Zack Mosley had been working for Dick Calkins on Buck Rogers and Skyroads for years. In 1933 he developed his own aviation strip and as part of an expanding of The Chicago Tribune and The New York Sunday News comics sections his strip, On The Wing, debuted as a Sunday only page on October 1, 1933.
The star of the strip is Mack and he is joined by the other good guys Steve and Bumpy, with kid sidekick Pinfeathers hanging with them. Before October is over Pinfeathers’ sister Mary is introduced.
Of course high flying adventures and danger ensue, like the December 24, 1933 adventure below where Mack and Mary and Pinfeathers are traveling through bad weather to see the sibling’s grandfather:
But not to worry, the next Sunday shows Jack, Mary, and Pinfeathers safely getting to the ground:
Wait. What? Who’s Jack? Well, without the least bit of hesitation or explanation Mack Martin became Jack Martin on December 31, 1933 and the strip was retitled Smilin’ Jack following orders from publisher Joseph Patterson.
A daily strip would be added on June 15, 1936 and Zack Mosley’s career was set for take off.
Smilin’ Jack would run on newspaper pages just shy of forty years – ending on April 1, 1973:
Smilin’ Jack © Tribune Content Agency