From something called, Tony’s Trading Site, I found that Hugh Burnett was an author of cartoon books about monks. There were six books published by Merlin Press Books, first in hardback edition, then later in paperback. There was a further imprint of the series in the US by Fawcett Crest Books. In the UK, the author was listed as ‘Phelix’ because, the cartoonist said he was drawing for the New Statesman while also working for the BBC. I guess you had to be there. Or maybe it was the times, which was from the swinging sixties to the stodgy seventies.
A blogger for the UK Gay community had some questions about two of his cartoons. “Since these are jokes about all male communities some of the jokes can be read as being theoretically gay –i.e, racks of towels monogrammed “his” and “his”. However these are the only couple I can find that suggest that monks may be as only some men are.” Follow the link for the two cartoons.
There is a bit of background on his BBC stint, which also has the following quote: “Born in Sheffield in 1924, he inherited from his father an interest in the spiritual and in journalism. But while his parents were passionate Methodists, Burnett was questioning and sceptical. In his supplementary career as a cartoonist, monks were his favourite figures of fun.”
His obituary, published in January, 2012 has the following: “Before joining the BBC, he had achieved success as a cartoonist, under the pseudonym Phelix, selling his work to Esquire magazine. Later, he contributed to the New Statesman, Private Eye and the Oldie. Having avoided religious conversion at the hands of his Methodist parents, he showed his questioning nature in cartoons featuring monks. These are included in his book collections, such as Top Sacred (1960). His work was also shown in the Private Eye 50th anniversary exhibition, held recently at the Victoria and Albert museum, in London.
Burnett married Simone Le Court de Billot in 1951. She and their three sons predeceased him.”
Born: 21 July, 1924, in in Sheffield. Died: 25 November, 2011, in London, aged 87.