Cartoons: Devlin Waugh and Mr Joshua

Two cartoons with connections to Evelyn Waugh have recently come to our attention. The first is a character named “Devlin Waugh” that has appeared in various British cartoon anthologies dating back to 1992. That was when the character was invented, according to Wikipedia, by writer John Smith and artist Sean Phillips. “Devlin Waugh” has been described variously as a “homosexual vampire” or a “camp homosexual exorcist priest” who lives 122 years in the future. His creators provide this description which has a few attributes that might, with some imagination, apply to his namesake:

Smith describes Waugh as a hedonist, “a languorous upper-class misfit, a fop, an ex-public schoolboy with a neat line in sarcasm. A lounge lizard. Imagine Noël Coward as played by Arnold Schwarzenegger”. Phillips visualised him missing a tooth like Terry-Thomas.

This is quoted from the Wikipedia site devoted to “Devlin Waugh” which, according to the current iteration, is being considered for deletion from the website. The Wikipedia entry also contains several references to those comics and paperback reprints where the character has appeared as well as a history of authorship which has changed over the years. For our purposes, the most interesting of the publications devoted to the character would appear to be the collections of articles featuring Devlin Waugh taken from various sources. A new collection has been announced for release next year and is being offered for sale on Amazon. This is entitled Devlin Waugh: Blood Debt and will be published next July. Earlier collections include Devlin Waugh: Swimming in Blood and Devlin Waugh: Red Tide.

Duncan McLaren introduces the other cartoon character with a Waugh connection. This is on his website where he has recently added a page tracking Waugh’s post war years at Piers Court, much taken up with his children. The new post (entitled “Evelyn’s Pants”) includes several cartoon drawings from an artist known as “@Pants” and his character “Mr. Joshua”. According to McLaren:

He is a cartoonist, based in New York (I think), and certain aspects of his creation, Mr Joshua, strongly remind me of Mr Evelyn Waugh in his Piers Court years.   […] The Mr. Joshua masthead reminds us that Evelyn liked to wear a collar and tie (usually) and to comb his receding hair (usually) and go to the cinema in Dursley four times a week to take his mind off the ticking of his life’s clock. […] By the late 40s, Evelyn had several children. And so did Mr Joshua.

The posting continues through several references by Waugh to postwar life at Piers Court with his brood, together with actual photographs of the household in that period. These are interspersed with drawings from the Mr. Joshua posts which often bear a resemblance to Waugh and his family descriptions.

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