April 2003 At last! Here we go with the next Fresco strip! I did wonder how often to send them: some people requested the cartoons daily, others weekly. To avoid overdoing it, I've decided to e-mail one a week, except maybe for occasional special occasions. One final point: the last number in the subject line is my own anti-virus code. It should always be the date that I send the e-mail (today's is 134 - 13th April). Not necessarily the date you RECEIVE it, of course. It's just to confirm that the message really does come from me and is not a subject line stolen from past files on my computer Tuesdays is the one day that I hardly ever check my e-mails due to the day having been abolished in 1982. It was hushed-up by the government. Also, that's the evening I collect the football pools. It continually amazes me how you manage to spot letters from Fresco-Le-Raye, discussions about Abolish Tuesdays and so forth. I'm delighted that you pass these references on to me and I always check them out. I guessed that the Fresco letter was probably from Alan Shaw, a fact borne out when I checked your message pages. I've finally been brave enough to enter the discussion about the annual covers. It wasn't as difficult as I feared! I also tried to contribute to the Yahoo exchange but it wouldn't let me. Actually, Patrick Brown gave basically the correct interpretation of the Abolish Tuesdays slogan. I have no objection to revealing the truth - I always meant to send it to you one day. If you'd like, I'll send you the explanation to ALL the 'hidden' items, including the warthog and the box with a handle on it. Regarding the latter, the Toon Hound's interpretation is again incorrect! Which reminds me, I've received an e-mail from the Hound requesting more info on Fresco, which I shall be happy to send. Sometime soon (see letter below). I was interested to see the 26pigs site. I see that there were letters from Lew Stringer, an ex-Buster artist who once listed ME as one of his influences! You are doubtless right - there's probably loads I could tell them. But I wouldn't know where to start! (26pigs was a comics site, now closed) April 2003 I've now had a very pleasing e-mail from Jeremy White, who says that he used to draw my characters on his exercise books. I must tell him that Izzy Ryder was a lemming, not a bear, hence the overwhelming desire to go for a swim. I must admit that he looked more like a bear, though. I don't think lemmings are very picturesque.
Dear Frazer or possibly Frazier, Thank you for your exciting e-mail! I'd be most delighted if you ran a feature on Fresco. Feel free to illustrate it with any of the strips I've sent you. I wasn't sure if it was factual or fictional info you needed, but here goes with a brief bio: In the 29th May, 1971 episode of 'E. C. Ryder', my cartoon strip in the popular popular music paper 'DISC', the titular hero and his sidekick, Elf Garnett, had been transported back into the Stone Age. A distant silhouette of a raging prehistoric monster could be seen thundering towards them. In the following issue (5th June), the monster was revealed. At the conclusion of the next chapter, our heroes were frozen in ice, thus enabling them to return to the present (well, 1971), leaving the nameless brontosaurus never to be seen again. Or so I thought. A couple of months later, Gavin Petrie, the reclusive DISC Editor, said that he thought that the dinosaur had been an interesting character and suggested that I might bring him back. And so, in the issue dated 26th February, 1972, guess who is discovered in a remote cave? Strangely, the dinosaur has now shrunk (previously he had been big enough to ride on) and has lost the ability to talk! As the years wore on, the character grew in popularity, despite his catch-phrase of 'Nobody loves a two-million-year-old dinosaur'. He acquired the name Fresco-Le-Raye thanks to a reader's entry in a 'Name The Dinosaur' competition and had his own fan club of almost over two thousand members. Where are they now? When DISC was taken over by Record Mirror, Fresco-Le-Raye featured largely in the publicity and even appeared on their logo, letterheads and T-shirts. Finally, in 1977, the strip (latterly titled 'J. Edward Oliver') was suddenly dropped. They told me that, in the era of punk, my style was no longer appropriate! For the next twenty years or so, I wrote and drew strips for Fleetway. When it became apparent that their last surviving title, Buster, couldn't last much longer, I decided that the time had come for me to return to my original ambition of producing a daily newspaper strip. In the days of Disc and Record Mirror, I had resisted making Fresco the lead character, thinking that this might lead to a lack of variety. However, I now thought that it was worth a try, given Fresco's proven past popularity. Sadly, no newspaper showed any interest, so I worked on various other pilots (with the same result). I thought no more about Fresco until a former reader, Pete Sanders, tracked me down and revealed that he had set up a web site in my honour! Then, in March '03, Pete sent me an e-mail that said 'Don't forget Fresco's two-million-and-thirty-first birthday on March 10th'. This inspired me to draw a brand new Fresco strip, which I e-mailed to everyone in my address book. While working on this cartoon, an idea for the next one came me, then the next and so on. The bad news is that I don't get paid for this. The good news is that I'm now e-mailing a weekly Fresco cartoon to anyone who wants it. Free! I'd like to be able to tell a national newspaper that the strip is currently being read by 2,000 people. Only 1,959 to go! The next chapter in the Fresco saga is up to you! Well, there you go, Fraze. I hope the above is of some use to you. Feel free to shorten it (free) or let me know if you need more. Before I leave, here are a couple of other points: I notice that, in Mark Bennington's interview, he refers to me as 'JED'. This seems to be spreading, so please can we nip it in the bud? I've never been known as Jed. What he actually meant was 'JEO' (my initials)! Next, if you should ever desire it, I could probably supply you with a complete list of my work for IPC, compiled from my financial archives! Next (Part Two), though your interpretation of my box with a handle on it is ingenious, it is not, in fact, correct. Nor, sad to say, are your thoughts on 'Abolish Tuesdays'. For someone so broke, I seem to be amazingly busy, but when I get a moment, I've promised to send Pete a list of the reasons behind all my 'hidden' items. I'll send you a copy, too. I've finally worked out the reason for your 'Toon Hound' nom de web. It's obviously an anagram of 'To Nunhood'. Or maybe even 'Oh, no do-nut!' Best wishes, Jack.  
JEO original sketch