Comic for Friss Újság (23 May 1937).

Jenő Jeney was one of the foremost Hungarian cartoonists, graphic artists and comics artists of his generation. He contributed political cartoons and text comics to a great many early 20th century newspapers and magazines, and pioneered the usage of speech balloons by the time he joined the Friss Újság newspaper (1937-1942).

Early life and career
Jenő Béla Jeney was born in 1874 in Érendréd, a town in Satu Mare County. This is currently Romanian soil near the Hungarian border, but at the time of Jeney's birth part of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. At the age of 16 he was making cartoons for Magyar Figaró ("Hungarian Figaro"), a magazine with social satire and frivolous humor. Four years later, Jeney relocated to Budapest to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, where his teacher was the German-Hungarian painter Károly Lotz. Jeney continued his education in Fine Arts in Munich, Germany. During his stay in Germany, he made drawings for the Neues Politisches Volksblatt, a Budapest-based German-language paper.


"The policical activities", 1902 comic strip for Bolond Istók.

Political humor
Upon his return to Hungary, he became one of the country's most prominent political cartoonists, dominating most of the satirical magazines of the time. He basically took over all the activities of the leading Hungarian caricaturist and comics pioneer János Jankó, who died in 1896. He drew portraits, illustrations, single-panel cartoons and also text comics, with the text written underneath the images. Jeney was part of the first wave of Hungarian cartoonists who made sequential art, along with János Jankó, Ákos Garay, Miltiades Mannó and Atanáz Homicskó. His drawings appeared in such (humor) periodicals as Bolond Istók ("Istok the Fool"), Kakas Márton, Urambátyám ("My Brother"), Az Üstökös ("The Comet"), Borsszem Jankó ("Peppercorn Jankó") and Mátyás Diák ("Matthias Student"). In terms of comic art, his contributions to Bolond Istók are the most important. For this magazine, he created many political-satirical strips based on current affairs.


'Hunyadi Mátyás holllója' (Friss Újság, 12 June 1938).

Balloon comics
Jenő Jeney dropped his political work and switched to entertainment news and more comical themes when working for the Friss Újság ("Fresh Newspaper") between 1937 and 1942. For the occasion, he also switched from text comics to comics with speech balloons. In 1937, he made the first comics serial based on Hungarian history. 'Hunyadi Mátyás holllója' ("The Raven of Mátyás Hunyadi", 1938) dealt with the "Raven King" Matthias Corvinus (1458–1490) and his escutcheon. All of Jeney's comics for Friss Újság were written by one of the paper's editors; among them were Miklós Gyapay, Márta Kórody and Jenő Kálmán.

Later life
In 1930 Jeney became president of the Association of Hungarian Journalists (Magyar újságrajzolók Szövetsége). During World War II, he contributed to the antisemitic newspaper Drótkefe ("Wire Brush", 1942-1943). As a result, he was unable to get a job after the war. The once so praised artist passed away in Budapest as the result of a coronary artery spasm in 1950, at the age of 75.

Series and books by Jenö Jeney in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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