Hugh McNeil (1910-1969)

Hugh McNeil's Deed-A-Day Danny from Knock-Out (issue 92 - 1941) - original board (detail)

Hugh McNeil's Dick Turpin from Sun circa 1951 - original board (detail)

Hugh McNeil was born in Moss Side, Manchester on 13 December 1910, the youngest of four children. After leaving school he became an apprentice at the Keyebon Press, an Art Studio, and he also attended evening classes at the Manchester School of Art. His first comic work was for D.C. Thompson's Topical Times (late 1920s). When Thompson's started the Beano in 1938 McNeill's work was represented - his most important set during this period was Pansy Potter the Strongman's Daughter.

Shortly thereafter he started working for the Amalgamated Press under the teutalage of editor Leonard Matthews - his first recorded work being Professor P. Nutts for Jolly Comic. McNeill worked on Deed-a-Day Danny from the first issue of the Knock-Out comic (4th March 1939). He also contributed Our Ernie. These two strips quickly saw McNeil rising to the top rank of British comic artists.

During the 1939-45 war he was in the Royal Army Service Corps and Royal Engineers. Whilst serving in North Africa he continued to send his Deed-a-Day Danny strips in by airmail letter. After the war he contributed to Knockout (a name change had happened to Knock-Out), Comet, Sun (Dick Turpin: a change of pace for McNeill to an adventure strip - these were later reprinted in Thriller Picture Library), Cowboy Comics Library (a Buck Jones episode originally intended for the Australian market that ended up in issue 3), Jack and Jill, Playhour (Harold Hare and Nutty Noodle) and Harold Hare's Weekly. During the 1960's he worked on the eponymous strip for Buster. McNeil was an artist that refused to be categorised: he worked on nursery comics as well as rousing adventure strips. McNeil died on 22 November 1969.

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