Ask Morgana 165: Ron Embleton

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Ron Embleton (1930-1988) was one of the UK’s most respected – even loved – comic book artists and illustrators. He truly loved his work, which seems to have been all he ever wanted to do since he was a boy. He was a master of the wry expression. One of his most successful creations was the artwork for the graphic-story version of Gerry Anderson’s ‘Stingray’ in the children’s sci-fi comic ‘TV Century 21’. So much did Gerry Anderson appreciate Embleton’s work, that he engaged him to provide the artwork that appears with the final credits for the ‘Captain Scarlet’ TV series.

Embleton also worked extensively on the children’s magazine ‘Look and Learn’, and provided illustrations for several books about ancient Roman military. He had so many strings to his bow, but perhaps his most outré and famous creation was ‘Wicked Wanda’ – a comic strip (literally!) in Penthouse magazine, from 1963 to 1980. Wanda von Kreesus was a black-haired, lesbian Dominatrix, heiress to a multi-million dollar fortune, and international playgirl, travelling the world on perilous and erotic adventures with her blonde sidekick/lover/protegée/PIA Candyfloss (aka ‘Pusscake’) and her paramilitary force of young women in revealing military fatigues. Highly satirical and full of literary references both obvious and obscure, the adventure strip often featured cameo appearances by political figures of the day – everyone from Ted Kennedy to Idi Amin – often with cornily ‘disguised’ versions of their names.

‘Oh Wicked Wanda’ was wacky, sexist, irreverent, and actually great fun, and the artwork was superb… There is absolutely no truth in the rumour that I model myself on her.

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Images reproduced under ‘fair use’ provisions.

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