CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (AP) — Joe Edwards, an artist who worked on the 1942 debut issue of Archie comics and later created the character Li'l Jinx, has died.
Edwards, who was 85, died Feb. 1 at his home after years of treatment for heart problems, said his son, Todd Edwards.
A Manhattan native, Edwards served in the Army during World War II, illustrating training manuals. While based in Italy, he drew animated cartoons warning of minefields around Naples.
Edwards worked for Demby Studios, which produced comic book stories for a number of publishers, and then joined the former MLJ Comics, the precursor to Archie Comics.
Todd Edwards said his father always carried a sketch pad, and despite failing health in later years, would delight doctors and nurses with sketches drawn personally for them. "He loved it when he could make people smile," his son said.
Along with drawing the popular redheaded teenager, Archie Andrews, and his pals Jughead, Betty and Veronica, Edwards created Li'l Jinx, a precocious girl who had her own comic book for a time and still appears as a character in others, said Victor Gorelick, vice president and managing editor of Archie Comics.
Many of Li'l Jinx's adventures were based on Edwards' experiences with his own two sons and daughters. "He was a very funny cartoonist, and a good ideas man," Gorelick said.
Edwards was a member of the Berndt Toast Gang, the nickname for the Long Island chapter of the National Cartoonists' Society.
Besides his son Todd, Edwards is survived by his wife, Eda Selnick, another son, Ken, a daughter, Naomi, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
A graveside service was held on Sunday.