Raymond Redvers Briggs is an English illustrator, cartoonist, graphic novelist, and author who has achieved critical and popular success among adults and children. He is best known for his story "The Snowman", which is shown every Christmas on British television in cartoon form and on the stage as a musical.
His first three major works, Father Christmas, Father Christmas Goes on Holiday (both featuring a curmudgeonly Father Christmas who complains incessantly about the "blooming snow"), and Fungus the Bogeyman, were in the form of comics rather than the typical children's-book format of separate text and illustrations. The Snowman (1978) was entirely wordless, and illustrated with only pencil crayons. The Snowman became Briggs' best-known work when in 1982 it was made into an Oscar nominated animated cartoon, that has been shown every year since on British television.
Briggs continued to work in a similar format, but with more adult content, in Gentleman Jim (1980), a sombre look at the working class trials of Jim and Hilda Bloggs, closely based on his parents. When the Wind Blows (1982) confronted the trusting, optimistic Bloggs couple with the horror of nuclear war, and was praised in the British House of Commons for its timeliness and originality. The topic was inspired after Briggs watched a Panorama documentary on nuclear contingency planning, and the dense format of the page was inspired by a Swiss publisher's miniature version of Father Christmas. This book was turned into a two-handed radio play with Peter Sallis in the male lead role, and subsequently an animated film, featuring John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft. The Tin-Pot Foreign General and the Old Iron Woman (1984) was a scathing denunciation of the Falklands War. However, Briggs continued to produce humour for children, in works such as the Unlucky Wally series and The Bear.
He was recognized as The Children's Author of the Year in 1993 by the British Book Awards. His graphic novel Ethel and Ernest, which portrayed his parents' 41-year marriage, won Best Illustrated Book in the 1999 British Book Awards.