Author Topic: Jay Lynch Question  (Read 3208 times)

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Offline roughwriter

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Jay Lynch Question
« on: December 03, 2021, 07:30:59 AM »
     Does anyone know how many of Jay's designs became Wacky Packages? All the material I've been able to find makes vague statements about many or most of the designs in a series being his, but I can't find concrete numbers. I'm hoping that amongst our experienced collectors the answer might be ferreted out!

Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2021, 05:28:51 AM »
This post has been read almost 70 times, and NO ONE has anything to add? I thought this forum was all about the minutia of Wacky Packages. You all wax lyrical about the collation of certain cards, but nobody has any clue what the most celebrated concept artist in Wackys history actually did? That info must exist somewhere in the bowels of Topps' vaults, and from what I've seen on this site, some of you have been there. I've heard one estimate of 300 to 400, but it was a guess. Can't ANYONE be more precise?

Offline JailOJohn

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2021, 07:06:44 AM »
I would love to know your answer, but have no information to contributeÖ

Offline quas

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2021, 10:20:22 AM »
Perhaps it would be most helpful to clarify and delineate the respective roles of both Jay Lynch and Norm Saunders in terms of what each did or did not do in terms of the earliest Wackies.
Marc

Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2021, 10:38:13 AM »
Although Jay and Norm were both up to their eyeballs in the Golden Era of Wackys, their roles were very distinct. Norm was strictly a painter, and Jay, as far as I know, simply generated the ideas. Jay would make a line drawing, sometimes with basic colors indicated with colored markers, and Norm would take the gag and flesh it out into a final painting. Although both can be done by the same person, and frequently are, as far as Norm and Jay were concerned, they each specialized in their particular area. The final cards showed Norm's paintings, but many of Jay's roughs still exist, and can be found with a bit of searching online.

Offline mikecho

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2021, 11:00:02 AM »
Although Jay and Norm were both up to their eyeballs in the Golden Era of Wackys, their roles were very distinct. Norm was strictly a painter, and Jay, as far as I know, simply generated the ideas. Jay would make a line drawing, sometimes with basic colors indicated with colored markers, and Norm would take the gag and flesh it out into a final painting. Although both can be done by the same person, and frequently are, as far as Norm and Jay were concerned, they each specialized in their particular area. The final cards showed Norm's paintings, but many of Jay's roughs still exist, and can be found with a bit of searching online.
Some of them - and, admittedly, this is only a mere fraction of the total, I think -  can be found in the Lost Wackys section of lostwackys.com. These are either in black and white or in color.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2021, 12:28:39 PM by mikecho »

Offline MoldRush

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2021, 08:48:09 PM »
I could be wrong, but Iíve always had the impression that Jay drew all the roughs regardless of who came up with the initial concept, for the simple reason of his knack for the quick line drawing.  I donít know that Jay, Art or any other contributors ever kept score on who authored each title.  If I remember correctly, one of the Wacky handbooks showed a list of letters and letter pairings that could be checked against each real product title to see if a rhyming title came up that would work.  Call it brutally pragmatic when the goal was to crank these out as quickly and abundantly as possible.  When you think about it, some Wacky titles are so obvious that if you handed the real product to ten people, eight or nine of them would come up with the same parody title.  So I donít know that there was any strong sense of pride of authorship over whose proposed parody name was ultimately used.

Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2021, 08:19:06 AM »
I certainly agree that the goal back then was to pump these out as quickly and abundantly as possible, and it is also true that some of the artists saw Wackys as a way to pay the bills and fund their real interests (such as underground comics, in Jay's case), but Jay was not the "House Rough Artist" that converted other artist's ideas into preliminary drawings. There are many existing roughs drawn by other artists in their own hand, and all existing references to the process back in those days mentions artists doing their own drawings. There isn't a single reference I've seen to one artist drawing another's idea up back then. Jay's drawings and papers were donated to a cartoonist's museum, and are currently housed on the Ohio State campus. I actually travelled up there and tried to see his papers while there, but they are only made available by appointment. It is quite possible Jay never kept track of how many he designed, since his focus was elsewhere. If anyone has anything else to add, I'd love to hear it!

Offline MoldRush

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2021, 04:23:40 PM »
Ok, I guess because all the roughs Iíve seen for OS 1-16 look like they were done by Jayís hand I assumed he drew up all of them.  But in any case, itís probably unlikely anyone kept statistics of the kind youíre curious about.  They probably had no idea what staying power Wackys would even have.  The credits that you see on the opening page of comic books (at least the superhero titles) is like the other end of the spectrum - excellent record keeping and very little guesswork about who did what.

