John Alton Collins
John Alton Collins, editorial cartoonist (b at Washington DC 7 Oct 1917; d at Montréal 16 Sept 2007). The son of an auto mechanic and part-time taxi driver, John Collins moved to Montréal with his family as an infant after the First World War. He studied at Sir George Williams University, now part of CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY, and at the Montreal School of Fine Arts. In 1939 he became the Montreal Gazette's first editorial cartoonist. For the next 4 decades, until he retired in 1982, Collins earned a reputation for being competent, fast, uncomplaining and reliable. Critics often remarked that one of the distinguishing marks of his drawings was an absence of malice, that he was able to make his point without offending his subject. His signature character was an average Joe in a barrel, a perplexed observer of the passing scene he called Uno Who. Collins twice won National Newspaper Awards for his work, in 1954 and 1973. In 1969, he served as head of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. He was a regular contributor to SATURDAY NIGHT magazine. In 1971, Collins created the mural for the Humour Pavilion at the Man and His World exhibition on the Expo islands. Collins was also recognized as a reputable local artist. His moody sketches and watercolours of Montréal streetscapes are sought by collectors.