Monday, June 11, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Johnny Devlin

John Daniel “Johnny” Devlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, on March 10, 1906, according to the New York, New York, Birth Index at His full name was published in a newspaper.

The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said Devlin was the youngest of four children born to James, an English emigrant and baker, and Sarah, a Scottish emigrant. The family lived in Brooklyn at 8 Hicks Street.

In the 1915 New York state census, the Devlins resided at 6 Poplar in Brooklyn. Devlin’s father was a shipping clerk.

According to the 1920 census, the Devlin family were residents of Richmond Hill, Queens, New York, at 115 Mills Street.

Newspaper artist Devlin and his parents, in the 1930 census, made their home in Freeport, Nassau County, New York at 68 West Seaman Avenue. The same address was recorded on a May 1931 passenger list when Devlin visited Bermuda.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Devlin ghosted Milt Gross’s Looy Dot Dope early in its run which began in 1925. Devlin created the Looy Dot Dope topper Colonel Wowser for United Features Syndicate. For the Frank Jay Markey Syndicate, Devlin drew Honey Dear that ran from December 6, 1937 to August 27, 1938. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Devlin assisted Rube Goldberg.

The Quality Companion: Celebrating the Forgotten Publisher of Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters (2012) explained Devlin’s role with Goldberg.

[Publisher] Busy Arnold had arranged for his book to be filled, printed and distributed, but he still needed an editor to run the outfit and to maintain its…quality. Arnold had become good friends with the popular cartoonist Rube Goldberg and Busy credited the artist with helping him put together the first issues of Feature Funnies. Rube’s assistant, Johnny Devlin, edited the first few issues, but Rube had just begun “Lala Palooza” and he couldn’t spare Johnny for more that a few days each month….
Devlin’s comic book credits are at the Grand Comics Database.

The Nassau Daily Review (New York), December 18, 1934, published marriage license notices including Devlin’s: “John Daniel Devlin, 28, of 68 West Seaman avenue, Freeport, and Miss Margaret Mary Bice, 38, of the Nautilus beach club, Atlantic Beach.”

The 1940 census recorded newspaper cartoonist Devlin, his wife and daughter, Diane, in Brooklyn at 850 Lincoln Place. Devlin had four years of high school.

Devlin passed away April 1, 1942. An obituary appeared two days later in the Brooklyn Eagle

The funeral of John D. Devlin, 36, artist and cartoonist, of 62-14 18th St., Elmhurst, who died Wednesday after a brief illness, will be held at 9:30 am. tomorrow from the chapel at 38 Lafayette Ave.; thence to the R.C. Church of the Ascension in Elmhurst, for a final blessing.

Mr. Devlin formerly was a cartoonist on the old New York World and later drew the comic strip “Looy Dot Dope” for United Features Syndicate. Lately he had been associated with Rube Goldberg. He also drew for comic magazines.

Mr. Devlin is survived by his widow, Margaret Rice Devlin; two daughters. Diane and Mary Jane; his parents, James and Sarah Devlln; a brother, James, and two sisters, Mrs. George Thorne and Mrs. Frank Goonan.

—Alex Jay


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