Jim Unger, British/Canadian (1937 - 2012)

Jim Unger

Jim Unger (21 January 1937 – 26 May 2012) was a British Canadian cartoonist, best known for his syndicated comic strip Herman which ran for 18 years in 600 newspapers in 25 countries.

Unger was born in London, England, to Lillian Maud and James Unger. Unger served in the British Army, was enrolled as a London bobby, and worked as an insurance clerk and a repo man before emigrating to Canada in 1968 at the suggestion of one of his sisters. In Mississauga, Ontario he began his career as a cartoonist at the Mississauga Times newspaper. In 1974, as Herman became popular, Unger moved from Mississauga to Ottawa, Ontario, bringing his parents and brother from Britain.

Unger moved to the Bahamas in 1984 and retired as a cartoonist in 1992. Unger's friends encouraged him to give up retirement. He said he would not have suggested it himself, but he liked the idea. On 2 June 1997, Herman made a comeback under the United Media umbrella. "It gives me the opportunity to bring them up to date and to introduce Herman to a new generation," he said in the 31 May 1997, edition of the Detroit News. He did not expect to return to full-time cartooning but planned to add new material. Unger signed a long-term contract to bring ten years of classic Herman back to newspapers. He returned to Canada in his last years, settling in Saanich, British Columbia.

Unger was a co-founder of Intraca with David Waisglass, creator of Farcus. Intraca uses the humour of popular cartoons and motivational quotes to inform and boost employees with "positive daily business messages" on their computers. Herman characters are also found on workplace posters promoting safety and improved production.

In 1990, Herman became the first newspaper cartoon syndicated in East Germany. Shortly afterward, Unger produced a new book, Herman: Over the Wall. He joked, "Six months later the (Berlin) Wall came down; I think that's what did it."

Unger received the National Cartoonists Society's Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award twice (1982, 1987).

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