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Henry Payne


Cartoonist Henry Payne was born in Charleston on May 13, 1962. He graduated in 1984 from Princeton University. He began his career in editorial cartoons there, winning the College Media Advisers Cartoon Contest and the Tribune Company Syndicate’s National College Cartoonist’s Contest for his work at the Daily Princetonian and the Nassau Weekly.

After college, Payne began as staff artist and editorial cartoonist for the Charleston Daily Mail, where he previously had worked as an intern for two summers. Payne, a self-described conservative, left West Virginia in 1986 to join Scripps Howard News Service in Washington, where he also served as editor of a cartoon wire service. He began syndication in 1987 with United Feature Syndicate, which distributes his cartoons to more than 60 newspapers worldwide. Other publications that have carried his work include the New York Times, USA Today, and the National Review.

In 1989, Payne was the first editorial cartoonist in the country to make his work available via computer, and he co-founded a Scripps Howard Network to illustrate stories with computer graphics. In 1999, he joined the Detroit News, where he produces cartoons and columns. In addition to his artistic skills, Payne has written articles about economic, consumer, and environmental issues that have appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, National Review, Reason, Rocky Mountain News, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and the Detroit News. Payne was a runner-up for the Pulitzer Prize in 1986 and the Mencken Award in 1992. He published his first book, Payne & Ink: The Cartoons and Commentary of Henry Payne, 2000–2001, in 2002 and illustrated two children’s books published by Random House. They are Where did Daddy’s Hair Go? (by Joe O’Connor) in 2006, and Dr. Seuss’s The Ear Book in 2007.

He also hosts the show Car Radio on Detroit’s WFDF radio. In 2019 and 2022, he was honored with the Society of Professional Journalists’ award for authoring the best columns about cars.

Written by Elizabeth Jill Wilson