Inspired by childhood memories of playing in creeks and swamps, Gary Clark created the cartoon strip ‘Swamp’, which was first published in 1981. The inhabitants he regularly saw in and around the local creek such as frogs, toads, mosquitoes, flies, turtles, ducks and rats became the lead characters in his cartoons. Add a toothless crocodile to the environment and a duck who can’t fly and he had a quirky recipe for success.
This local cartoon quickly spread to newspapers throughout Australia and then to Europe, where readers could also enjoy the antics of the Swamp Critters. Ding Duck became a popular character amongst aviation circles worldwide as many a pilot and aviation enthusiast could identify with Ding’s quest to fly. Ding Duck became the mascot for Ryan Campbell who in September 2013 was the youngest pilot to have flown solo around the world.
Swamp’s popularity saw Gary receive the Stanley Award for Best Comic Strip Artist in Australia 11 times, the Rotary National Cartoon Award 12 times and he was a finalist for the 1999 Premier of Queensland Export Achievement Award in Arts/Entertainment. He has self-published 17 cartoon books and had several more published in Scandinavia by Semic Press and Egmont.
On October 11, 2014, Gary joined a select club of cartoonists when he celebrated publishing his 10,000th daily cartoon.
A dedicated Swamp fan compiled a YouTube video showing cartoons from the early days to current.