For the canned meat mogul of the same name, see Mort Finkleman (Manufacturer of canned meats)

Mort Finkleman (born Mortworth Julius Finklemaniweicz III on March 5, 1911) is an American writer and Editor-in-Chief of
Finkleman Publications.

Some of Finkleman's most notable cartoon creations include The Red Atom, Sandwiches the Wonder Pup, Ray Gunn Space Sleuth, and Brock Hammer Bike Cop. He also claims to have invented the comic book sound effects Splort, Thlub, and Krakathoom!, although this is often disputed among comic historians.

 


Mort Finkleman was born in New York City, New York in the Brooklyn apartment of his Krznczhi-born immigrant parents, Gertrüde and Mortworth. His father, a mime by trade, worked a series of odd jobs while Morts mother stayed home tending to him and his eleven older sisters.

Finkleman attended Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Elementary School, where, a voracious reader, he excelled as a student but was forced to drop out due to financial strains at home. Still, he managed to get all the way through the 5th grade, making him the scholar of the Finkleman brood.

Despite an intense work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit, Mort's father often had trouble supporting his wife and 12 children. When Mort wasn't reading or sneaking into picture shows, he worked several part-time jobs to help support the family. He delivered sandwiches to factory workers, ran numbers for notorious crime boss Benny "Thumbs" McGillicuddy, and sold newspapers in subway stations. It was this real-world education that fostered Mort's love of the comic art form - as well as the quick buck.

Determined to see the world (and no doubt escape his eleven henpecking sisters), a 13 year old Finkleman enlisted in the U.S. Navy with the aid of a forged birth certificate and a phony mustache. Finkleman fondly recalls this turning point in his life as "the first time I ever wore a pair of shoes."

Mort's military service got off to a rocky start but he eventually found his niche serving in the Signal Corps, writing copy for ads, instruction manuals, posters, and various other military publications. He also created a short lived comic strip called Private Pooch, a humor comic about a talking dog in a military boot camp. The strip ran in 6 issues of Ahoy! Magazine before it was honorably discharged.

The Blippo Years

Mort's military career ended in 1929 under ambiguous terms. He freelanced until his big break writing ad copy for Blippo Novelties, a toy company that specialized in gag products such as Whoopee Cushions, X-Ray Specs, and Joy Buzzers. It was here that Mort developed his patented flair for the bizarre and dramatic, and his superiors quickly took notice of his talents. When they eventually decided to start publishing their own line of comic books to advertise their product line, Mort was tapped to step up as an editorial assistant.

In 1933 Mort received his first comic book writing credit, a 2 page back-up story in Yankee Doodle Dandy Funnies #4. He would go on to write over 800 scripts for The Blippo Comics Group over the next 3 years, many of his stories becoming top sellers. In 1935 Mort became the head writer at Blippo and started creating original characters and titles, the most popular of which being Sandwiches the Wonder Pup, a crime-fighting wiener dog that spawned radio serials, movie serials, and even a breakfast cereal.

Despite this enormous success, Finkleman was still living like a pauper due to Blippo's strict "No Raises" policy. Tensions rose until December 1941 when Finkleman, drunk with rage (and egg nog), confronted his superiors at the office Christmas party and demanded more money. Blippo fired Mort on the spot, forcing him to leave behind his beloved creations, not to mention a delicious cheese log that he happened to be enjoying very much.

Finding Finkleman

Bankrupt and disenchanted, Mort started Finkleman Publications, Inc. with a new outlook on life: "Aim Low". A stark contrast to his fantastical, upbeat work at Blippo, this new line of books would sport titles such as Don't Get Your Hopes Up and Drinky the Sad Clown. Sales were dismal.

In 1951, the National Council for Literary Decorum was established to crack down on comics that were deemed inappropriate for children. Depictions of violence, organized crime, or ankle socks were forbidden and hundreds of publishers were forced to close their doors under the New Decorum Code. On the plus side, this sudden lack of competition made Finkleman Publications an overnight success. Fortunately for them there was nothing in the code prohibiting comic books that filled children with a vague sense of hopelessness and despair.

 

The Blippo Comics Group took an especially hard hit from the Council, and eventually folded in 1956. Finkleman used his newfound leverage to buy out his former employer and win the rights back to all his old creations. For Finkleman it marked the beginning of his most creative and financially fruitful period ever. According to legend, Finkleman became so focused on his work during this time that some days he would actually return to the office after his lunch break. He spent the next several years writing, editing, and art directing over a dozen best selling titles - the top performer of them all being a brand new volume of Sandwiches the Wonder Pup.

With their unique blend of the fantastical and the mundane, Finkleman Publications won over the hearts and imaginations of semi-literates everywhere. At least until the 1960s came along and super heroes once again dominated the market. Finkleman, never a fan of those "arrested development cases jumping around in their long johns," resisted the trend much to the detriment of his own company.

Over the following decades, readers would become less and less interested in space men, cowboys, boy detectives and even crime fighting wiener dogs. By the mid 70s, Finkleman Publications had gone from publishing over 200 titles to less than 10. Even Sandwiches was eventually put to sleep in 1986. The next year Mort formally stepped down as Editor-in-Chief, bringing the Finkleman Era of Comics to a close. Or so it seemed.

In 2007, Mort Finkleman unexpectedly resurfaced with Mort Finkleman's Tales to Suffice. The new anthology collection contains some reprinted work along with Mort's first original material in decades. It's really good. You should probably buy a copy.

Interests and Hobbies

Mort Finkleman's personal life is one of the most private - and mythologized - in comics today. While much about the comic book mogul is kept intensely hush hush, it is well known that he enjoys food, travel, and relic hunting. It is commonly believed that much of Finkleman's fiction is based on his real-life adventures abroad, though he generally refuses to confirm these allegations citing several "statutes of limitations."

Awards

Mort Finkleman has won the Mort Finkleman Award for Excellence every year since the award's inception in 1977. The "ceremony" is held at Mort's Hollywood estate on Mort’s birthday and consists of him presenting himself with a Golden Morty, which can be either a trophy or a mixed drink depending on Mr. Finkleman's mood that day.





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