Standard draws on fresh and veteran cartoon talent

Evening Standard cartoons are the latest department to feel the wind of change since new editor Veronica Wadley took the chair.

On Monday Frank Dickens, creator of long-time success Bristow, returned to the newspaper with a new strip about a cat, Patto.  Dickens’ return follows the hiring of Martha Richler – daughter of Canadian novelist and journalist Mordechai Richler – whose daily pocket cartoon Marf features an Evening Standard girl, a social ingŽnue looking at London with a fresh eye.

Richler, regarded by Wadley as a real "find", has been drawing for the newspaper for 10 weeks. She said she had pestered Wadley for years, while she was at the Daily Mail, to use her work.

"Poor Veronica, she finally gave in," she laughed.

Richler chose the name Marf for her creation because it was what her late father used to call her.

He died of cancer in July and Martha revived the name, which she had used when doing occasional cartoons for Richard Addis at the Globe and Mail, Toronto.

"I felt it brought my father a bit closer. It gives me a special kick when the production editor calls down the hallway, ‘Marf, Marf’, she said.

Explaining how "the annoying girls" in her cartoons came to be drawn, Richler said: "I think I’m a bit of a bimbo manquŽ, because in my life before this I was an art historian.

"I studied at Harvard and taught – a real academic – but I always envied those girls with sunglasses on their heads who seemed not to have a care in the world. I really thought I was cursed because they always seemed to be having a lot more fun. I feel I have always lived a bit vicariously through them."

Richler, 36, began drawing professionally in 1996.

"I truly love it," she commented.

"If my dad were alive, he’d be so chuffed to know I work just down the hall from the sports desk. It’s just a dream come true."

Her best moment so far has been when she sold the cartoon she did of civilian astronaut Mark Shuttleworth to his friend, who will present it to him when he returns from Russia.

Richler is married to former Daily Telegraph journalist Nigel Horne.

lGuy Eaton from the Daily Mail is to become executive features editor of the Standard and Ross Lydall, editor of the Ham & High, will be local government correspondent when he joins on 17 June.

By Jean Morgan

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