Alfred James Andriola,
who lived from May 24, 1912 to March 29, 1983, was an American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Kerry Drake. Kerry Drake was a comic strip created for Publishers Syndicate by Andriola as artist and Allen Saunders as uncredited writer, for which he won a Reuben Award in 1970. For his picture, see his biography card at the National Cartoonists Society, of which he was a member.
Andriola was born in New York City on May 24, 1912 and grew up in Rutherford, New Jersey. He studied at Cooper Union and Columbia University in New York City intending to becoming a writer. Instead, following a fan letter he wrote to Milton Caniff, a cartoonist (creater of Terry and the Pirates), he became his assistant, working with him on Terry and the Pirates and Scorchy Smith, an adventure comic strip created by John Terry that ran from 1930 to 1961. Scorchy Smith was a pilot-for-hire whose initial adventures, set in the 1930s, took him across America, fighting criminals and aiding damsels in distress.
Andriola’s first strip was Charlie Chan, a fictional character Chinese American detective created by Earl Derr Biggers, an adaptation of the popular detective novels for the McNaught Syndicate. For five months in 1943 he drew a minor superhero, Captain Triumph. For a year he drew the strip Dan Dunn with writer Allen Saunders an American writer, journalist, and cartoonist who wrote Steve Roper and Mike Nomad, Mary Worth, and Kerry Drake . Dunn was cancelled on October 3, 1943 and the next day their strip Kerry Drake debuted. Originally a district attorney’s investigator, Drake became a municipal police officer when Sandy Burns, his secretary and fiancee, was murdered by Trinket and Bulldozer. As both a DA’s man and a city cop he battled a series of flamboyant villains like Bottleneck, Mother Whistler, and No-Face.
Andriola was assisted (and ghosted) by artists Fran Matera, Jerry Robinson an artist best known for his work on DC Comics’ Batman line of comics during the 1940s and Sururi Gumen, the last of whom shared credit with Andriola starting in 1976. Drake was canceled after Andriola died on March 29, 1983. Andriola also drew the strip It’s Me Dilly under the pseudonym Alfred James from 1957 to 1960.
Legendary police detective Charlie Chan has solved mysteries in all forms of media — including a syndicated comic strip by cartoonist Alfred Andriola which appeared in newspapers from 1938-1942.
Playwright and novelist Earl Derr Biggers created the Chinese-American detective for his 1925 novel The House Without a Key. A healthy alternative to Asian stereotypes in fiction of the era, the character proved so popular he soon dominated the media — in addition to the six novels by Biggers, Charlie Chan has also appeared in some four dozen films, plus radio programs, television series, and a number of comics.
The classic comic strips have been archived at fan site The Charlie Chan Family Home: “Although our collection of original Charlie Chan Sunday Comics is extensive and continues to inch toward completeness when possible, there are occasional “holes,” sometimes several in succession, that are filled with reproductions. When this becomes necessary, this fact is noted following that comic’s original release date.”
By the way, following the cancellation of Charlie Chan, cartoonist Andriola went on to create Kerry Drake in 1943. The series won a Reuben Award in 1970, and continued all the way until the creator’s death in 1983