According to an announcement from the Hearst Corporation, King Features Syndicate editor-in-chief Jay Kennedy died yesterday while on vacation in Costa Rica. He was 50 years old.
"Jay had a profound impact on the transformation of King Features as a home for the best new and talented comic strip creators in the country," said Bruce L. Paisner, executive vice president, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication. "He was an extremely creative talent himself and we are indebted to him for all he did."
Kennedy joined King Features in 1988 as deputy comics editor and became comics editor one year later. He was named editor in chief in 1997. He previously served as cartoon editor of Esquire magazine,and was a humor book agent and a cartoon consultant and editor for magazines and publishers, including People. In 1985, Kennedy guest edited r the "European Humor" issue of The National Lampoon.
Kennedy wrote articles about the history of cartooning, and profiled cartoonists and contemporary comics for magazines including New Age Journal, Heavy Metal, New York, The IGA Journal, and Escape, an English bi-monthly. He was also the author of "The Underground Comix Guide," published in 1982.
Before graduating with a sociology degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Kennedy studied sculpting and conceptual art at The School of Visual Arts in New York City.
I recall having corresponded with Kennedy on several occasions, probably asking some questions or other about women cartoonists at King Features, and always found him knowledgeable and pleasant. ComicMix offfers our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.