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I drew Gimbley's believe it or not in 1982 and it appeared in a A7-size mini comic called, Imaginatively enough, A7 Comic. I was working in a printers at the time and managed to run off a few hundred of these comics on a litho press, so the print quality was pretty good. They sold for 10p each and found their way around the globe (I used to throw one in any letters I wrote) including the offices of The New Musical Express, who actually gave it a review. At the time this was something of a first - a comic being reviewed in a music paper.

A copy of A7 Comics also ended up in the hands of Eddie Campbell who wrote me a nice letter, talking about the comic's "throw-away quality", which he meant as a compliment and which I totaly agreed with. Curiously enough, I came across a set of the two A7 Comics on ebay last year and someone had bid something like $20 for them! I still have some 50 copies left so I could make a fortune now...ha!

The character of Old Gimbley was based on a sketch I did of a gentleman in the Queen Anne pub (that's him in the first and third panel). In a bizarre twist of fate, about 20 years later I would spend many a Saturday afternoon in the Duke of Malborough pub in this very man's company. It was gratifying to know that he was a real raconteur and kept most of pub amused with his tales. I never dare tell him about how he helped spark the Tales From Gimbley. The last I heard was that Roly (that was how he was always referred to) was still alive (he must be in his 90's now) though I doubt whether he'd venture into the Queen Anne anymore, it now being a Gay bar.

I would call in at the Queen Anne on my way to my girlfriend's house. Fill myself with some "dutch courage" and the like.

phil elliott