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Syd Nicholls Syd Nicholls i(A41809 works by) (birth name: Sydney Wentworth Jordan) (a.k.a. Sydney Wentworth Nicholls)
Born: Established: 1896 Tasmania, ; Died: Ceased: Jun 1977 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Born in Frederick Bay, Tasmania, Syd Nicholls was a pioneer of Australian comic art and the creator of the comic characters 'Fatty Finn' and 'Middy Malone'.

Nicholls studied at the Royal Art Society, and produced cartoons for the International Socialist, the Bulletin and Direct Action during World War I, one of his controversial cartoons landing Direct Action's editor in prison for 'prejudicing recruiting'. This brought him a reputation which made it difficult to get work in comics, so for a while he designed motion picture posters, studying art title design in the United States.

Nicholls later became the senior art editor for the Evening News, and it was during this time that he developed the comic strip 'Fatty Finn' to compete with Jim Bancks's 'Ginger Meggs', and its success allowed Nicholls to help spearhead the popularity and technique of comic strips as distinct from single panel cartoons. In 1928 he also developed an adventure strip, 'Middy Malone'. In 1934, after being sacked from the Evening News, he teamed up with Stan Clements and launched Australia's first locally produced comic book, Fatty Finn's Weekly, a black and white eight page tabloid.

In 1943 he produced The Phantom Pirate and in 1946 he established his Fatty Finn Publications line of comics which included Fatty Finn's Comic, Middy Malone's Magazine and Cooee Comics. Featuring only Australian material, he helped launch the careers of many new Australian artists.

Nicholls also illustrated several information books about ships.


Most Referenced Works


  • A collection of Nicholls' comic books is held in the John Ryan collection of Australian comic books in the National Library archives.
  • Bob Ellis (q.v.) published The Adventures of Fatty Finn in 1980, with illustrations from the original cartoons by Syd Nicholls. Tal Ordell wrote and directed a film, Kid Stakes, based on the Fatty Finn comic series appearing in the Sunday News.
  • Nicholls also produced the comic adventure books Middy Malone, a Book of Pirates [1941?], Middy Malone and the South Sea Pirates [1942], The Further Adventures of Middy Malone: A Book of Pirates [1943], The Phantom Pirate (1943), Middy Malone in the Lost World [194-?], Middy Malone's Bumper Book [1947?], and The Fatty Finn Book: From the Series of Comics Appearing in The Sunday News (1928-[1929]) and Fatty Finn's Comic [1945-].


Personal Awards

2016 Ledger Awards Ledger of Honour (Hall of Fame)
Last amended 20 Apr 2016 11:26:40
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