Taking A Trip Down Memory Lane


I know I’m terrible at this “blog” thing, and I’m sorry I haven’t updated it lately.  I could give you a bunch of excuses, but I guess it really boils down to “Life happens,” just as it does for you.

King Features, which syndicates Mallard Fillmore, has a weekly blog feature called “Ask A Cartoonist.” You can find it here. Recently, one of the writers of the blog asked those King Features’ cartoonists who worked with Jay Kennedy, the late Editor in Chief at King Features, to share their memories of him. Jay Kennedy was simply one of my best editors ever. Jay was the person, other than my family, who I talked most to, for 14 years, until his untimely death. I loved our conversations and I really, really miss him. He is responsible for Mallard’s syndication, so I thought I would include my memory of Jay here on my blog.


My favorite memory of Jay isn’t one memory. It’s of the several-times-weekly conversations we had, starting long before I was syndicated. His politics were as far from Mallard’s and mine as possible. To sum them up, he once told me that one of HIS favorite memories was of being patted on the head by Eleanor Roosevelt when he was a little boy. His parents had taken him to Hyde Park, where she was to make an appearance, and encouraged him to crawl under other people’s legs to get to the front of the crowd. As she passed, she patted him “right on the head!,” he would say, as if he’d been blessed by a goddess. We liked to live down to our stereotypes of each other; he could be really picky about what he ate and drank, and proudly told me that his mom not only made separate meals for the family’s adults and children, but different meals for each picky child. “Does that complete your mental picture of my liberal, permissive upbringing?,” he’d ask.

Our regular conversations had begun because, for the first year or so of my syndication, Jay wanted me to clear every cartoon with him before I inked it, lest I become the first cartoonist in history to lose 400 newspapers on the same day. Those editing sessions would ineluctably become conversations about everything from politics to car-bodies (we both longed to someday design them, and shared the conviction that, for every beautiful car on the road, there are at least fifty hideous ones), to the time he, on a lark, ran for, and was elected, student body president at Wisconsin, and proceeded to blow the entire student budget on covering the school lawn with plastic pink flamingos. Again, he took pride in reinforcing my notion of the sort of thing liberals like to spend other people’s money on. He could, it seemed, talk knowledgeably about practically anything, while questioning most everything, including himself.

Heck, I met him because he wanted to take a chance on a right-wing, knuckle-dragging conservative comic strip.

Jay Kennedy started out as my editor, and became my good friend.

–Bruce Tinsley, Mallard Fillmore


26 thoughts on “Taking A Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. I enjoy your comic strip immensely! Don’t ever stop presenting my morning with the ‘oh boy, is that ever true’ eye opener. My husband and I look at your strip first. Thank you for expressing our sentiments exactly!

  2. Since my local paper does not run Mallard, I was hoping to see the cartoons here. You need a new web designer! I can’t even view thhe cartoons! Your blog is covered with adfs, and I can’t even see what I’m typing in the comment box because it’s covered by the crawler of comic strips.
    Hope you fix this!

  3. It said a lot about Jay that even though he disagreed with you politically he was still willing to give you a chance at syndication. That’s more than a lot of so called “tolerant” liberals would do.

  4. I miss opening my local newspaper to the Editorial Page and reading Mallard Fillmore. My local paper nicknamed “The Red Star” by many saw fit to eliminate Mallard because Doonsbury was going on hiatus and the only reason they carried Mallard was to offset the extreme left views of Doonsbury. Doonsbury will be back but not Mallard Fillmore. Glad this website exist so I can keep up with Mallard.

    • “Doonsbury will be back….”

      Don’t bet on it. Trudeau had been putting in a new strip each Sunday, but last week-end (30 March) he recycled one of his flat, sagging, cement-headed old Sunday malfeasances. The ostensible reason for his “hiatus” had been given as his preoccupation with his Web show for Amazon – “Alpha House,” yet another snerking leftard effort to promulgate anti-American propaganda – but I suspect that in truth it’s because not even Trudeau can stomach the spew he’s been producing since Michelle’s Metrosexual Manchild achieved the “Liberal” apotheosis and proved that our tyrannous secretive and utterly corrupt homegrown fascisti can’t even make the trains run on time.

