Biography: Dudley Fisher

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Birth/Death

Birth: 1890 Columbus, Ohio
Death: 1951

Occupation/Title

During World War I, Fisher worked as a photographer.
After a brief stint at Columbus State University, Fisher worked as a layout artist for the Columbus Dispatch.
Later, he worked as a cartoonist, developing several syndicated strips.

Bio Summary

Dudley Fisher was born in 1890 in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the Ohio State University, attempting an architecture education. He soon dropped out in order to be a layout artist at the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

During World War I, he worked as a photographer. In 1919, he resumed working for the Dispatch. It was here that he developed the nationally syndicated strips, “Jolly Jingles” (in 1924), and “Right Around Home” (in 1937).

Fisher worked for the Dispatch, and as a cartoonist, until he died, in 1951.

Early Life/Family

Dudley Fisher came from a family of engineers, professors and teachers. As a child growing up, Fisher drew often, and displayed an early potential for being a professional artist. Instead of following a formal education in art, he decided to pursue an education in architecture.

Education/Training

Dudley Fisher attended Ohio State University to pursue an education in architecture, where he dropped out in his sophomore year. Instead of pursuing formal art training, he developed his cartooning schools while working at the Columbus Dispatch, as a layout artist.

Career Outline

Early in his career (and during World War I), Dudley Fisher worked as a photographer for the Air Force. Later, he worked at the art department of the Columbus Dispatch. Concurrently, he developed several syndicated cartoon strips, including “Jolly Jingles” and “Right Around Home” (later to be renamed “Myrtle”, syndicated by King Features).

Comments On Style

Fisher’s storylines involve ordinary American families (representing an idealized Midwest aesthetic), in ordinary situations (again, idealized American situations, such as Christmas and other American holidays) in rural or pastoral settings. Fisher, especially in later strips, created single panels with multiple storylines and characters, all interacting within a single scene and in parallel plotlines. The tones of his pieces were either whimsical or nostalgic (or both). He used clean ink lines to convey his characters and settings.

Influences

Although Fisher never received a formal education (at least he didn’t finish his formal education), his strips and clean line work left a strong impression on strip artists that followed his work.

Personality

Fisher didn’t seem to care for working part time and attending school simultaneously; he also seemed to dislike architecture, as he quickly dropped out of school to work at the Dispatch. A natural dreamer, and natural artist, Fisher created a strip from his daydreaming fantasies, which provided the ideal job for him,, a cartoonist working on his own creation.

He enjoyed golf, and working from home, as well as sharing his philosophies about art and life with young artist searching for artistic advice.

Anecdotes

“Right Around Home” was inspired by Fisher daydreaming about what Christmas would be like on an idealized “grandmother’s ranch.” The strip is drawn in single large panels, with multiple story threads and dialogue balloons running through the scenes.

When asked by children about the proper art supplies that an artist should use, Fisher is rumored to have answered that the supplies are irrelevant, and that it is the artist and his vision that matters. According to Fisher: “I feel certain that Michaelangelo could have done a masterpiece on meat wrapping paper with a toothbrush and shoe polish. It’s all got to come out of the artist- not the ink bottle.”

Miscellaneous

Many famous cartoonists come from Ohio (either born there, or living there during their formative years): Edwina Dumm, Billy Ireland, Winsor McCay, Charles Nelan, Frederick Opper, Richard Outcault, and Bill Watterson of Calvin and Hobbes fame.

Filmography

Honors

Fisher never actively sought syndication, but was rather picked up by King Features Syndicate after his popular work at the Columbus Dispatch. His strips ran up to 1964, 13 years after his death. (These later strips were completed by other artists)

Related Links

Bibliographic References

Strickler, Dave. Syndicated Comic Strips and Artists, 1924-1995: The Complete Index. Cambria, CA: Comics Access, 1995

Contributors To This Listing

Quentin Bauer

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