We’ve just found out that we’ve lost Murray Ball, a comics legend here in New Zealand. Footrot Flats (as well as Stanley, which were much harder to find) inspired both Becky and I to do what we do today.
His comics captured rural New Zealand in a way no other artist could. muddy fields, tussock, cabbage trees and rugged native bush pervaded his strips. He made our landscape iconic in a way.
He then gave it a soul with his lovable characters, Wall, Dog, Cooch, Horse, Rangi, and Cheeky Hobson.
My brother Ben collected the editions religiously, including the puppy dog miniature editions. I remember they were policed strictly due to the fact I was a kid, and anything put near a kid may as well get thrown into a fire. So when I could I’d beg mum to buy me a copy when we were at a second hand store. To this day, whenever I find a second hand book store I’ll go to the comics section and pick up the inevitable Murray Ball book lurking there.
The box now contains both our collections and sits in my spare room beside my own comics I’ve created.
Murray Ball, we’ll miss you.