Jerry Dumas: 1930 – 2016




Detroit native, Jerry Dumas, who began contributing spot drawings and cartoons to The New Yorker in 1959, has died at age 86 according to The National Cartoonists Society (the NCS). Mr. Dumas’s cartoons for the New Yorker were few but plentiful.  Not a one of them were single panel; all were spreads or multi-panel. The snippet above is from a two-page spread in the issue of July 12 1976, “Little Known Moments in the History of Baseball”; Mr. Dumas’s first cartoon in the magazine (August 27, 1960), a thirteen part drawing,  took up nearly two pages. His friendly, easy-going line (for his New Yorker work) was in the school of Gardner Rea and George Booth.

In a notice from the NCS, Mr. Dumas is quoted as saying this about his earliest cartooning days: “I used to get on the bus and go into downtown Detroit and sell cartoons to Teen magazine for $2,” he remembered. “I really thought I had made it. I was aiming for The New Yorker and The Saturday Evening Post.”

The NCS notice continued:

He finally was published in the The Saturday Evening Post at age twenty-six and The New Yorker at twenty-nine.After finishing high school, he joined the Air Force and was stationed in Arizona. He remained in the Grand Canyon State to attend Arizona State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in English literature in 1955. Fifty years later, he was invited back to speak at commencement.In 1956, Dumas decided he wanted to be a writer, a cartoonist or both. He went to New York, where he eventually met Mort Walker through a mutual friend. They have worked together for more than sixty years on both Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois.Dumas co-created Sam’s Strip with Mort Walker in 1961, which was resurrected as Sam and Silo in 1977, and has continued that strip on his own ever since. In addition, he collaborated on Benchley with Mort Drucker and Rabbits Rafferty and McCall of the Wild with Mel Crawford. Dumas, who wrote a regular column for his local newspaper The Greenwich Time, also published “An Afternoon in Waterloo Park,” a memoir, and “Rabbits Rafferty,” a children’s novel. His prose and poetry have appeared in The Atlantic, Smithsonian, The New York Times and The Washington Post.

Link here to Mike Lynch’s blog for more about Mr. Dumas

Link here to an Ink Spill post from last month about an exhibit that included work by Mr. Dumas




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