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Artists Biography

Brad Anderson

Bradley Jay Anderson, commonly known as Brad Anderson, was an American cartoonist and creator of the comic strips Marmaduke and Grandpa's Boy. Anderson received his BFA from Syracuse University in 1951.
Born in Jamestown, New York, Brad Anderson grew up in Chautauqua County in western New York, graduating from Brocton Central High School in 1943. It was in high school that the young aviation buff began submitting cartoons for publication in specialty magazines like Flying and Flying Aces. After high school, Anderson served in the US Navy during World War II, where he continued to develop his artistic skills, contributing cartoons to various Navy publications during his three years of service (1943-1946). Anderson enrolled at Syracuse University on the GI Bill after the War, where he studied fine arts with a major in Advertising. Throughout his undergraduate years, he frequently published cartoons in the student magazine The Syracusan, as well as in popular commercial publications like Collier's Weekly and the Saturday Evening Post.
In 1952, Anderson took a position in the art department of the Utica (NY) advertising agency Ball & Grier. Quickly realizing that his freelance magazine work was much more lucrative, he abandoned advertising in 1953. By now, Anderson had carved out a niche for himself with the type of panel cartoon particularly favored by publications like the Saturday Evening Post, and he had little difficulty establishing himself in this venue. It was his success with this "family-oriented" humor, in fact, that became the impetus for his most important and enduring creation, the newspaper comic strip Marmaduke.
There are various stories as to where Anderson came up with his signature canine creation, his mother's boxer is often mentioned, or a Great Dane Anderson knew in Jamestown but as Anderson tells it, "during the time, I was drawing various types of dogs in my magazine cartoons, I was also trying to develop a dog character specifically for eventual newspaper syndication... you couldn't see the eyes of my shaggy dogs, so as I thought more about it I decided I wanted a dog where I could have an expressive face". The Great Dane's combination of big, expressive eyes and pointy, easy-to-see ears proved to be ideal. An initial collaboration with gag writer Bill Leeming yielded a batch of samples, and Anderson was soon making the rounds to the various syndicates. In the fall of 1954, Marmaduke began its long run as a syndicated newspaper comic strip. At its peak, the strip appeared in more than 600 newspapers in 20 countries worldwide.
In addition to the astounding commercial success of Marmaduke, including dozens of book collections with sales figures in the millions, Brad Anderson received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. In 1978, he received the Newspaper Panel Award from the National Cartoonists Society and in 1999 was honored by his alma mater with a George Arents Pioneer Medal. In addition, his work has been exhibited in museums and galleries, including a showing at the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts (1977) and at Syracuse University as part of the exhibit Cartoons, Caricatures and Comics: Selected Works from the School of Art and Design Alumni and from the Collections of Syracuse University (12 Dec 1992-15 Jan 1993). In 2004, the 50th anniversary book, Top Dog: Marmaduke at 50 (New York: Ballantine, 2003) was released.

Works by this artist…

  • Marmaduke
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