Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Mike Senich

Mike Senich was born Michael Robert Ksenych in Waterbury, Connecticut, on December 3, 1912. The birthdate is from the Social Security Death Index. The birthplace is from the Social Security application which had the birth year as 1913. The surname, Ksenych, is from the 1920 U.S. Federal Census and 1935 Waterbury city directory. On the Social Security application, the surname was spelled Ksenich. The middle name was found in a 1949 copyright entry.

In the 1920 census, Senich was the sixth of nine children born to Onufer and Anna, both Austrian emigrants. The family resided in Waterbury at 88 Hill Street. The address was the same in 1930.

The Evening Times (Trenton, New Jersey), January 27, 1967, said: 

Senich began his artistic career in his home town of Waterbury, Conn., while he was still in high school. An avid sports enthusiast and baseball player, he freelanced sports cartoons to the Waterbury Republican.

He continued to work full-time for the Republican for two years after graduation, occasionally turning out political cartoons as well. Then came his first “good break” when he landed a job as a staff artist on the New York Mirror.
The 1935 Waterbury city directory listed Senich’s mother was a widow who lived at 88 Hill Street. “Michael Ksenych” had the same address and was a watch maker at the WC Company.

According to the 1940 census, Senich was a New York City resident in Manhattan at 401 1/2 East 70th Street. He was a newspaper artist who lived in the city in 1935.

The Princeton Packet (New Jersey), May 15, 2006, noted Senich’s military service.

He enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II and was loaned to the Navy, where he created the syndicated feature “Deeds of Valor,” depicting heroic acts by soldiers and featured in over 200 newspapers.*
The Arts Digest, October 1, 1944, reported the National Gallery of Art, in Washington, D.C., exhibition of paintings and drawings by Coast Guard combat artists which included Senich.

After the war, Senich returned to Connecticut. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 has an overview of Senich’s contributions. A detailed list of Senich’s comic book work is here.

Around 1951, Senich became a staff artist with King Features. American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Senich was a ghost artist on the Katzenjammer Kids, Right Around Home with Myrtle, and Skippy. The Evening Times said Senich also ghosted Pete the Tramp. At the time of the Evening Times article, Sencih developed a new comic strip called Jim Dandy, which was copyrighted in 1965

Senich, Michael
Jim Dandy. By Mike Senich. (In The Princeton packet, Franklin Park, N.J., Mar. 24, 1965, p. 15)
© Michael Senich (Mike Senich); 24Mar65; BB27904.
Senich was one of several combat artist whose name was entered into the Congressional Record, June 27, 1995. The artists’ work was exhibited at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC..

The Princeton Packet said Senich retied in Florida. Senich passed away May 4, 2006, at his home in Florida, which was reported in the Princeton Packet, May 15. He was laid to rest at Brig. Gen. Wm. C. Doyle Veterans Memorial Cemetery

—Alex Jay

* note from Allan -- Deeds of Valor was indeed offered to newspapers, but it appears to me that the panels were free handouts offered by the Coast Guard. Even free, they did not seem to get much ink from newspapers, though they were very good patriotic capsule histories of Coast Guard heroes. The Sikeston (Mo) Standard ran a total of 7 panels over a period of six months in 1945, while the only examples I could find in the two other newspapers that came up in search results were single examples, obviously just run to fill a hole. 


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