Wednesday, August 6, 2014

National Cartoonist Society Profile: Allen Saunders

With 42 years of writing and drawing for the strips including Kerry Drake (which he never got credit for), Allen Saunders, was one of the most respected creators in the field. After getting feedback for a story idea from his artists, he isolated himself to map it out over 13 weeks of dailies and Sundays, with the play writing formula "First act, get your leading character up a tree; second act, throw rocks at him; third act, get him down". Then, in his work week, he allocated two days to each of  the three strips to create a week's worth, using his own cartooning skills to sketch roughs of the characters and dialog in each panel for his artists and letterers to follow. Saunders also served as chair of the Newspaper Comics Council, and a longtime member of the NCS...Born a Hoosier, March 24, 1899...Took the Landon Course and classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. I graduated from Wabash College and taught French there for seven years, free-lancing on the side. Sold cartoons, "pulp" detective stories and plays for amateurs. Acted one season with Chautauqua Company. Joined the News Bee in 1927 as Reporter-Cartoonist. Became dramatic editor a few years later. Teamed with Elmer Woggon in 1936 to write "Chief Wahoo", now "Steve Roper". Took over "Mary Worth" with Ken Ernst, in 1939 and, as publishers  syndicate story editor, helped launch "Rex Morgan", M.D." and other story strips. Served as chairman of newspaper council in 1958. Live with my wife Lois in Toledo, Ohio. We have two sons and two daughters. Hobbies are fishing, reading, and golf (which I play badly but hopefully), ambition is to break 90 both in strokes and in birthdays.

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