'No Comment' (The Ottawa Citizen, 22 December 1979).

Vahan Shirvanian was an American magazine gag cartoonist, who contributed to The New Yorker, Reader's Digest, Harvard Business Review, Playboy, and many other publications. Between 1979 and 1982 he created the relatively obscure and largely pantomime newspaper comic strip 'No Comment' for King Features Syndicate.

Early life
Shirvanian was born in 1925 in Hackensack, New Jersey, and mostly grew up in Newark. During World War II, he served two years in the Army Air Force. He was trained as a fighter plane bombardier and eventually became an artillery instructor. After the war, he majored in English literature from Seton Hall University, where he also served as comic artist and editor for the year book. Graduated in 1950, he sold his first cartoon to The Saturday Evening Post shortly afterwards.


From: 1000 Jokes Magazine (December-February 1965).

Cartooning career
He quickly began contributing to other magazines, working from his house studio in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey. His witty cartoons appeared in The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, Hugh Hefner's Playboy, The Harvard Business Review, Prevention and Reader's Digest. Notable were his contributions to Highlights for Children where he, according to his obituary in the Star-Ledger, "used his great love and connection to children to create memorable commentary on everyday mishaps." In 1959, he already received the National Cartoonist Society's award for "Best Gag Cartoonist of the Year."

No Comment
Between 9 April 1979 and 25 April 1982, King Features Syndicate distributed his daily and Sunday comic strip 'No Comment' to hundreds of national newspapers. It had a revolving cast of characters, and initially featured absurd pantomime gags with a quarreling husband and wife couple, a fakir, a magician with a rabbit, a huge dog and an everyday guy with a checkered cap. Then an elephant became the lead character, while the pantomime aspect was dropped. Eventually all the other characters disappeared and 'No Comment' was taken over by a lazy and womanizing orange cat called 'Brimstone', who was obviously inspired by George Gately's 'Heathcliff'. A total of four book collections of 'No Comment' and 'Brimstone' strips were published between 1981 and 1988.

Vahan Shirvanian passed away in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, on 30 January 2013 at the age of 87.


'No Comment' (28 March 1982).

No Comment on the Stripper's Guide

Series and books by Vahan Shirvanian in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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