, during his Wham! days at Odhams his strips bore his signature,  but it was not to last....

"As soon as I started working for Fleetway [from 1966] I became anonymous again - my signature on the drawings was painted out with process white, as it had been at D.C. Thomson. When I spoke to Sidney Bicknell [Jack LeGrand's second-in-command at Fleetway] about this, I could never prise a logical answer from him." [8]

Suggested Reading
'The Best of British Comic Art', Alan Clark, Boxtree, 1989; pp 60-76 - an illustrated book focussing on six noteable English comic artists including
Allan Morley, with a chapter devoted to each.

List of other British comic artists currently featured on this website

(left-click below to select chosen artist)

Leo Baxendale
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George Drysdale

Herbert Foxwell

Mervyn Johnston

Bob MacGillivray

Alfredo Marculeta

Vic Neill

Robert Rankin

Lew Stringer

If you have any vintage comic artwork to sell,
please email details, image & asking price to:-