Frank John Minnitt was born in Southgate, London, on 3 September 1894, the youngest of five sons of Mary Ann Smith (1854-1943) and William Robinson Minnitt (1858-1927). Educated at the Hugh Myddleton School in Islington, aged 14 he was the London Junior Boxing Champion; later, he followed his father into working for the General Post Office before serving with the Coldstream Guards during the First World War. He was sent to France where he suffered injuries from mustard gas which affected him for the rest of his life. After the war Minnitt returned to the General Post Office, later working as a welder with a taxi firm before becoming an artist. A completely self-taught cartoonist, around 1920 Minnitt began to contribute single joke cartoons to the comics of the Amalgamated Press. Subsequently his work appeared in various titles including Comic Life, Joker, Merry & Bright, Butterfly, Jolly and Sparkler.
From 1936 he began to submit work to DC Thomson and his drawings appeared in the Fun Section of the The Sunday Post and The Dandy. He took over drawing Billy Bunter’s picture strip from C. H. Chapman in the Amalgamated Press' Knock-Out comic in 1939. Minnitt drew a beaming and bouncy Bunter, which at first followed Chapman's style, then later branched into a style of his own, concentrating on slapstick humour. By 1942 the Famous Five had vanished from the strip, replaced by Jones Minor, who had all the good qualities Bunter lacked, but who was prone to being led astray by Bunter. The form-master, Mr Quelch, stayed (at least in name), but he lost his dignity and aloofness. It was an entirely different Greyfriars School from that described by Charles Hamilton in The Magnet but it became immediately popular, with Minnitt continuing to draw Bunter until shortly before he died in 1958. In the mid to late 1940s his work appeared in a number of different short-run titles issued by small publishers; these included Comicolour, Jingo, Swell Comic, Big Laugh, and various others. During World War II he lived in Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.
He married Alice Davie in 1919, and had a daughter Betty (1920-2009). He married Evelynne Thelma Snell (1912-2003) in 1947 and with her had a son, John Frank Minnitt (born 1950). He died on 12 May 1958. On his death the drawing of Billy Bunter in Knockout was taken over by artists Eric Roberts and Reg Parlett.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 'Sothebys called in to verify cartoon copper' - Echo 15 August 2010
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 'Billy Bunter in the Knockout'
- ↑ Frank Minnitt on Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Frank Minnitt by Alan Clark (Golden Fun, Summer 1986)
- Knockout Comic: An Illustrated Guide by David Ashford, John Allen-Clarke & Steve Holland (CJ Publications, 1997)