Percy Leo Crosby was born in Brooklyn, New York, and studied at both the Art Students League and Pratt Institute. When he was nineteen years old, he was employed as a cartoonist at the New York World newspaper. Here, he created strips like 'Babyettes', 'Toddles' and 'Beany and the Gang'. All these titles in some way tried to recapture some of Crosby's own childhood, growing up as a lower middle class Irish boy in the streets of Brooklyn. In 1915, he created 'The Clancy Kids'. After his return from serving in World War I, one of the characters from this strip inspired a new one, called 'Skippy'.
The popularity of this strip led Percy Crosby to finally accept an offer from King Features Syndicate, which published 'Skippy' nationwide. In 1931, a film starring Jackie Cooper was made of the strip. While turning out 'Skippy' daily and Sunday, Crosby also wrote more than a dozen books and several articles on humor, politics and philosophy. In 1942, Crosby's health began to fail. Following a bitter fight with a major food concern over using Skippy for promoting peanut butter, Percy Crosby was falsely imprisoned in a New York mental hospital for the last sixteen years of his life. The real story of this grave injustice can be read on the Skippy website Percy Crosby's heirs have put up in his honor.
"Skippy paints the fence"
This comic panel is the concept that the peanut butter company
put on its label with Percy Crosby's famous Skippy signature.