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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 9
nard n pat _ Nard n' Pat 2
Nard n' Pat #1
Nard n' Pat #2
Nard n' Pat

1974-1981 / Cartoonists Co-Op Press - Kitchen Sink

Though Jay Lynch has a long list of distinguished accomplishments that touch on many areas of pop culture, Nard and Pat are his signature characters in underground comics. The two issues of Nard n' Pat represent only a fraction of the characters' popularity, as they appeared in the Chicago Seed, Gothic Blimp Works, Purple Cat, Radical America and multiple issues of Bijou Funnies in the late '60s and early '70s before this series.

Lynch may seem to linger on the fringe of the history of underground comics, but in fact he played a key role in their birth. As a youth in the '50s, Lynch fell in love with Mad and later discovered The Realist, which gave him hope for humanity after years of thinking nobody thought like he did. The Realist showed him the possibilities of what a free press and free exchange of ideas could mean to society at large. As Lynch told The Comics Journal in 1987, "Here was a magazine that pointed out, through satire, the hypocrisies in the society that nobody else dared even speak of, let alone print discussions of."

In 1961, Lynch read a letter from Joe Pilati in Cracked magazine that referenced his satire fanzine Smudge and gave his address, which led Lynch into the world of humor fanzines. Lynch and Skip Williamson both contributed cartoons to the fanzine Wild in '62 and that same year Lynch moved from Florida to live on his own in Chicago at age 17. He was soon writing and drawing comics for college and national humor magazines like Cracked, Sick and Harvey Kurtzman's Help! In 1967, he launched the Chicago Mirror and converted that into Bijou Funnies in '68, featuring work by Lynch, Williamson, Jay Kinney, Art Spiegelman, Robert Crumb and Gilbert Shelton. Nard 'n Pat stories were featured in all eight issues of Bijou Funnies.

Nard is a conservative shlub of a guy who continually falls prey to the hip, horny and self-centered Pat, who is ostensibly a cat but talks and acts like a human. Nard and Pat are more like roommates than master and pet, but when riled Nard will point out that he is supposed to be the master. The characters were based on two people Lynch had known in real life, but over time Nard 'n' Pat became more reflective of the relationship between Lynch and his wife. The two issues of Nard n' Pat include both original and reprinted material from Bijou and other sources.

Lynch went on to write the long-running Phoebe & the Pigeon People strip (illustrated by Gary Whitney) for the Chicago Reader, the best of which were collected into three Kitchen Sink comic books. Lynch also was a teacher at the Chicago Art Institute and contributed to several popular comic series, like Topps' Zorro and Dark Horse's Duckman. His new book for children, Otto's Orange Day, has received excellent reviews, and he recently branched out into writing songs and working with musicians.

Jay Lynch is one of my favorite underground comic creators. He really knows how to write funny, concise stories, and is (in my mind) highy underrated as a comic illustrator. Besides his detailed ink work, which elevate his best work near the top of the underground fellowship, Lynch has a great sense of composition, well exemplified by the cover for Nard n' Pat #1.