Cowboy humorist and cartoonist “Mad Jack” Hanks has passed away.
Jack Hanks, also known as “Mad Jack” passed away unexpectedly on December 17, 2022. He died peacefully in his home due to complications from a recent illness. At 82 years of age, Jack lived quite the authentic cowboy life.
Jack Hanks was always a cowboy. He spent many of his younger years as a cowboy on a ranch in West Texas and later moved to East Texas where he managed a ranch for Hunt Oil Company in the 1970s.
In 1985, he took a job managing an outfit near Ridgway before he and his wife Martha moved to the Front Range in the early 1990s and purchased what he called the O-NO Ranch north of Wellington [Colorado].
It was from the O-NO that he began his career as a cowboy poet, humorist, cartoonist, and artist. His column Tales from the O-NO Ranch by Mad Jack Hanks became a fixture in The Fence Post Magazine about that time.
[Jack] ran a small cattle operation and became a professional Cowboy Entertainer honing his skills as a poet, cartoonist, artist and writer. He became well known as a cowboy poet, entertaining at cowboy poetry gatherings and professional events around the Western United States. He wrote a weekly column for The Fence Post, was famous for his O-NO Ranch cartoons in the Hoots Calendars, and wrote several books about his storied adventures. Someone once asked him if he really lived all those adventures. He really did. He was a genuine cowboy right up to the moment he passed in his bedroom
When I was a child, I loved the “comics” in any Sunday edition of any newspaper as they were always in color. As I got older I looked for my favorites such as Garfield, Dagwood, Hagar the Horrible, Calvin and Hobbs and Rick O’Shay in earlier years. Of course, I always liked to draw and maybe create my own comic strip. I tried that a number of years back and the “yuppies” in the ivory towers of the major syndicates pushed me aside as the “hillbilly” they assumed I was. I am so grateful for this publication and others that have given me the opportunity to stir up my brain and try to come up with “funnies” that I hope most of you enjoy and have enjoyed for over 26 years.
Truthfully, gentle readers, I never thought it would be available to me. Trust me, after some fourteen hundred cartoons in The Fence Post, I have done numerous illustrations for magazines, books, book covers and many of them with a humorous theme. That was one of my goals in life, (bucket list) as a young man in my 20s to be able to created illustrations for advertising or for posters, books etc. I done it! YEAH!
It was another rough week for The Fence Post family with the loss of Mad Jack Hanks.
Since I started here about five years ago, we’ve said farewell to Gwen Peterson, Baxter Black and now Mad Jack.
My favorite Mad Jack story happened a few years ago when he got bucked off his horse and ended up getting a helicopter ride to the hospital. He immediately called from the emergency room to let me know he wouldn’t have his column in for that week.
But he was back the next week, stronger and ornerier than ever…