Found in the Collection: Jack Mendelsohn’s “Jackys Diary”!

Few cartoonists have been able to master the charm and ingenuity of a child’s mind in the way that Jack Mendelsohn did in his sadly short-lived King Features comic, Jackys Diary (the name in the title was later apostrophized when Dell Comics picked it up, much to our private disappointment.)

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Jackys Diary ran from 1959-1961, and in it Mendelsohn explored and exposed the mind of a child, based on his own memories of youth. The diary follows Jack to school and through homework, over to extended-family’s houses and under the influence of unbridled imagination.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Unfortunately, Mendelsohn was so good at capturing the style and language of a child, that King Features received a mass of complaints from concerned readers who thought the papers were running the work of an actual kid (and, what’s more, suggested that the syndicate consider their child’s art for publication). Or, for those who really didn’t get the joke as alluded to in the byline, some thought the comic was created by an underdeveloped adult.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)

Despite the short-lived success of Jackys Diary, Jack Mendelsohn made a name for himself in a number of other venues, most famously as a writer for the Beatles movie Yellow Submarine and the live-action comedy show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, a storyboard animator for Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey, and countless Hanna-Barbera, Jay Ward Studios, Marvel Animation, and Filmation cartoons, among others.

Jack Mendelsohn original from “Jackys Diary”. From the International Museum of Cartoon Art Collection, The Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (click to enlarge)