Remembering Jack Those of us who grew up in the late 1960s and early 1970s, we who have original Beatles' albums, and who remember Paul and Barry Ryan, read every word of the music press, With my good friend John Williams, we were music mad. Each week we would buy music papers, he NME, me Disc. Occasionally one of us would buy something more serious, like Melody Maker or Sounds. Disc (and Music Echo) was always a favourite. At the end of the 1960s, 1970 to be precise, Disc began a cartoon series drawn by one J Edward Oliver, about the tales of the eponymous hero E C Ryder. I remember so well the week when Jack's strip first appeared in Disc. We were amused, but didn't think it would last. How wrong we were (and it's fascinating to compare the first and last episodes of the strip). The series began quietly, being an amusing tale with a few witty jokes, but, as time went on, it grew in size, eventually to a full page, JEO drew other items for the papers and wrote words, new characters appeared that became the nation's favourite, there was a fan club and a Friends of J Edward Oliver Society. It became addictive. It was essential reading. Then it was the first thing we would read. Jack's contributions would be half a page, then one page, then more, words as well as pictures, colour covers. We had Izzy, Fresco, the Morgue Mistress, the Invisible Man, E C Ryder... We would talk about it. It was a part of our lives, we grew up on it. Eventually, Disc (and Music Echo) was taken over by Record Mirror. Times had changed, as had the music. The Bay City Rollers ruled the airwaves. But JEO's strip continued. It was the best thing in the paper, even if it was only half a page and JEO was having a battle with the Editors. Maybe his heart wasn't in it by the end? The strip was axed in 1977. All my collection of papers went into the trash, but not before the collection of strips and other material had been rescued and stuck into Boot's the Chemist scrap books. Being a bit of a hoarder, I'd kept all the copies. There were some gaps - I remember trudging round London trying to find a copy some weeks to be met with "they're on strike, no deliveries" - but only a few. If I had all those papers now, they would be worth a fortune. I cut out the strips and all the JEO material and pasted in my Boot's the Chemist scrap books. I took them with me everywhere. Here we are, all these years later and I still have them and, yes, I still look at them. I had often wondered, who was JEO, what was he doing, perhaps he was writing his strip somewhere else and I was missing it? Why was he so obsessed with Madeline Smith?" Maybe J Edward Oliver was just a pseudonym for someone else and had never really existed. Had anyone ever seen him? If he did exist, what was he doing now? Living in America, designing Web sites? Married to Madeline Smith? Rich and famous? So 2000 came, and I really wanted to make a website that was unique. And look, there's no J Edward Oliver web site. Having made a very small site that summer, I found an address - Dartford. In truth, I didn't really think that JEO existed as a person, perhaps it's a pseudonym? But JEO was in the Yellow Pages too, as a cartoonist. It took me the best part of a year to pluck up the courage to write, but I did, sending stamps. Nothing... And then one day, a recycled brown envelope with a drawing that said "Fresco lives". The letters came, there was correspondence, then e-mails and more material. Some of it was serious, some full of memories, some "don't publish this...". On other pages, I have published some of this material for the first time. We had much in common, apart from Jack's work: magic, 3D, calculators, board games, myths and lemmings, the English language... Jack loved his blogs and was proud of his poetry (but he hated the spam that his blog generated). He worked hard at making people laugh. We only disagreed on things a couple of times. One was when he wanted to colour Fresco. I hate 'colorized' films, Jack quite liked them. To me, Fresco lives in a black and white world, and he always will. Jack will always be in that simpler world for me. "Happy times". It’s great that people still remember Jack. It’s amazing how many people say they still have collections of his work, a little yellowed and faded, but aren’t we all?