Wildcat Anarchist Comics

By Donald Rooum
Publisher: PMPress
ISBN: 9781629631271

CCGB member Donald Rooum has been a published cartoonist since 1950, so a book combining a biography and a collection of his work is arguably overdue.

The first half of Wildcat Anarchist Comics tells of Donald’s early years, qualifying for a full scholarship at a fee-paying school and later being introduced to the notion of anarchism in 1944 while visiting Speakers Corner. This moment, on the edge of Hyde Park, set him on a course that has shaped the rest of his life.

Donald’s contributed to the Spectator, The Daily Mirror, She and Private Eye, but he’s best known for his strip Sprite in Skeptic, Wildcat in Freedom and Roouminations in Peace News.

The most fascinating part of the book, for me, was to read the detail of Donald’s brush with the law in 1963 in what became known as the Challenor Case. It’s an odious and despicable occurance of a few police officers, and one in particular, who set about planting evidence on protestors during a State Visit to London of the King and Queen of the Hellenes. One of the unfortunate individuals to suffer at the hands of these dodgy bobbies was Donald, but because of a set of very fortunate circumstances, and some quick thinking, when the case reached trial the falsifying of evidence was possible to prove. Anyone who’s watched a period police drama will be aware of the more grotesque nature of some members of the force, but Donald lived it, and survived it.

I certainly didn’t understand what anarchism was actually about before reading it, and I suspect many don’t if they think it relates solely to the exploits of the Sex Pistols.

It’s a great little book, a fascinating insight and an amazing record  of Donald’s work.

And if you liked that: Consult the CCGB shop for great cartoon gift ideas.

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