Smilin' Jack


Genre: adventure; aviation

Created in: 1933

The Adventures of Smilin' Jack is an aviation comic strip that first appeared (as On the Wing) October 1, 1933, in the Chicago Tribune and ended April 1, 1973. It was the longest-running aviation comic strip.

The strip was created by cartoonist and aviation enthusiast Zack Mosley, who had previously worked on the Buck Rogers and Skyroads strips. Smilin' Jack was originally named Mack Martin, in On the Wing. On December 31, 1933, at the request of an editor, the protagonist's name was changed to Jack Martin, and the strip was retitled The Adventures of Smilin' Jack after its creator, who had been nicknamed "Smilin' Zack" by his colleagues. In later years it was simply known as Smilin' Jack. Zack Mosley's assistant during the 1930s and early 1940s was Boody Rogers. Smilin' Jack's appearance was based on that of notable air racing star Roscoe Turner.

Smilin' Jack developed many supporting characters through its lengthy run, including Downwind Jaxon, Fat Stuff, Rufus Jimpson, Dixie Lee, and eventually Jack Jr. There were also various romantic interests. Villains included The Claw, Toemain the Terrible, The Head, and his sister, The Mongoose.

aviation; pilot