Ming Foo, by Nicholas Afonsky 1939

Nicholas Afonsky was a Russian artist, who worked for American newspaper comics from 1925. Born in Kovno in 1892, he studied art under Selesneff and Pimonenko. He was wounded five times during World War I, and became a criminal lawyer after passing the graduation examination at the University of Moscow while still a soldier. An artist from the court of Czar Nicholas II, he went to Constantinople after the Russian Revolution of 1917. There, he worked for Greek, Turkish, Armenian and French newspapers and magazines, before boarding a ship to the USA in July 1923.

Afonsky did his first comics work for the Wheelan-Nicholson Inc. syndicate under the pen name Meetrich. These include works like 'The Adventures of Vivian Vanity' (1925-1926) and the 'Great Mystery and Adventure Series' (1925-1926), both with N. Brewster Morse as writer. He subsequently drew Edgar Wheelan's 'Minute Movies' strip from 1929 to 1934, until he was employed by William Randolph Hearst to work in the King Features Syndicate bullpen (according to Wheelan, Hearst did this to spite him, since he left King a few years earlier).

Little Annie Rooney by Nicholas Afonsky
'Little Annie Rooney' appeared as 'Kitty Muis en haar hond' in Dutch magazine Sjors (1939)

In 1934, he started out drawing the 'Little Annie Rooney' Sunday page, that was created by Ed Verdier and Brandon Walsh in 1927. He worked on the feature until 1943, and added the toppers 'Fablettes' and, most notably, 'Ming Foo'. The oriental character Ming Foo was introduced in the strip in 1934, and he got his own companion feature in 1935. Walsh's adventurous storytelling and Afonsky's engaging artwork resulted in a strip that ran for almost a decade. Other features Afonsky worked on for King Features were 'Heroes of American History' (1936) and Alex Raymond's 'Secret Agent X-9' (1938). He passed away in 1943, and was succeeded on 'Little Annie Rooney' by Darrell McClure.

Ming Foo, by Nicholas Afonsky 1939

Nicholas Afonsky's Ink-Slinger profile on the Stripper's Guide

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