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John McMeel – RIP

Co-founder and Chairman of Andrews McMeel Universal John McMeel has passed away.

John McMeel, Chairman of Andrews McMeel, passed away on July 7, 2021 at age 85.

The company that became Andrews McMeel Universal started as a moonlighting alternative career of two firm friends, John P. McMeel and James F. Andrews. McMeel was a native of South Bend, Indiana, who majored in business at Notre Dame University. In 1960 James Andrews rented a room in the home of McMeel’s mother, and the two young men became friends. They shared similar interests in humor, and soon they began a small business together, syndicating material for Catholic newspapers. McMeel eventually went to work for the Hall Syndicate, which distributed ‘Dennis the Menace’ and ‘Pogo.’ Andrews found a job with Sheed & Ward, a religious publishing house that printed serious theological works. They continued to run their syndicate, called A/M Publication Services, as a sideline. Then sometime in the late 1960s, their wives jointly convinced them to take the risk of making the syndicate a serious, full-time venture. In 1970, McMeel and Andrews quit their other jobs and incorporated Universal Press Syndicate, choosing the name because it sounded large and impressive.

above: Jim Andrews and John McMeel

This is breaking. A formal obituary will be posted later.

Community Comments

#1 Mark Tatulli
@ 11:05 pm

The heart and soul of Andrew’s McMeel Universal.
A very great man. He will be missed.

#2 Will Henry
@ 10:00 am

I was lucky enough to meet the man. A great advocate for comics, he will certainly be missed

#3 Pat Carroll
@ 3:11 pm

John touched many in his life and enriched many lives with his tireless generousity. It was a pleasure to be in his company, alway a kind work, his glass was always full. RIP

#4 Jason Chatfield
@ 4:30 pm

A giant in the industry and a kind soul.
He will be very deeply missed.
My sincerest condolences to the McMeel family.

#5 Brian Basset
@ 5:33 pm

In true George Bailey fashion, John’s life touched so many others.

#6 James Hayden
@ 3:10 pm

Rest peacefully, John. I enjoyed our conversations and your ready sense of humor. God bless you.
(PS to those who didn’t know, John’s dad was George Gipp’s doctor.)

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