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The last Mere Quacks cartoon for the Diss Express has been drawn by its creator Mike Webb





The creator and artist of the highly-popular Mere Quacks, which has been part of the Diss Express for more than 50 years, has drawn his last cartoon for the newspaper.

Mike Webb, the brains behind the likes of Dinsdale, Joni and co, has been a regular contributor to this paper since 1973.

The Mount Street-born artist, who now lives in Palgrave, said there were no hard feelings with the decision to stop the long-running cartoon.

Mere Quacks artist Mike Webb who has drawn his last cartoon for the Diss Express after more than 50 years of putting pen to paper. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Mere Quacks artist Mike Webb who has drawn his last cartoon for the Diss Express after more than 50 years of putting pen to paper. Picture: Mark Bullimore

He took on the role when a friend of his, who was a reporter on the paper, suggested to the editor that it needed a cartoon.

“The paper had just turned tabloid, and they thought it might suit the new style,” recalled Mike.

“They asked me to do something and suggested the ducks on the Mere as it is central to Diss, so that was my starting point.”

Dinsdale, Joni and co, have been in the paper since 1973. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Dinsdale, Joni and co, have been in the paper since 1973. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Even though Mike had no experience of producing strip cartoon work, he quickly got to work ... and Mere Quacks was born.

“I had always done cartoon-style drawing, but to do a strip was a different kettle of fish and I did not think I would be able to do it for this long, but here I am just over 50 years later,” he said.

The Mere Quacks name was introduced by then editor Kay Hunter and, though the main characters have been ducks, he has added different animals along the way as there is only so much you can do with ducks, he admitted.

One of Mike’s characters, Rodney the Raft Spider, was even shown on national TV after appearing on a show with naturalist Bill Odie when he did a programme about Redgrave and Lopham Fen.

One of Mike’s Mere Quacks cartoon which featured in the Diss Express. Picture: Mark Bullimore
One of Mike’s Mere Quacks cartoon which featured in the Diss Express. Picture: Mark Bullimore

The cartoon helped the now 80-year-old produce a number of books on his work and showcase his other artwork at various exhibitions at the Corn Hall in St Nicholas Street.

Mere Quacks really did help me to get started as a freelance artist, because people knew I was behind it from seeing it in the paper and then they asked me to other things,” he said. “The cartoon has really helped with that.”

Not only did he work on the Diss Express, but he also had a cartoon called Abbey Days about the escapades of King Edmund and Abbot Sampson in our sister paper, the Bury Free Press, between 1986 and 1997, as well as one for the Newmarket Journal.

Mike started drawing Mere Quacks when he was 30. Picture: Mark Bullimore
Mike started drawing Mere Quacks when he was 30. Picture: Mark Bullimore

Famous people have regularly made appearances in Mike’s work.

He said: “I featured the Queen on special occasions, showing her feet and a corgi on a lead for functions in Diss like the jubilee celebrations, making it look as though she was going to be there.

“I also put in Rick Wakeman from time to time and name-dropped a few others when they came this way, on a small scale.”

Topics have included the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit – but have always maintained a local link.

“I made them topical when I could do that, but I said right at the start that I could not do that every week as news changes so quickly,” he said.

“But I always made sure they were connected to Diss in some way.”

Mike said he will now focus on painting pictures at his own pace, which he still enjoys doing.

On his time drawing Mere Quacks, he said: “I have quite enjoyed it and it has always been very easy to find something to put in them every week.

“I would like to thank everyone for buying the paper and enjoying Mere Quacks over the years. It really has been a joy to be part of.”



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