Photostory #514: Ben Wicks: Master of the Mini-Cartoon

John Reeves
National Film Board of Canada
Release Date
January 1, 1971
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archive
Main Text
In progress Photostory 1/5 : Spanning a bridge of a million years in the art of communication is the prolific output of Ben Wicks, Canada's internationally-renowned cartoonist. With definite echoes of the caveman drawings left from the beginnings of human time, his deft outlines of day-to-day life during the dawn of the atomic age may well be the most succinct illustrations accompanying the future history books for our dome-headed successors in eras to come. _x000B__x000B_Syndicated by The Los Angeles Times and Toronto Telegram newspapers, Ben Wicks is one of the most widely distributed political cartoonists in the world. His daily cartoon appears in 162 newspapers in North America as well as The London Sunday Times and newspapers in Australia and the West Indies. Readership estimates are at 50-million daily. His first work was published in The London Daily Mirror, the world's largest newspaper in circulation ratings. _x000B__x000B_Wicks left England to live in Canada in 1957. His first work in North America was published by Saturday Evening Post, which said of him: "A cartoonist of great professionalism and unusual originality." In August 1967, Time Magazine devoted a full page to Wicks, remarking on his "uncanny knack of anticipating news and commenting on it with a Delphic twist." _x000B__x000B_Ben is a weekly political observer on CBC Radio and a frequent guest on CBC Television. A winner of the Montreal Cartoonist Salon, 1967, with entrants from 40 countries, Wicks is now working on a series of books under the heading "Ben Wicks on_." _x000B__x000B_The first three, "How To Get A Man", "Back Seat Driving And Other Things" and "The Naked Gourmet" have already been published. Wicks is now working on the first animated political cartoons for ABC Television, Australia, after having completed a series of films for the BBC in England and CTV in Canada. A periodic traveler to various parts of the world, Ben's illustrated articles such as `Wicks in Jamaica', `Wicks in Biafra', or `Wicks at the White House' have vividly brought his 50-million readers to `on the scene' doorsteps around the globe. _x000B__x000B_A journalist first, Ben Wicks constantly monitors the domestic and international political and social kaleidoscopes. This home work, combined with a flair for guessing right, has earned him a reputation for clairvoyance with his cartoons repeatedly locking in well with tomorrow's news. Add to this his fine sense of the ridiculous and a keen streak of satire, and his continuing success in the field of communications is easily understood. _x000B__x000B_At present Ben Wicks is producing a series of 10-second animated political cartoons for television. In the interests of speed to keep pace with political events, a three-dimensional box (a modern version of a Punch and Judy show) becomes the stage. The world's leading figures, in cut-out form, are moved in apportioned slots in animated movements synchronized with sound. The results are video cartoons that match Wicks' newspaper cartoons for up-to-the-minute news value and comment. _x000B__x000B_Ben Wicks lives in Toronto with his wife, Doreen, and their three children, Vincent, 11, Susan, 10, and baby daughter, Kim.