Lo Linkert was born in Westphalia, Germany. He served in the German army. Lo was a paratrooper and almost became a “dead duck when on August 26th, 1944, at St. Lo, Germany, a grenade blew my left lung out.” He spent a couple years in a Wittmundhaven, a Canadian POW camp. He drew caricatures in the hospital. The going rate was one caricature earned one carton of cigarettes. “I … became the richest soldier (in cigarettes) because if you had cigs you had everything!”
After the war, he returned home. Lo had lost touch with his wife, but through the Red Cross, found her in the Russian sector in 1946. The next decade, Lo was a freelance artist, drawing posters for MGM and 20th Century Fox. He also did a nightclub act, drawing caricatures in nightclubs for US troops.
In 1956, he moved his family to Canada. He had little knowledge of the English language. “Looking back now, we don’t know how we did it.” It took him seven years of perisistant submissions before making his first North American sale to the Saturday Evening Post. But thru hard work, and the support of his wife Inge, he managed to be in all the major gag markets of the day, produce 24 books, as well as 1500 greeting cards.
There is a story that my cartoonist colleague and friend Dave Carpenter (www.carptoons.com) tells. I’m going to relate it here with his permission. He and Lo would chat about the state of the cartooning business, the diminishing magazine markets, and so on. After complaining about a particular editor, Lo said in his German accent, “Well, still, this is nothing to complain about compared to the jerks I used to work for!”
“So if you want to be a cartoonist, be sure that there is nothing else in the world that you want to be, work hard and practice self-criticism to the utmost. Make sure every new cartoon you draw is better than the last one. Be sure that it will seem funny to most people. You can’t please them all. Work fast because speed gives you a distinct style. Slow lines look stiff.”