Back in the mid-1990s, I traveled to Milledgeville, Ga., to examine the archives of the author Flannery O’Connor. I published the resulting article way back in Hogan’s Alley #2, but I wanted to share the artwork with I.T.C.H. readers.
While in college at the Georgia State College for Women, O’Connor wanted to pursue both cartooning and fiction writing, and the student newspaper carried her cartoons from Oct. 9, 1942, right through her 1945 graduation. She even submitted cartoons to The New Yorker, but none were published or even, apparently, survived.
You’ll note the bird-like shape of her signature, which is composed of the four letters of her name: Mary Flannery O’Connor. O’Connor had a lifelong interest in birds and owned several at home.
O’Connor went on to produce a remarkable body of work, despite debilitating physical pain brought on by lupus, beginning in 1952 with Wise Blood. She died on August 3, 1964, at the age of 39 of the same form of lupus that took her father in 1941 when she was completing high school.
So her body of cartooning work is a small, but nonetheless noteworthy, footnote to a life and career cut far too short. And for myself, I love her outlook on creativity: for her, cartooning was as artistically valid a form of expression as prose, and both of them allowed her to express her view of the world. So from one cartoon-loving Georgian to another, Mary Flannery, thanks!