  5. You are a bully! Your attempt at humor, by bashing TSA Screeners, is small minded and mean spirited. You have been banished.

    • You’re kidding, right?? Yesterday, Huckabee noted that going through the TSA pat-down was his thrill for the day…The first clue is the espression on the ‘patters’ face…it’s a dead give-away, that the guy is enjoying his job.

  6. Sounds like your liberal editor be less liberal than he let on. Love the cartoons, keep them coming. Don’t feel bad about being lousy at blogging, many of us are.

  7. Dear Bruce,
    Sorry for the loss of your friend. My wife and I both love your straightforward and very real and honest look at politics today. My local newspaper here on Long Island,Newsday, stopped printing Doonsbury and quickly thereafter stopped Mallard. Typical liberal take on their concept of balance. I’m glad I can get it on line. Any chance you will be on Long Island in the future? I’d love to meet you and get a signed copy of a book or strip.Take care and be well. Regards,
    Stephen Grossman

  8. Just a note… for the last several days, the cartoon panels across King Features are not opening. I use Google Chrome but have also tried coming here with IE and FF, only to see the same problem. Moreover, this is the only site that exhibits this type of image download failure.

    Enjoy Mallard and hope to be able to read him again soon 🙂

    • So I’m not the only one who has trouble with the King Features comics. Fortunately most are available at other sites (arcamax for one). King Features needs to fix the problem.

  9. The U.S. has a higher cost of living than most other nations and sends more kids to college than most other nations. So what’s your point? We should pay teachers 3rd world salaries? We should not let our kids go to college so that we don’t have the most productive workforce in the world?

    Nice job of taking information out of context.

  10. I just love your comic, look forward to reading it daily, however, I don’t understand what ARUGULA stands for. I get the idea and agree but would like to know where this news items your are making fun of is. Hear in Calif. food stamps buy many “wants” and needs go without. Not surprised to read that tattoos etc. are part of our local funding, let’s not forget fake fingernails, and IPhones. Keep up the great work. Mt. Ranch, CA

    • Doonsbury and Mallard sat side by side in the San Luis Obispo Tribune…and recently both disappeared…what the hell is going on?

  11. Could you reverse the little cartoon and have a picture of Fillmore holding up a sign of Moonbeam with the red slash, from left to right’ thru his face?

    • Absolutely love this strip! But I beg you…BEG you…please get your fabulous Mallard published in book form. I need my family across the land, and sometimes in Afghanistan (!), to be able to have Mallard at their fingertips. I’m talking years and years of Mallard at his best from the first strip to now. Tee shirts are great….but seriously….books…and lots of them.

  12. Today’s question: Would ANY other Attorney General have been subjected to a comic strip like this?! Answer: No, but then, no other Attorney General has been African-American. You really give Fascism a bad name.

  13. Phil, So because he is a black person he is to get a pass on his racist actions, his breaking laws, lies and refusals to answer for his actions. Now I understand thanks for explaining your “blaming”.

  14. Yes, Bruce Tinsley, you are terrible at this blog thing.

    This post is presumably a tribute to your late friend and comics editor Jay Kennedy. It’s just copied from what you submitted to the other King Features blog that you link to. I have read that entire blog entry and noted that of the three replies to it, two were from brothers of Jay. One of his brothers offered a sort of apology for Jay choosing to syndicate your strip and the other offered an elaboration/correction on your telling of the Eleanor Roosevelt story (which includes your partisan humor, front and center).

    Could you post anything new and original to this blog? Share some preliminary sketches, maybe share some older work with your audience, the kind of thing that other artists do with their King Features blogs. You must at least have some entertaining hate mail or something that you could share. Are you contractually obligated to have this blog? If not, maybe you should just not do it.

  15. R/E May 28 strip. You may put down the concerned citizens who show their support of the kidnapped school girls as being people not doing “something about whatever” because they are using words instead of actions, but how does this differ from yourself? All your strip does is use words to incite. What kind of “actually doing something about whatever” has it done? Nothing! And you accept money for it. The supporters of the school children have not made a profession out of their caring.

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