Speaking of comics, Iíve heard that Jay was outspokenly critical of comic books in general.  I assume he meant the gamut of comics code-approved product and not the underground stuff you mentioned.  Did he ever say exactly what it was about comic books that bothered him?

Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2021, 05:46:05 AM »
I never talked to Jay as much as I should have. I felt like a twerp that was bothering an icon, and that my petty questions were unworthy. Jay had absolutely nothing to do with that, because he was generous and kind and helpful to a little bug like me, trying to get in on the ground floor. I've tracked down many interviews and articles since his passing, and it seems to me that Jay was part of that anti-establishment wave of the 1960s that didn't want to be told what to think or read or eat or buy. Traditional comics had become so tightly regulated, either from the outside or the inside, that they sent a very conformist message. Jay wanted comics to be completely unrestricted, and to allow anyone to express whatever was on their mind. In his own way, he was fighting the "Closing of the American Mind". Wackys provided a surprisingly good alternative method for Jay to achieve his goal, because by mocking corporate advertising, he skewered American consumerism, and slapped us all in the face with the ridiculousness of it all. In a weird way, his Wackys may have been more effective in reaching his goal, because they were distributed to a much wider audience than his underground comix ever were, and they reached us at that young impressionable age where the underlying message stuck with us. Jay helped create a generation of skeptics that would not accept corporate scripture unquestioned, and I think he would be pleased with that legacy. I had hoped to be able to solidify the details of his achievements, but Jay was always modest, so maybe keeping it all unknown would have made him happy, too.

Offline JailOJohn

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2021, 06:27:26 AM »
Unfortunately, I was too young in the late 60s and 70s to have ever met Jay Lynch. Everything I have ever read about him says that he was a very smart, hardworking, and generous man. A few years back I tried to score a piece of his original art, and prices were exorbitant. Not exorbitant relative to life, but exorbitant relative to what I can afford. I troll e-bay periodically, but on the rare occasion that a full-size piece of his art comes up, it is very pricey...

Offline RawGoo

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2021, 07:02:48 AM »
I had the honor of spending an hour or so chatting with Jay at a show in NYC a while back.  He was funny as anything, and telling stories about his problems with a house full of cats.  He also told stories about the the 60's and 70's, and collaborating with people he enjoyed working with.  I'm sorry, but he didn't recite a list of Wacky titles he came up with himself.  He seemed to prefer talking about his underground work.

Offline MoldRush

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2021, 07:14:41 PM »
I had started reading that book about the 1950ís hysteria over comic books that led to the establishment of the CCA (The 10-cent Plague? Something like that) but i found it somewhat dense with information and a bit too tedious to finish it.  I guess if Jayís Ďmisspent youthí included a lot of exposure to pre-code comic books, I can understand why changes in the medium would have annoyed him.  But based on some of the gory images Iíve seen in pre-code EC comics for example, I suppose some degree of intervention was necessary if kids of any age could get their hands on books like that.  I guess a rating system like that used in movies would have been a good compromise, rather than driving controversial content completely underground.

Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2021, 07:20:48 PM »
     Does anyone know how many of Jay's designs became Wacky Packages? All the material I've been able to find makes vague statements about many or most of the designs in a series being his, but I can't find concrete numbers. I'm hoping that amongst our experienced collectors the answer might be ferreted out!
Unfortunately I don't think you'll ever get a full answer and even when Jay was with us, he couldn't give you a definitive answer. 

Jay had an incredible memory, especially considering the lifestyle he led in the 60ís and 70ís.  He grew to appreciate the attention and enduring acclaim that Wackies brought him. But at the time he did them, they were one of many projects he did to pay the bills and he figured that they would be quickly forgotten. 

When I first met him, over 25 years ago, he seemed most proud of his underground Comix work, and his commercial work as the primary writer for Bazooka Joe for over 20 years (ďI am the most published writer in the history of the worldĒ he told me during our first call).   I did notice that his memory was greatly enhanced when he had retained copies or documents (In the end, Jay had nearly 250 cubic feet of file boxes that he retained over the years and lugged around from apartment to apartment in Chicago and then throughout upstate New York).  His memory got fuzzier if he didnít have a physical record of it. 

