Murray Ball, the cartoonist behind Footrot Flats, has passed away. Footrot Flats is my favourite newspaper comic of all time, narrowly nudging Peanuts into the number two spot. Murray Ball made me want to draw backgrounds in pictures instead of leaving them blank expanses of white nothingness, and indeed, as a kid I learned to draw many of the plants that I saw in Footrot Flats. I used them in fantasy landscapes, since they weren’t plants I’d ever seen; the first time I went to New Zealand my eyes bugged out of my head, because all of a sudden I was surrounded by the fantasy plants I’d been drawing.

Rest in peace, Murray Ball. You’re with Horse now.