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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 7
phoebe and the pigeon people _ Phoebe and the Pigeon People 2 _ Phoebe and the Pigeon People 3
Phoebe...Pigeon #1
Phoebe...Pigeon #2 Phoebe...Pigeon #3
Phoebe & the Pigeon People

1979-1981 / Kitchen Sink
By the late 1970s, Jay Lynch was a grizzled veteran of the cartooning industry, having succeeded in everything from underground comics and magazine illustrations to Topps' Wacky Packages and Garbage Pail Kids trading cards. Around 1977, a former editor of the Chicago Seed began working on a youth section for the Chicago Daily News called Sidetracks. The editor asked Lynch for a concept for a youth-oriented comic strip and Lynch produced about a dozen roughs for "Phoebe and the Pigeon People." Though Lynch didn't hear back from him, about a year later the editor found the roughs while cleaning out his desk and returned the strips to Lynch. So on a lark, Lynch sent the roughs back out, this time to the Chicago Reader, which jumped on the chance to publish the strip on a weekly basis. Thus began a 17-year run of "Phoebe and the Pigeon People" in the Chicago Reader.

Lynch enjoyed writing the strip, but he didn't want to draw the same characters every week, so he enlisted Gary Whitney for the illustration chores. Lynch hadn't know Whitney prior to their collaboration, but he found Whitney's business card tacked to a bulletin board in a local head shop, leading to a long-term partnership. Whitney had already been working in comics through the 1970s, contributing to Bizarre Sex and Dope Comix, among others.

In a 2011 interview with David Hurley, Lynch commented about his choice of pigeons as comedic characters: "I guess the reason I did Phoebe is that it is about birds. Nard n' Pat was about a cat. A cat is a Jungian archetype associated with sex. A bird is a Jungian archetype associated with death. So it gave me that whole area to do gags in." As it turned out, it was a 17-year area of gags. The strips were expertly illustrated by Whitney and often laugh-out-loud funny thanks to Jay Lynch's inventively sharp wit.

During the early run of "Phoebe and the Pigeon People" in the Chicago Reader, Kitchen Sink collected the best of the strips and published them in three magazine issues. The first two are digest size and the third is magazine size, which had both a local edition and a national edition.