Thursday, April 09, 2015


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Val Heinz

Valentine Matthew “Val” Heinz was born in Streator, Illinois, on April 20, 1927. The birth date is from the Social Security Death Index. The 1927 Streator city directory listed Heinz’s parents, Val and Ann, at 107 West Elm Street. Matthew was the name of Heinz’s paternal grandfather.

The Heinz family resided at the same address in the 1930 and 1940 U.S. Federal Censuses. Heinz was the oldest of three children and his father was a self-employed baker.

In the mid-1940s, Heinz attended the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts where he was discovered by Frank King of Gasoline Alley fame. The World Herald (Omaha, Nebraska), April 25, 1948, published a profile of King and said:

…Frank’s assistants are Bill Perry, who has worked with him 22 years and who also draws Ned Handy, and Val Heinz, a young man he picked out of the Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago two years ago.
The three work a regular schedule in King’s studio in his home. They start their day at 9 a.m. and work until 4 p.m. with time out for lunch. They do this five days a week, keeping six weeks ahead on the daily strip and 10 weeks ahead on the Sunday page.
In 1949, Heinz produced Dawn O’Day in Hollywood for the Chicago Tribune. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said the strip debuted as a Sunday feature on October 2, 1949. The following entry was in the Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 3, Part 1B, Number 2, Pamphlets, Serials and Contributions to Periodicals, July–December 1949. 
Heinz, Val. Dawn O’Day in Hollywood. [Cartoon strip] (In Chicago Sunday tribune, Oct. 2, 1949, p. 10, pt. 9) ©Tribune Co. (in notice: The Chicago tribune); 2Oct49; B5-11780 .
Editor & Publisher, August 12, 1950, announced the Dawn O’Day daily:
“Dawn O’Day in Hollywood,” a Chicago Tribune-New York News comic strip initiated a year ago as a Sunday color feature, will go on a daily basis Sept. 18. Now syndicated in 15 newspapers, the strip is drawn by Val Heinz, 23, the youngest of the CT-NYN’s cartoonists. Mr. Heinz, a native of Streator, Ill., worked in Florida as an assistant to Frank King for four years before becoming a student at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.
The strip ended in 1954.

At some point Heinz moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. The 1956 city directory listing had his wife’s name, Harriet; home address at 1412 Eagleston Avenue; and occupation as commercial artist at Allied Art and Photo Service. In the 1959 directory, Heinz lived at 1009 Coolidge Avenue and was an artist at Bahlman Studio.

The 1972 Kalamazoo Suburban City Directories had a business listing for Heinz: 

Heinz Val M 7525 Sandyridge St (Portg)
The Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2008, said Heinz had three sons, Mark, Michael, and Val. The Boston Herald American, July 11, 1975, published a photograph of Val, a student at MIT, posing with a model of the Starship Enterprise composed of 75 empty beer cans. Val was in the Class of 1975 which donated the model to the department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Heinz passed away March 1, 1983, according to Michigan Deaths at He was a resident of Portage and died in Kalamazoo. His wife, Harriet, passed away April 8, 2003, in Livermore, California.

—Alex Jay


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