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 Ron Embleton  (1930 - 1988)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom      Known for: illustration, comics

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Penthouse "Oh, Wicked Wanda!" Page Original Art, Group of 4 (Penthouse, undated).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Ronald Sydney Embleton (October 6, 1930 - February 13, 1988)

He was a British comics artist and illustrator whose work appeared in Express Weekly, TV Century 21, Princess, Boy's World and Look and Learn, among others.

Embleton was born in London and submitted his first cartoon at the age of nine and, aged 12, won a national poster competition.  After training at the South East Essex Technical College and School of Art he worked in a commercial studio for six months during which time he began freelancing comic strips to independent publishers. When Embleton turned 18, hewas called up for his National Service.

In 1950, Embleton returned to freelancing, setting up a studio with a schoolfriend, Terry Patrick, and James Bleach, whom Patrick knew from life-drawing classes.  The three quickly established themselves with various independent publishers -- Scion, TV Boardman, Norman Light, DCMT and others—and Embleton also began contributing to Amalgamated Press's Comet, Comic Cuts, Cowboy Comics and Super Detective Library.

Embleton's finest work during this period was for Mickey Mouse Weekly where he drew Rogers' Rangers (1953), Strongbow the Mighty (1954–57) and Don o' the Drums (1957), and Express Weekly, where he took over the artwork (and subsequently the scripting) of Wulf the Briton.  It was on the latter that he developed his techniques for working in color, creating over 300 pages of meticulously painted artwork during his four-year run on the strip (1956–60).

Embleton's fascination with historical characters and settings served him well with later strips, Wrath of the Gods (Boy's World, 1963) and Johnny Frog (Eagle, 1964), although Embleton was equally at home with contemporary adventure strips (Biggles, TV Express, 1960) and science fiction: his artwork for Stingray in TV Century 21 led to the show's creator, Gerry Anderson, inviting Embleton to provide artwork to grace the closing credits of his new show, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

Embleton's ten paintings depicted Captain Scarlet in various states of peril and appeared under the closing credits at the end of every episode.  After shooting they were stored in producer Reg Hill's safe where they remained in perfect condition for more than thirty years.  In 2003, all ten paintings were sold by Reg Hill's estate at Christie's auction house in South Kensington: the pieces went for between £2500 and £3500 each.  Shortly afterwards, publisher Iconagraph produced limited edition versions of the art, each signed by Francis Matthews, the voice of Captain Scarlet.

In the 1960s, Embleton was also a prolific contributor to Look and Learn, producing illustrations for numerous series, including The Bath Road (1962), Pioneers Across the Atlantic (1962), The Travels of Marco Polo (1964), Men of the Jolly Roger (1965), Rogers' Rangers (1970) and Legends of the Rhineland (1972–73) among others; in 1969, Embleton illustrated a fill-in story in the long-running Trigan Empire strip.  During this period, Embleton also provided illustrations for titles aimed at younger children, among them Playhour, Once Upon a Time, The Storyteller and numerous books.

In 1971, he became a frequent contributor to IPC's World of Wonder magazine, a similar publication to Look and Learn which also relied on painted illustrations by a roster of British artists.  Embleton provided artwork for long-running features such as Men of Waterloo'(1971), Ships of the Seven Seas (1971), The Winning of the West (1972) and Mutiny! (1972), as well as contributing a number of cover paintings (issues 118, 124 and 131).  Late in 1973, he returned to World of Wonder to illustrate an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

As well as providing illustrations for historical books and prints, Embleton spent much of the remainder of his career illustrating full-color comic strips for Penthouse. Oh, Wicked Wanda! (1973–80) was written by British author Frederic Mullally and poked fun at politics and sexual mores; it was followed by Sweet Chastity, written by Penthouse founder Bob Guccione.

Embleton died of a heart attack at the age of 57.


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