Allen Saunders

Born: April 24, 1899 in The United States


Allen Saunders was an American writer, journalist and cartoonist who wrote the comic strips Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Mary Worth and Kerry Drake. His full name, John Allen Saunders, sometimes led to confusion with his son John (John Phillip Saunders, 1924–2003), who later continued two of his father's strips.Born in Lebanon, Indiana, Saunders enjoyed newspaper comics as a youth, and he practiced drawing them. After graduating from Wabash College in 1920, he taught French there for seven years while working in the summers on his M.A. at the University of Chicago and taking night classes at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He drew editorial cartoons and the single-panel Miserable Moments, wrote detective fiction for magazines, worked in Chautauqua theater and wrote plays. These experiences converged in his later comics career.[2]In 1927, while on sabbatical from Wabash, he moved to Toledo, Ohio as a reporter and drama critic for the News-Bee, and he stayed on with that newspaper. Eight years later, Elmer Woggon (a friend at the rival Toledo Blade) proposed a comic strip for Publishers Syndicate (later Publishers-Hall Syndicate), The Great Gusto, which he would draw if Saunders did the writing. They shook on it, but it wasn't accepted until they refocused on its Indian character. On November 23, 1936, it finally appeared in the newspapers as Big Chief Wahoo and scored a success—fortunately, as Saunders' regular job ended when the News-Bee folded in 1938. Gags gave way to adventure strips, so in 1940, he began to reshape the narrative into Steve Roper, centered on the escapades of a racket-busting photojournalist