The Lost Comics of U&lc

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When one thinks of U&lc (Upper and lower case) magazine a few things come to mind: great typography, design, articles and illustrations. Much lesser on its purview would be “comic strips.” Yet sandwiched between the pages are sequential gems, and some not by the usual suspects.

U&lc: The International Journal of Typographics was the brainchild of editorial and art director Herb Lubalin, as a means to promote the available fonts of ITC (International TypeFace Corporation) in 1974. According to its mission statement in issue number 1:

“U&lc will provide a panoramic window, a showcase for the world of graphic arts—a clearing house for the international exchange of ideas and information.”

Tabloid-size and printed on newsprint, the publication was sent free to subscribers. In the very first issue a cartoon strip by Ed Sorrel appears. This was joined shortly in subsequent issues, albeit one shots, with strips by the likes of Saul Steinberg and Milton Glaser. A regular feature soon began in Volume 3, issue 3 in 1976, with the first entry of noted satirical cartoonist Lou Myers, whose ruminations on modern life also appeared in Esquire, Holiday, Ramparts, Show, The New Yorker and The New York Times.

Ed Sorrel

Saul Steinberg, 1975

Milton Glaser, 1975

Lou Myers

Sometimes the humorous panes were provided in the form of a letter to the editor by various national contributors.

The use of comic strips ended with the passing of Lubalin in 1981, although the spirit of the publication remained intact until it ceased publication in 1999, after more than a quarter century.

You can find almost all the issues and insightful articles by former U&lc editor Allan Haley here.