Jim Strahle – RIP

Cartoonist Jim Strahle has passed away.

James Byron (Jim) Strahle
October 24, 1948 – January 31, 2023

From the obituary:

Jim was a 1966 graduate of Parkview High School in Springfield, MO, where he began drawing cartoons for the school newspaper. However, it was ten years later, at the mark of his reunion, that he was prompted to finally face his fears about cartooning and work toward his dream job. A resident of Iola, KS at the time, he was inspired by his young family and their antics to start Strahle’s Bailiwick, which he regularly wrote and illustrated for four area newspapers (Iola, Humboldt, Yates Center and Emporia). Over the next fifteen years, he would publish more than 1600 cartoons and five books. His sixth and final book, “Best of Straylee’s Bailiwick” was printed in 2009. Jim’s family-friendly content appeared in several national publications, including three issues of Woman’s World in 2022.

Strahle’s Baliwick appeared twice weekly in The Iola (Kansas) Register from January 10, 1977 to December 31, 1992.

Jim spelled his name as it sounded in a series of Straylee’s Baliwick books.

Jim freelanced his cartoons to Highlights for Children, Soap Opera Digest, and other magazines.

Jim’s homesite has some (now) humorous highlights of Jim’s cartoon life including a shot at syndication:

I sent sample cartoons to the major cartoon syndicates such as Universal Press and King Features. Universal gave me an interview but declined to make me an offer. The largest syndicate in the world, King Features contacted me. They told me I was a great gag writer. (That is also another way of saying, “Your drawing sucks.”)

At first I was hurt that they didn’t care for my drawing, but King Features told me they hear from over 1000 cartoonists a year. Out of that 1000, they will contact less than a dozen. I was able to put it in perspective. It meant that out of 1000 writers, they thought I was in the top one percent. If I was also in a pool of 1000 people who could draw, would I be in the top ten? Not a chance.

King Features first teamed me with another cartoonist that the syndicate had told he was a great artist. (Yep, that meant they thought his writing sucked) The two of us began to work on a strip together. It wasn’t successful. He was not yet willing to give up on the idea that he could write and I had difficulty telling him his jokes weren’t funny. Next they teamed me up with a cartoonist from Norway. He sent me a sample of his art. I sent him a set of my books. I never heard from him again. I had, after all, just sent him 1000 cartoon ideas that he could redraw and sell in Europe and I’d never know it.

“Straylee” cartoons can be enjoyed at jimstrahle.com and at his Facebook page.

I want to be remembered as a cartoonist – not because of my success in making a living, but for those times I might have made people smile.”