Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dean Miller

Very little biographical information has been found on Dean Miller. An advertisement for the comic strip Vic Flint included a profile of Miller and was published in the Zanesville Signal (Ohio), February 15, 1959.

Dean Miller is one of the youngest artists in the United States to draw a top-flight comic. He illustrates the detective-adventure daily strip and Sunday page, Vic Flint, which appears in more than 500 newspapers.

A native of Springfield, Ill., Dean was born July 7, 1923. His family shortly afterward moved to Houston, Tex. Dean attended high school there and won a scholarship to the Houston Art Institute.

Miller’s baptism of fire in the cartoon world came at the tender age of 16. He landed a job as editorial cartoonist for a Houston weekly newspaper and after six months at the drawing board his salary was the same as when he started—absolute zero. It was guid training, but it bought no groceries, so Miller quit.

His next employer was Uncle Sam. After spending four years in the Air Force, where he was gunnery instructor, Dean landed a job as a cartoonist in Chicago. His work attracted the attention of NEA Service, Inc., and he reported for work in Cleveland early in 1950.

In October of the same year he took over the job of drawing Vic Flint. He is married and has two children.

The Sam Houston High School yearbook, Cosmos 1939, had a student named Dean Miller who was in the class of 1941. Miller has not yet been found in the U.S. Federal Censuses. Miller’s Department of Veterans Affairs record at said he served from February 2, 1943 to February 11, 1946. His birth date was July 7, 1923 and death date January 1, 1977. The record included his Social Security number. According to the Social Security Death Index, Miller’s birth year was 1924 and the day of death was not mentioned. His benefits had been sent to Feeding Hills, Massachusetts.

Miller drew a 1948 Sunday strip called Mighty O’Malley for the Chicago Tribune.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Miller was the second artist on the NEA strip Vic Flint which began with Ralph Lane on January 6, 1946. Miller drew the strip from July 31, 1950 to January 7, 1962. During Miller‘s run the strip was scripted by Michael O’Malley (pseudonym of Ernest “East” Lynn) and Jay Heavlin.

Apparently Miller illustrated the Big Bear Lake Valley street map which was listed in the Catalog of Copyright Entries: Third Series, Volume 19, Part 6, Number 2, Maps and Atlases, July–December 1965.

The 1954 Lakewood, Ohio city directory said NEA cartoonist Miller and his wife, Henrietta, resided at 17704 Fries Avenue. The 1956 and 1959 Fort Lauderdale, Florida city directories said Miller’s home address was 648 NW 21st Place. Also in the 1956 directory was the Dean Miller Art Studio at 440A East Las Olas Boulevard, Room 202.

Any information about Miller is appreciated.

—Alex Jay

One comment on “Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Dean Miller

  1. Hi, I was just reading your story about my grandfather. I was just showing my boyfriend the pages of comics I have that my mother gave me, which are Vic Flint and Mighty O’Malley. Tammy

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