Australian political cartoonist born in Hobart. Tasmania, in December 1928.
Since World War II a significant factor in the style of Australian political cartooning has been the filtered influence of the drawing and presentation initialed by William (“Wep”) Pidgeon during the 1940s. In theme, the “grand manner” approach, the sort previously drawn with allegorical or symbolic figures labeled “Nationhood” soberly indicating rising suns labeled “Hoalth-Wealth-Prosperity”, has completely disappeared. One of the present-day press cartoonists to favor humor above moral posturing is the Melbourne Sun-News Piclorial’s Geoffrey (“Jeff”) Hook. Jeff has the distinction of being the first political cartoonist to work for the Sun since it was founded in 1922.
Hook joined the art staff of this morning paper in April 1964 as a layout artist, and during this period, keen to be a cartoonist, he fed cartoon ideas to the editor, who eventually asked Jeff to produce one finished cartoon a week, then two, then five a week plus a football cartoon for the Sporting Globe, another of the Herald group weekly newspapers. In this early period of his career he assisted with feature page layouts as well!
Jeff took a night-school commercial art course at the Hobart Technical School while working as a public servant. He secured a job with the Hobart Mercury as a press artist in 1959, coming to Melbourne five years later. Politically. Jeff has stated that he prefers no party but remains permanently in opposition to all, believing that this is the way the man in the street is most of the time.
His cartoons, drawn with bold lines, with their first-class portrait caricature of personalities in politics, are compulsively readable and display well on the tabloid page of the Sun. And, as in the old Cole´s Funny Picture Book puzzle-drawings – “Here is the pig, here is the horse, and here is his dog. Where is the farmer”? – or as with the Souter cat or Emile Mercier’s gravy cans, Jeff hides away in his cartoons his personal pun, a small fishhook, the discovery of which gives Sun readers a feeling of triumphant satisfaction.
None of Jeff’s cartoons have been published as a collection, but he has illustrated a number of books displaying in another context his fine comic skill.
the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons 1981