He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on July 15, 1925. Henry Martin was educated at Princeton University and received his bachelor’s degree in 1948. