The first Gums collection is out June 2023, including the complete run of strips published in Monster Fun through 1976.
The hapless, loveable shark with false teeth was a highlight of the short-lived Monster Fun comic and proved to be so popular with the fans that he appeared as the front cover strip for most of the run.
The Great White (toothless) shark stalks a territory around the Australian coast, where he constantly butts heads with local surfer, Bluey. While Gums is out to snack on the youngster, Bluey is determined to take the shark’s false teeth as a memento!
Frank Roy Davis was born in Fulham, London in 1921. He studied at West Kensington Central School, originally intending to enter a clerical career. His talent for art led him a different direction and his first job was as a studio artist for the wallpaper designers Arthur Sanderson & Sons. After serving with the RAF between 1940-1946, he went on to join the Gaumont British Animation studio. After its closure in 1950, Davis began a career as a freelance cartoonist. His work was published in Tatler, the Daily Mirror and Punch, amongst others. In 1964 he joined the staff at IPC, writing scripts for several of their comic titles, including Lion (The Backwoods Boys), Whizzer and Chips (Sid’s Snake, Odd Ball), Jet (Faceache) and Monster Fun (Gums). Although he left IPC in 1974, he continued to work as a freelancer for them until 1992 when he retired. As well as being a member of the British Cartoonists’ Association, he also was a founder of the Cartoonists’ Club of Great Britain. He passed away on 11th November 2004.
Robert Nixon was born in North Yorkshire on 7th July 1939, the fifth of six children. His artistic skills were recognised by his teachers at a very early age. Nixon won several art competitions and a scholarship to Middlesbrough Art College in 1955. Unfortunately his time at college came to a premature end after his father died, but after a short character as a local lithographic artist, Nixon left to pursue a career as a cartoonist with DC Thomson. He took over Little Plum in The Beano after Leo Baxendale left the publisher in the early 60s. He would also take over the art chores on Roger the Dodger from Ken Reid and Snooty from Dudley D. Watkins. In the 70s Nixon started to work for IPC, illustrating the stand out strips, Gums and Kid Kong in Monster Fun. He also took over from Ken Reid once again on Frankie Stein. Robert Nixon would return to DC Thomson in the mid-80s where he took up drawing Roger the Dodger again amongst other strips, including Beryl the Peril in The Topper. Robert Nixon passed away on 22nd October 2002.
Alf Saporito worked for Fleetway/IPC from 1967 until the early 80s. His big break came when illustrating Gus Gorilla – the strip which appeared on the cover of Cor!! Other strips included one featuring the comedian Charlie Williams in Shiver & Shake and Master Spy in Valiant. Alf is probably best known for his work on Gums – a Monster Fun strip he took over after original artist Robert Nixon moved on Alf remained on the strip when it moved into Buster.