[Here is an article that ran in the April 21 1962 issue of Editor & Publisher. Has anyone encountered Howie Reed in a newspaper? The New Orleans Times-Picayune would seem a good place to start, but unfortunately it seems to not be online.]
New Book Page Panel Drawn by Fitzgerald
A new weekly two-column cartoon panel called “Howie Reed,” created especially for book and literary pages, will be distributed by General Features Corporation, beginning May 13. The panel devoted to books is the work of Albert J. Fitzgerald, New Orleans (La.) Times-Picayune. The panel is entirely pantomime depicting the humorous side of books, always with book store or library background.
Through fictitious action, Mr. Fitzgerald shows that books do things and he illustrates the humorous reactions of people to the subject matter in current and past best sellers.
The star of the panel is a gentle character, the keeper of a book store or library, as the case may be, who is witness to the most fantastic happenings imaginable in and out of books.
Mr. Fitzgerald is originally from Braintree, Mass. He early showed artistic ability and earned his first dollar at the age of eight by selling a drawing to the Boston (Mass.) Herald-Traveler. Throughout his public school days, he continued his progress as an artist and in high school was once forced to forfeit first prize in a poster contest because the judges felt he must have copied it. Despite this discouraging injustice, he continued his creative art.
The artist developed a deep interest in books at an early age and this interest has been intensified in recent years. Before he left high school, he had accumulated a library of 300 volumes. With one of his books, he taught himself to spin a baton and led two bands.
With the start of World War II, Fitzgerald enlisted in the Army but continued his two loves — art and books. At Camp Plauche, La., he was assigned to the Graphic Training Aids unit, where he spent a year and a half working with other professional artists on posters and military training aids. Later he went to radio school and was active as a radio operator on an Army ship. While aboard ship, he started a lending library (free) to encourage reading.
In 1947, Mr. Fitzgerald joined the promotion department of the Times-Picayune as creative artist.
“I started developing the idea for ‘Howie Reed’ about five years ago and after much experimentation, changing, improving, trial by error, consultation with editors and finally the syndicate we arrived at the present form, which we think is just right,” said Mr. Fitzgerald.