The Don Orehek Cartoons blog shows us a sampling of his CYPHERS strip. Never heard of CYPHERS? Then you weren't in the armed services. CYPHERS was a comic strip that Don drew when he was in the Navy. The lead character was in the tradition of the "bad boy" comics (THE YELLOW KID, SKIPPY, DENNIS THE MENACE, etc.) -- except that this bad boy was a bad old career sailor; an old, drunk sailor who was always getting into trouble. Don has told me about the strip, but until today I never saw samples of this, his earliest published work.
above: Don Orehek, Navy Cartoonist.
Don's wife Suzanne, who is the engine behind Don's blog, provides some background information:
"Don joined the Navy the minute he turned 17 in August 1945. He served on a couple of ships, then in January 1946 he was sent to Green Cove Springs, Florida, a Navy base on the St. Johns river, which incidentally flows north. The sailors in Green Cove worked decommissing ships after World War II. In 1947 Don began work for Public Information on the St. Johns Inlander. He created and drew a comic strip for this weekly base newspaper. The title of the strip was CYPHERS. It was about a toothless old sailor who had been in the Navy 'forever.'"