He did not keep a list of roughs and only after the corner drug store installed a 10 cent copier was he able to make copies of his roughs.  In the mid-90's, he sent them to John Mann to copy and post to Johnís page where they still exist.  https://john-manns-wacky-site.com/roughs/index.html

There were ~100 rough copies with ~50 published and the copies only ran from about 9th series to the 16th (Smartz Collar and Bananacin are present despite Johnís note that these only went to the 15th series).

Jay said that Artie Spiegelman did the vast majority of the roughs for the die cuts, so it would appear that Jay did probably just under 100 published roughs over the original 16 series run.  Some like Barman (Jayís cartoonish character was rendered very lifelike by Saunders) and Fanatical and Sickly (Same with characters and Jay drew the moon as the ubiquitous 70's smiley face which Saunders rendered as a very detailed moon) underwent drastic changes while others like Delinquent Spinach and Bug Wally were pretty much unchanged.  At one point he recalled an early rough he did that sounded exactly like Lavirus, but he couldn't recall the name.  He definitely did Buggies which appeared on the second series proof sheet.

Hope this helps a bit in your quest.

Offline freetoes

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2021, 07:47:04 PM »
I had the honor of spending an hour or so chatting with Jay at a show in NYC a while back.  He was funny as anything, and telling stories about his problems with a house full of cats.  He also told stories about the the 60's and 70's, and collaborating with people he enjoyed working with.  I'm sorry, but he didn't recite a list of Wacky titles he came up with himself.  He seemed to prefer talking about his underground work.

Jay used to post occasionally on the old Wacky Forum as UMTUTSUT. I had a friend on the Joggle site who lived in the same town as he, and when he mentioned needing to give away one of his cats, I messaged her to ask if she knew anyone who was interested.

As you probably know, Jay hung out with a bunch of us once after the Philly Show and spent the whole night doing personalized Wacky sketches at $20 to $40 a pop. He seemed just like a regular guy, only immensely talented.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2021, 07:48:58 PM by freetoes »

Offline bandaches

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2021, 08:13:54 PM »
Is the question who wrote the gags or who did the roughs, not always the same person in fact I believe for the early series they were always very different people I thought a guy named Stan Hart wrote a lot of the gags for the diet cuts.   For example rowdy shows on John Mann's page as being a rough created by Jay J but we know the gag was one of the few gags that norm contributed because rowdy is the name of norm's dog  and norm thought it would be a funny gag, that's the only reason there's a fire hydrant in that gag
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Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2021, 05:38:26 AM »
Is the question who wrote the gags or who did the roughs, not always the same person in fact I believe for the early series they were always very different people I thought a guy named Stan Hart wrote a lot of the gags for the diet cuts.   For example rowdy shows on John Mann's page as being a rough created by Jay J but we know the gag was one of the few gags that norm contributed because rowdy is the name of norm's dog  and norm thought it would be a funny gag, that's the only reason there's a fire hydrant in that gag

I respectfully disagree with you. I believe Jay tells the story in the intro to one of the Wacky books. Jay came up with the idea for the rough and drew it without anyone else's input, but when Norm saw the dog gag, he asked if he could change the name to his dog's (Rowdy). Norm's contribution was limited to switching one name for another. I've often had painters make more drastic changes to my original designs, but I am still the originator and concept artist. My focus has been specifically on Jay. It is quite possible other artists worked in a different manner, but I have yet to come across any clear documentation of it.

Back in the ANS days, there was a spell where I actually tried using this method. I was pinched for time, but Colin wanted more ideas, so he suggested I simply describe my concepts, and someone else could draw them. It actually takes quite some time to nail down all the particulars in words, and then the other person's interpretation of what you wrote rarely equals what you imagined. I must've submitted 20 or so ideas in this fashion, and only one became a Wacky (Transfoamers). Even that one morphed noticeably from what I initially suggested. In the end, there was no real time saved, and the results were poorer, so I went back to drawing my own roughs.


Offline Jean Nutty

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2021, 07:49:45 AM »

Jay used to post occasionally on the old Wacky Forum as UMTUTSUT.

classic!


Offline JailOJohn

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2021, 10:11:28 AM »
I love to hear the stories about Jay Lynch. I always knew the name, but growing up in the non-Chicago part of the Midwest, never came even close to meeting him. I WILL say the Wikipedia entry about him does not do him justice, it is especially light on the Wacky stuff. Please keep the Jay Lynch stories coming, as they never get old, at least for me.....

