Eugene Byrnes set out on a sporting career, which was brutally cut short when he broke his leg during a wrestling match in 1911. While recuperating in the hospital, he spent his time copying Tad Dorgan's cartoons. Then he began drawing his own, following a correspondence course at the Landon School of cartooning and illustrating, and he sent his work on to several newspapers. In 1915, his first strip, 'Things That Never Happen', was published. He met Winsor McCay, who got him a job as a sports cartoonist at the New York Telegram. It was there that Eugene Byrnes created his comic, 'It's a Great Life If You Don't Weaken', which became a slogan for the American Army during World War I.
In 1917, the strip was complemented by 'Reg'lar Fellers', about a gang of kids. This strip became a huge success, and ran daily and Sunday until 1950. Byrnes is also important to the comic world because of the number of professional textbooks he wrote on cartooning, such as 'How to Draw Comics and Commercial Art' (1939) and 'A Complete Guide to Professional Cartooning' (1950). Byrnes retired in the 1960s, and died in 1974.