FRANK MINNITT (1884-1958)

Frank Minnitt's Billy Bunter as he appeared in Knockout (No. 981) in the late 1950s - original board (detail)

Frank Minnitt is best known for his depiction of Billy Bunter – “the Fattest Schoolboy on Earth!” - in Knockout from 1939-1958. When Frank Minnitt was young he was a boxer and at age 14 he was the London Junior Boxing Champion. During the 1914-1918 war Minnitt served in the Coldstream Guards and was sent to France where he suffered injuries from mustard gas which effected him for the rest of his life.

After the war he had a series of jobs before becoming an artist. Around 1920 Minnitt began to contribute single joke cartoons to the comics of the Amalgamated Press (AP). Subsequently his work appeared in various titles including Comic Life, Joker, Merry & Bright, Butterfly, Jolly and Sparkler. From 1936 he began to submit work to D.C. Thomson and his work appeared in the Fun Section of the Sunday Post and the Dandy.

He took over Billy Bunter’s picture strip in AP’s Knockout comic in 1939 drawing the feature in funnies style and adding a new character, Jones Minor. It was a different Greyfriars School from that described by Charles Hamilton in The Magnet but it became immediately popular with Minnitt continuing to draw Bunter until shortly before he died on 12 May 1958. In the mid to late 1940s his work appeared in a score of different short-run titles issued by small publishers. These included Comicolour, Jingo Comic, Swell Comic, Big Laugh, Paget's Super Duper Comic and many more.

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