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cartoonist, writer and actor, was born in Weymouth, England. He came to Australia as a child. He had no formal art training but instead served his apprenticeship as a student on Sydney university newspapers. His mate Bob Ellis had begun contributing to the Nation Review in February 1971 and Cook broke into cartooning there in August [or September acc. Walsh, 24] 1971, e.g. “A kiss will be quite sufficient, Hardy [who is taking off his pants in front of dying Nelson]” 13 May 1972 (ill. Walsh, 114). He worked for the National Times in the late 1970s, e.g. State Types 1978 (ill. King, 236). Two Cook originals of the 1970s are at ML PXD 764.

A prolific cartoonist, using a mapping pen on Hammer 4G paper in 1988 (acc. Foyle 95), Cook has contributed to very many major and minor newspapers and magazines, including Cleo , Two Weeks and Matilda . With David Bromley , Jenny Coopes , Bill Farr , Randy Glusac and Ward O’Neill , he illustrated Alexander Buzo’s Tautology: I don’t want to sound incredulous but I can’t believe it (Penguin, Victoria, 1981). In recent years he has mainly drawn for the Bulletin , where he also writes a weekly satirical column. Indeed, satiric writing has increasingly taken over from the drawing, and he is also a writer and actor for TV (and puppet theatre).

A member of the Australian Black and White Artists’ Club, Cook lives in Glebe, Sydney, married to the comic actor Jean Kitson. He has a large collection of magazines from the 1950s and ’60s and is a longtime fan of Mad . His cartoons have influenced many others, especially Mark Knight who drew for the Melbourne Herald in the late 1980s in a very similar style. He regularly exhibits in the NMA’s annual Bringing the House Down , e.g. two cartoons from the Bulletin – 'Khaki election’ and 'Yes & no’ – in 2001 (NMA website).

Writers:
Kerr, Joan
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Date written:
1996
Last updated:
2017