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 Chic (Murat Bernard Young) Young  (1901 - 1973)

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Lived/Active: New York/Missouri      Known for: comic strip illustration, cartoons

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Ad Code: 3
Chic (Murat Bernard Young) Young
from Auction House Records.
The Second Blondie Daily Comic Strip Original Art, dated 9-16-30 (King Features Syndicate, 1930)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Cartoonist Chic Young had a knack for drawing pretty girls, and from the early 1920s on, he found himself drawing comic strips about them. However, it wasnt until he put an apron on one of his paper dolls that he was able to parlay this ability into a personal fortune, an empire, and then a dynasty. That all began in 1930 when Young created Blondie.

Murat Bernard Young grew up in St. Louis, but after graduating from high school, he returned to his native Chicago where he worked as a stenographer while attending night classes at the Art Institute. Late in 1921, he heard that the Newspaper Enterprises Association (NEA) was looking for someone to draw a comic strip about a pretty girl, so he went to Cleveland. The Affairs of Jane was the result.

By the time it ended six months later, Young was on his way to New York. On July 15, 1922, he started another pretty girl strip about a flapper. This one was entitled Beautiful Bab -- for the Bell Syndicate. The entry ran only four months, but with it Young attracted the attention of King Features, who offered him a job in their art department.

In 1924, he created Dumb Dora for King Features. This was about a pretty brunette who "wasnt as dumb as she looked." Dora proved popular enough to last longer than its forerunners, prompting Young, in the spring of 1930, to ask for more money and ownership of his creation. The final result was yet another pretty girl strip, Blondie, which debuted on September 8, 1930. By that time Youngs style had reached its maturity, and was neat and tidy with no loose ends.

At first, Blondie was just another flighty Sheba, a leftover from the Roaring Twenties with a flock of beaux. She eventually fell in love with one of them, and when she married Dagwood Bumstead in 1933, the strip became a domestic comedy. With the birth of Baby Dumpling the following year, the nationand a vast number of papers took the Bumstead family to its bosom.

Young was a man with an excellent gag sense; he saw to it that nothing got in the way of getting each days joke across. Yet he provided enough domestic details-especially in the area of Blondies attractive but sensible wardrobe- to make the growing Bumstead family seem real to his ever-increasing readership. Young was a shrewd packager of his strip, making sure that the various assistants and ghosts he hired stuck to the uncluttered, minimalist style he had perfected. Among the many helpers he had over the years were Alex Raymond, Ray McGill, and Jim Raymond.

Blondie picked up more and more papers, and the characters were aggressively merchandised. Before the end of the 1930s, they began to invade other media. In 1938, the first of 28 movies starring Arthur Lake and Penny Singleton was produced; next came a radio show and then a television series.

Young was a very wealthy man when he died in March of 1973. His son, Dean, inherited Blondie, and with a succession of artists, they have maintained his fathers efficient formula for the strip.


(Information on the biography above is based on writings from the book, "The Encyclopedia of American Comics," edited by Ron Goulart.)


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