'Dotty Dripple' (15 July 1944).

Jimmy McMenamy (also known as Jimmy Mack) was an American magazine illustrator and cartoonist from Missouri, known as the original artist of the family comic 'Dotty Dripple' (1944-1974). Earlier in his career he drew the military gag comic 'Draftie' (1941-1946), while in his final life year he continued Les Forgrave's 'Big Sister'. 

Early life and career
He was born in 1912 as James Louis McNemany Jr. in St. Joseph, Missouri, as the son of a court clerk. His talent for drawing for came to light at the local Christian Brothers' High School. He attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the American Academy of Art, where illustrator James Allen St. John was one of his teachers. McMenamy later took special courses in cartooning from Nick Nichols. He had his first job in Chicago as a layout and lettering artist with Consolidated Book Publishers, a company specialized in encyclopedias, dictionaries, Bibles and cookbooks. McMenamy later became editor and art director when the firm launched its comic book division in the early 1940s.

An article in the St. Joseph News-Press of 22 July 1945 stated that McMenamy worked on the military humor strip 'Draftie' (1941-1946) with radio writer Paul Fogarty for the John F. Dille Company during the early years of the war. The early strips were unsigned, but shortly after the start, William Juhre (1941-1946) became the feature's artist (initially under the pen name "Pony Proehl").


'Dotty Dripple' (27 June 1944).

Dotty Dripple
McMenamy left Consolidated Magazines to create a new newspaper comic strip with Jeff Keate. On 26 June 1944 their family comic strip named 'Dotty Dripple' (1944-1974) was launched by Publishers Syndicate. It was an obvious rip-off of Chic Young's 'Blondie'. All family members were virtually the same. Dotty Dripple was just Blondie again and her husband Horace was the identical twin of Dagwood. Both couples had children about the same age. Blondie and Dagwood's son was named Alexander and their daughter Cookie, while the Dripples had children named Wilbert and Taffy. The families even had a similar dogs. Both Daisy in 'Blondie' and Pepper in 'Dotty Dripple' were mongrels who had similar expressive reactions. After four months McMenamy quit the series. From 16 October 1944 on, Buford Tune continued 'Dotty Dripple' until he retired on 9 June 1974. Under his run 'Dotty Dripple' also appeared in comic book series issued by Magazine Enterprises and late Dell Comics. Considering how obvious the plagiarism of 'Blondie' was, it's amazing that the creators were never sued. 

Gag cartoonist
After his short stint on 'Dotty Dripple', McMenamy became Art Huhta's assistant on the screwball comic strip 'Dinky Dinkerton, Secret Agent 6 7/8'. It gave him valuable training in making gag cartoons, after which McMenamy became a commercial artist, as well as an illustrator/gag cartoonist for magazines like Colliers, The Saturday Evening Post, American, This Week, Cosmopolitan, Liberty, Argosy and Esquire. At first he signed with his full name, but he later switched to James or Jimmy Mack to avoid misspelling.

In the aforementioned article in the St. Joseph News-Press, McMenamy underlined the importance of good gag writing. He worked with two gag writers, but also came up with his own ideas, of which he said: "There is no way to teach a person to write gags, a humorist is born, not made. It requires a constant reading of current information and events, new trends and ideas. It is really hard to be funny. My own personal experience has been that my best ideas are written late at night or in the wee hours of the morning, lying in bed, surrounded by cups and cups of coffee and thousands of clippings from magazines."

Death
James McMenamy returned to his hometown St. Joseph in December 1950. He created the cowboy character 'Good Joe' For the Sunday papers of his local paper, the St. Joseph News-Press, he designed the cowboy 'Good Joe', the mascot of the town's Community Chest. In the early 1950s, James McMenamy began working with Les Forgrave on the newspaper comic strip 'Big Sister' for the King Features Syndicate. He had just succeeded Forgrave officially, when he passed away suddenly on 4 January 1954, at the age of 41. McMenamy's final strip was printed on 20 February 1954, after which Bob Naylor took over the strip.


Jimmy McMenamy, pictured in the St. Joseph News-Press on 22 July 1945

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