Jack Greenall was born in Whitefield, Lancashire, in 1905. He sold his first cartoon at the age of fifteen, and his first strip - "Pa, Ma and the Boy" - appeared in Pictorial Weekly in 1929. He also contributed cartoons to Ideas, Punch - from 1934, Bystander, Passing Show, Razzle and drew for children's comics such as Sparkler and Jolly Comic.
Greenall's early cartoon series were short-lived, and it was not until he created the single-frame "Useless Eustace" that he found a successful format. The first "Useless Eustace" cartoon appeared in the Daily Mirror on 21 January 1935, and thereafter appeared in every issue of the paper. The name Eustace had been suggested by the genie in William Darlington's novel Alf's Button, which appeared as a film in 1930, but the character itself was not modelled on anyone. As Greenall explained, "he is a hotch-potch of the many asses who cheerfully go through life doing the wrong thing at the wrong time."
At first drawn as a typical office-worker, with Winnie and little Walter waiting at home for him in the suburbs, Greenall later transformed Eustace into a comic symbol of the common man, and gave him any trade or profession that fitted the joke. Postcards featuring the character's antics were also published by Raphael Tuck and Sons Ltd, and a variant, "Useless Eunice", appeared in Woman's Sunday Mirror. By the time that Greenall retired from the Daily Mirror in 1975, Eustace had appeared in over 7,000 cartoons. The "Eustace" series continued in a modernised version - no longer "Useless" - drawn by Peter Maddocks.
In Drawing Secrets! Greenall recommended that students should use HB pencil, Waverley pen, No. 2 or No. 3 brushes and black ink, and it seems likely that he used these himself. Jack Greenall died in Lancing, Sussex, in July 1983.
- The Times, 9 July 1983, "Jack Greenall".
1413 uncatalogued originals Useless Eustace strip [UE0001 - 1413]
60s, 70s (1969 - 72)back to top