Offline bandaches

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2021, 02:44:59 PM »
I respectfully disagree with you. I believe Jay tells the story in the intro to one of the Wacky books. Jay came up with the idea for the rough and drew it without anyone else's input, but when Norm saw the dog gag, he asked if he could change the name to his dog's (Rowdy). Norm's contribution was limited to switching one name for another. I've often had painters make more drastic changes to my original designs, but I am still the originator and concept artist. My focus has been specifically on Jay. It is quite possible other artists worked in a different manner, but I have yet to come across any clear documentation of it.

Back in the ANS days, there was a spell where I actually tried using this method. I was pinched for time, but Colin wanted more ideas, so he suggested I simply describe my concepts, and someone else could draw them. It actually takes quite some time to nail down all the particulars in words, and then the other person's interpretation of what you wrote rarely equals what you imagined. I must've submitted 20 or so ideas in this fashion, and only one became a Wacky (Transfoamers). Even that one morphed noticeably from what I initially suggested. In the end, there was no real time saved, and the results were poorer, so I went back to drawing my own roughs.
Not exactly sure what you are disagreeing with.  What was the title before Norm changed it to Rowdy according to Jay?  Regardless. I don't believe Jay had anything to do with series 1 and Stan came up with gags while others did the roughs.  Are you saying Stan did the roughs?
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Offline roughwriter

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #20 on: December 10, 2021, 05:26:46 AM »
If you'll read the intro to the second Wacky book (blue cover), you'll find the story about the ROVER rough that Jay drew, that was changed to ROWDY for Norm. As the title to this topic shows, my focus here is on Jay. Other artists and painters may have had other arrangements.

Offline bandaches

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #21 on: December 10, 2021, 08:44:10 PM »
If you'll read the intro to the second Wacky book (blue cover), you'll find the story about the ROVER rough that Jay drew, that was changed to ROWDY for Norm. As the title to this topic shows, my focus here is on Jay. Other artists and painters may have had other arrangements.
You asked about Jay's "designs" so qualify "design" since you so snarkily went after the group for not responding to your less than clear ask in the first place.  There is the gag(which rarely does any one person get credit since we all know Len, Artie and Jay would collaborate on it), then there is the pencil sketch, the rough(maybe just black and white, maybe color too) then the art itself. 
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Offline ToadallyDude

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Re: Jay Lynch Question
« Reply #22 on: December 10, 2021, 10:33:31 PM »
Just jumped back on after a few months & saw this one.  I wish I could offer more info on this Jay roughs topic, as we all wanted to know the same thing back in the turn of the millenium too.  But there never seemed to be a clear answer.  I hung out at Jay's place in Chicago in '99, and saw all the stacks of boxes.  He was so generous with his time, and showed us stacks of roughs and unpublished stuff, chatting for hours & going to dinner with us.  But from what I remember of it all, the accounts on this thread sound about right.  I remember him distinctly saying that Art did the early stuff, and he was brought on later.  Since much of the 2nd series came from the Wacky Ads, I always assumed Jay didn't start until the 3rd.  But since then so many sheets and evidence have come up with titles like Taster's Choke & Bald having earlier origins than originally thought, and untitled's like Buggies surfacing.  Jay seemed to know a lot about the Wacky Ads, too.  So, it certainly sounded like he was around & part of the action early anyway.  I remember there even being a spooky "Wacky Ads came before the Die Cuts" period for a while, which may have gotten debunked.  (iPad actually came before iPhone regardless of release times, so anything's possible). 

Not sure about the 100 or less #.  I always had the impression that Jay pitched more stuff than 20%, too.  But I also remember mention of another rough artist (not Art, Len, etc...  someone else).  Bunk?... or was he much later?... Might have been the same person who did the non-Saunders final pieces (which also seem to be up for debate as no one would argue that 6Urp wasn't Saunders, but the simple, flat or line-drawing titles, like Mold-Rush, PlayDumb, Blisterine, etc. don't look like Saunders, but still could have been).  I do also remember Jay saying that everything was moving so fast when they were popular that it wasn't really logged who did what at the time.  Otherwise there would be some kind of list. 

Anyway... not that my often-absent-from-these-discussions opinion matters, but given the detailed lists I used to keep, and sleuthing I used to do, I definitely would have kept a total if one had been available from Jay back then.  I could probably tell you who owned which piece of known final art back in 2000 (which would be severely inaccurate now, for certain).  Sadly, I only ever owned 3 or 4 Jay roughs & didn't hang on to them.

 

anything