Steve Bissette was first to break the news that Irving Tripp, collaborator with John Stanley on many of the great Little Lulu stories, died in November at age 88.

Tripp was an artist for Dell Comics in the ’40s and ’50s who teamed with Stanley. Stanley would write the Lulu stories in thumbnail fashion and Tripp would pencil, ink and sometimes letter. He also contributed covers — and worked until his retirement in the ’80s. While Tripp certainly drew in the style of Stanley, he contributed his own fine line — often just the angle of a line was enough to connote some shade of an emotion that took a panel from funny to hilarious — that was Tripp’s work.


The most common reaction to Tripp’s death among comics scholars was “He was still alive?” Comics Comics goes the extra mile and finds the only extant interview with Tripp, from the long out of print Another Rainbow Little Lulu collections. It is well worth reading in its entirety for the light it sheds on the comics world of the ’40s and ’50s, and the Lulu work of other contributors, such as Arnold Drake and Virginia Hubbell. As critical acclaim grows for John Stanley (who died in 1993, largely embittered by the way the industry had treated him), I’d suspect a lot of people, myself included, are sad that Tripp never got a chance to bask in some of the spotlight he so greatly deserved. It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t stop trying to find these “lost cartoonists” before it’s too late.

More from Tom Spurgeon and Mark Evanier. Also, his obituary.


  1. john stanley was a dear friend and eventually a neighbor of mine. neighbor? he helped me find my house when i settled in ny. i spoke to him for some period on a daily basis and worked with him on a number of projects. i think “thumbnail fashion”is not the best description of john’s writing snd drawing process (i recognise it’s hard to describe–but did kirby do “thumbnails”?) tripp was very, very good and talented by john wrote and drew lulu and all the genius and subtleties and composition and body language and expression was in john’s work–and tripp had a fantastic talent for preserving and presenting that very favorably. (though, to be honest, john would have prefered to ink his own work if he had had the time and did not always agree with the approach and choices his inkers made). i knew him well and do not think john was “largely embittered” about how the comics industry treated him. i had many, many personal meals (which he made) and conversations with john regularly in his home and recorded a lengthy interview with him and i never saw a “bitter” side. he had his frustrations with the comics industry and struggles personally as an artist and person (as many of us do) but he was not “embittered”. could tripp, a fine artist himself and great inker IMHO, have gotten more spotlight? yes!!! (though he got more than hundreds and hundreds artists in the funny comic book side did). was stanley the genius behind the writing and ART of lulu with strong kudos going to tripp. most definitely.

  2. that should hae been “but” not “by”…but john wrote and drew lulu and all the genius and subtleties and composition and body language and expression was in john’s work

  3. Oh and by the way, “john” should be John and “stanley” should be Stanley “he” should be He “i” should be I “ny” should NY…maybe it’s an homage to cat yronwode?

  4. Sad to hear of his passing. He and Stanley entertained hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people over the years, and still are, thanks to the Dark Horse reprints. RIP, Mr. Tripp, and thank you.

  5. Thank you Heidi…. for posting the anouncement of my dad’s passing. He was a hero to to all of his kids. We were fortunate to grow up with comic books galore, as well as pancakes on Saturday morning’s looking like any cartoon character we could ever dream of. Being his youngest, I remember the look on his face as I screamed, at 3 years old, I want a “Mighty Mouse” Pancake. Without much hesitation, there it was… Mighty Mouse on my plate. My Dad was very low key, by choice, and we (his children) always tried to respect that. We would always worry that he never got the recognition for what he did.. ..but he recieved his fulfillment from the children at the local schools and art exhibit’s who watched him turn blank canvas to life in front of their eye’s. On behalf of the family, thank you again for posting his passing… We(his children) certainly appreciate it!!!

    PS Blackeye …feel free to correct anything I may have screwed up. Your’re a “tripp”