Streaky, by Loy Byrnes 1938
'Streaky', as published in Popular Comics #22 (November 1937). 

Loy Byrnes was an American cartoonist, whose relatively short career included taking over the football comic 'Streaky' from Gus Edson (1937-1939), assisting Ernie Bushmiller on 'Nancy' (1940s) and creating features of his own, including 'Silly Willie' (1936-1937), 'Spunkie' (1940-1942) and 'Punchy and Judy' (1945).

Early life
According to the Who's Who of American Comic Strip Producers, Aloysius Byrnes was born in 1906 in Jersey City, New Jersey, as one of two siblings. His year of birth might also be 1905, since his November 1945 obituary said he was forty years old at the time. In 1913, his father died from tuberculosis, when Loy was eight years old. At age fourteen, Loy Byrnes got a job as office boy with The New York World newspaper. Wanting to become a cartoonist, his career as an artist happened by accident. In 29 August 1937, the Hartford Courant ran an article about how cartoonists got their start. About Byrnes they wrote:

"When one of the illustrators of the Sunday World gave him an original drawing that he neglected to sign, Byrnes stuck it in a drawer. A feature writer happened to be poking through the desk when he noticed this sketch. Het was told that it was Byrnes's desk and that he was an office boy. 'Say, that kid has talent! I'm going to show this to the boss.' The assistant managing editor looked at the drawing and agreed with his staff writer. He had Loy called in. 'Go along with Williams here tomorrow morning and make three sketches at the divorce trial,' he was told. Young Byrnes had no idea of what was going on, but he sat in the press box in the courtroom, made three sketches and returned with them to the editor's office. He looked at the drawings, turned red and beat his fist on the desk. 'These are awful!' he roared. He picked up the drawing that had been found in Byrnes' desk and asked: 'Didn't you draw this?' 'No sir,' the diminutive Loy replied, somewhat frightened. That ended the first part of his career as an artist for he was sent back to the art department as an office boy."

Magic trick explained in The Atlantic Constitution of Sunday, 19 April 1925.

Children's page cartoonist
Later on, Byrnes had more success. Several newspaper articles mentioned he was fourteen years old when creating a children's feature that ran for almost three years, but no titles or exact dates are given. By 1925, Loy Byrnes was making drawings about magic tricks for the children's page of The Atlanta Constitution. In that same year, on 31 May, he debuted his syndicated picture story feature 'Adventures of Tom and Jane' (1925-1926), which ran on Sundays in newspapers like The Oakland Tribune, The Miami News and the Sunday News from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Printed with six weekly pictures with text captions underneath, the story tells the magical adventures of a boy and a girl with an anthropomorphic bunny family that lives in the woods.

'Adventures of Tom and Jane' (The Sunday News, 18 April 1926).

Loy Byrnes later briefly studied at the Art Students League. He was a member of the Society of Illustrators and of the Museum of Modern Art. By 1940, he was residing in Queens, New York City, living with the cartoonist Gus Jud ('Little Dave'). By then, his cartooning career had expanded. He sold occasional gag cartoons to magazines like The New Yorker and Judge. Under the pen name Roy B. Nyles, Byrnes produced the strip 'Silly Willie' (1936-1937), about an unlucky sap, for Syndicated Features, which ran from 13 July 1936 to 8 March 1937. In 1937, for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate, Byrnes replaced Gus Edson as the cartoonist of 'Streaky', a Sunday comic revolving around teenagers and football, as well as its companion strip 'Dopey Dildock'. He drew both weekly features until May 1939. Episodes of the 'Streaky' comic also appeared in the comic books Popular Comics (Dell) and Super Comics (Western Publishing). In 1939 and 1940, Better Publications reran episodes of 'Silly Willie' in its comic book Best Comics.

'Silly Willie', as published in Best Comics #2 (December 1939).

After 'Streaky', Byrnes moved on to create another feature of his own. Between 16 December 1940 and 21 March 1942, the United Feature Syndicate distributed his 'Spunkie' comic, about a young boy made homeless by the war in his European home country "Bombardia", who arrives in America "with aching feet, hope-filled heart and plucky grin". During the 1940s, Loy Byrnes also assisted Ernie Bushmiller on his 'Nancy' newspaper strip.

Final years and death
In 1945, Byrnes returned to magazine cartooning with a pantomime strip about a toddler, 'Tootsie', in Good Housekeeping. On 4 June 1945, a romantic comedy strip by Byrnes called 'Punchy and Judy' began publication in The New York Post. It turned out a short-lived feature, as the cartoonist died on 20 November 1945, according to his obituary at the age of 40.

'Spunkie' (The Evening Star from Washington, DC, 18 December 1940).

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