Sad news to report that Terry Wiley, a wonderful writer and artist from the Brit comics scene and a personal favourite of mine, passed away on the 8th of September following a long battle with brain cancer. You may not have known his name and you may not know his work, but he was a brilliant writer and artist and his passing is such a terrible thing. He had been in hospice care in South Shields, with his partner, Cindi, together with many well-wishers, and fellow comic artists and writers, who’ve been visiting him in the past few weeks and months.
With Sleaze Castle, Petra Etcetera, Surreal School Stories, and his most recent work, VerityFair, Wiley showed not just a comedic genius, capable of raising a laugh and a smile in this reader, no matter what else was going on in the world, but an artistic genius, with an ability to create works full of invention and surprise, all accompanied by a truly wonderful artistic style.
I first knew Terry Wiley from his work on Sleaze Castle, with co-creator Dave McKinnon. It was a spectacularly different comic and one many of us in the UK scene instantly fell in love with. I was working at Nostalgia & Comics at the time, the famous Birmingham comic shop, and was developing a UK indie presence there that included the early work of creators such as Paul Grist, Paul Rainey, Marc Laming, and Sleaze Castle naturally sat alongside these. Through the years, I was in regular contact with Terry about his work, reviewing it at every opportunity to get it in front of as many fans and soon to be fans as possible. Terry was never huge, never that well known, but he was always beloved by those who knew his work, and especially by those who knew both the work and the man.
Ironically, when last I wrote of Terry’s work, it was for an article picking the top ten best funny comics of all time. Sleaze Castle was always going to be in there. Sadly, I don’t believe Terry ever got to see the finished piece, but I’m sure he would have been both chuffed to have been included, and horrified to see his name up there with the likes of Ken Reid, Raymond Briggs, and Leo Baxendale. But, he should be remembered, as all who knew his work will surely remember him, as one of the greats, unsung perhaps, but definitely one of the greats. Here’s what I had to say in that piece:
This one you possibly won’t know, but this epic tale of perpetual student Jocasta Dribble and her chums was a wonderful sitcom of a comic. This everyday student adventure takes a huge and hilarious detour via the best of Douglas Adams, when Jocasta’s foreign student pal is revealed as Lady Panda Quartile, ruler from another dimension.
Terry Wiley, a great loss to comics. Everyone who knew him will miss him terribly and the world of comics is sadly lacking a unique talent today.
His work is still available on Amazon, Comixology, and elsewhere. Do me and his many fans a favour and go and investigate this great comic artist’s work today.