Victor "Vic Vac" Vaccarezza - 2015
Victor “Vic Vac” Vacarezza began his career in art and cartooning while still a student at Washington University working part time at the St. Louis Republic. One of his first duties was providing sketches of murder victims, which required him to work at the city morgue. A stint in the Navy in WWI provided his first real break, as he did a regular strip for the newspaper at Great Lakes Training Station titled “Salty Steve.” When Vaccarezza returned to St. Louis, his former newspaper had been absorbed by the Globe-Democrat, so he went to work for the Globe, beginning a 50-year career there.
At the Globe, he rose to the position of chief art director, retiring at age 76. He produced a Sunday comic strip, “Shanty Lane,” drew thumbnail sketches that graced the white space between letters on the paper’s “Mail Bag” page, and created the chaotic cartoon art for which he became famous that graced the paper’s Sunday magazine covers. He also drew a nationally syndicated strip, “June Bride,” for four years beginning in 1946. Vic Vac, as he signed his work, confessed to an interviewer that the strip’s title character was modeled after his wife Rose.