Object of the Moment: Wildcat Anarchist Comics by Donald Rooum
Born in Bradford in 1928, Donald Rooum is an activist, anarchist, cartoonist and writer. He studied graphic design in the city before moving to London and his cartoons have been published in Peace News, The Spectator and Private Eye. Donald’s cartoons explore themes of peace, war, anarchy and international relations. His comic strip ‘Wildcat’ has been published in the anarchist paper Freedom since 1974 and numerous ‘Wildcat’ books have been published by the Freedom Press, an anarchist organisation that Donald has been closely associated with for his entire career. A copy of the book of ‘Wildcat’ comics is featured in the current Cartoons for Peace exhibition.
In 1963 Donald was thrust into the public eye due as a result of the ‘Challenor Affair’. Arrested whilst taking part in a demonstration against the official state visit of the Royal Family of Greece, he was falsely accused of carrying a brick which was later found to have been planted on him by police officer Harold Challenor. Donald contested the charges and was later proven innocent. His conviction was overturned and the case was pivotal in unmasking police corruption at demonstrations.
In a long and varied career, Donald spent 14 years as a Lecturer in Typographic Design at the London College of Printing (now London College of Communication) and is a member of the Royal Society of Biology after studying for a degree in Life Sciences from the Open University in the 1970s.
There are a number of Donald’s cartoons at the Peace Museum in the Cartoons for Peace exhibition up until the New Year. These include a copy of the book of ‘Wildcat’ Comics and issues of Peace News featuring his cartoons.
Written by Molly Horner (Collections Volunteer)