King Features

Jay Kennedy 1956-2007


-Originally posted at Comics Kingdom.

I first met Jay back in 1989. I was fresh out of the Joe Kubert School
and he was interviewing applicants for a colorist position that had
just opened up at King Features. Suffice it to say Jay saw some
potential and ended up hiring me.

Jay was in his early 30’s when he started at King and signaled a
changing of the guard in the Comics Art department. He seemed to have
a very clear vision in what he wanted to accomplish at King. A fan of
the medium, and underground comics in particular, he wanted to bring
that sensibility to the comics page. For a field so entrenched in the
mainstream it was quite the juggling act, I never fully appreciated
his skill at this until after the fact. Over the years I saw him help
bring a number of strips on board to King, among them such hits as
Baby Blues, Mutts and Zits.

Back around 1995 when they were shopping around for a new artist for
Flash Gordon I started drawing up samples – Jay rejected those initial
pages. I tried my hand at it again months later and to my surprise Jay
not only hired me as the artist but as the writer as well. That first
year I did the strip Jay was very hands on. He’d make me do changes to
everything from the artwork to word balloon placement. Jay could be
rather blunt giving a critique, but it was never mean-spirited. It all
had to do with telling a better story. After that first year I was on
my own.

I worked with Jay on staff for close to ten years. Too many memorable
moments to pick just one… I’ll end it with saying his legacy is the
great strips he brought on board while at King. He also gave this
aspiring cartoonist his first big break into the field and I owe him a

He’s been sorely missed.

-Jim Keefe

For more remembrances of Jay, go to Comics Kingdom.


    Jeff Parker, Dustin
    Karen Moy, Mary Worth
    Jimmy Margulies, Editorial Cartoonist
    John Rose, Barney Google & Snuffy Smith
    Bud Grace, The Piranha Club
    Alex Hallatt, Arctic Circle
    Bill Holbrook, On the Fastrack and Safe Havens
    Bruce Tinsley, Mallard Fillmore
    Stephanie Piro, Six Chix
    Jerry Scott, Baby Blues and Zits
    Rina Piccolo, Tina’s Groove and Six Chix
    Terri Libenson, The Pajama Diaries
    Jim Keefe, Flash Gordon and Sally Forth
    Rick Kirkman, Baby Blues
    Tom Armstrong, Marvin
    John Hambrock, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee
    Bill Griffith, Zippy the Pinhead

By Jim Keefe

Jim Keefe is the current artist of the Sally Forth comic strip, he is also the writer and artist of the Flash Gordon comic strip - both available at A graduate of the Joe Kubert School, Keefe likewise teaches Comic Art. Teaching and speaking engagements include SVA in Manhattan, Hofstra’s UCCE Youth Programs, The University of Minnesota and most recently the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

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