Leonardo was an offering of the Artists & Writers Syndicate that ran from July 26 1976 to March 19 1977 as both a Sunday and daily. The Washington-based syndicate, headed by Phil Seitz, was never more than a niche player in comics — I know of only one other comic strip they handled, Pluribus.
Leonardo looked like it had a chance at being a real winner. The highly stylized, sophisticated art instantly grabs your attention; a real standout on the comics page. The plot is a slight updating of Wizard of Id — where that strip had a medieval backdrop, Leonardo moves us up to the Renaissance, but both strips often have their characters acting as if they are in today’s world.
Leonardo‘s gags are quintessential 70’s, and are the only weakness of the strip (though a rather important one). Like many other features of the day the subjects of women’s lib, disco, dieting, fashion and such are overused, and this feature does little to spice them with any originality.
The strip was the creation of Phil Collins, who despite being a superb cartoonist seems to have popped out of nowhere to do this feature, and then just as quickly disappeared once more. I guess he found his musical career in Genesis more rewarding (kidding). If anyone knows anything about our mystery cartoonist please share!