Here we go with another installment of Stupid Comics where we feel bad about calling these comics stupid. But we're gonna do it anyway. Recently Joe Edwards, longtime Archie comics artist and creator of the long running feature "Li'l Jinx", passed away at the age of 85. We here at Mister Kitty feel that too many of our great comics artists are passing without proper recognition, and seeing as how we happen to have a lot of Li'l Jinx comics lying around, we're taking matters into our own hands.
Edwards created Li'l Jinx in 1947 - BEFORE Ketcham's Dennis The Menace!! Based on the wacky hijinx his own kids got into, the early Li'l Jinx was notable for Edwards' clean Eisner style cartooning, complete with architectural strip titles.
Edwards was one of the only Archie artists with balls enough to sign his own work (one of the others was the brother of Abe "Fish" Vigoda, Bill Vigoda). Here we see a early 50s Jinx about to become airborne due to the lift provided by that gigantic hair bow.
Edwards also worked on the Archie lookalike Wilbur. Here we can see more of his creative panel layouts, and another Edwards staple, the hollering dad. Wilbur was a high school teen who dated blondes and brunettes and had a supporting cast of brainiacs, jocks, weirdos, and rivals. Mostly weirdos.
As the 50s progressed Edwards would also find himself working on Archie's foray into funny animal comedy, Super Duck. Supes was always getting into trouble with his "nephew" Fauntelroy and his sexy girlfriend Uwanna. Oh, you don't think a duck can be sexy? Ask R. Crumb about Uwanna.
Even into the 1970s Edwards was constantly pushing the envelope and developing new characters. Well, okay, this is yet another dating teen comedy character, so not exactly groundbreaking territory here.
But Lil' Jinx continued to be Joe's meal ticket. Cranking out everything from four panel gag strips to entire comics, Li'l Jinx matured through the years along with Edwards' brush line, which got thicker and thicker as the gags got older and older.
Along with Greg and Jinx's French pal Gigi, the trio of Jinx Pals was completed with the introduction of Charley Hawse, the hulking, Danny Bonaduce-coiffed menace of the neighborhood.
One person we never saw a lot of was Li'l Jinx's Mom. Mrs. Jinx was tougher to find than Veronica's mother. Yet we have proof that Mamma Jinx actually existed, at least for one strip...
What I remember most about Edwards and Li'l Jinx is the energy the strip always had; the thick brush line was like nothing else seen in comics (at least in the States) and Edwards was never afraid to spend an entire panel emphasizing whatever crazy emotion currently had a grip on Li'l Jinx.
Wherever there was a half-page that needed filling in Pep or Betty & Veronica... whenever someone was needed to letter Josie's advice column, whenever a maze or a find-a-word puzzle needed inking, Joe Edwards was there. I don't know how Archie Comics is gonna get along without the guy. I hope they keep his work in print, so that generations of children yet to come can experience the cheesy gags and the giant brushstrokes of Li'l Jinx.
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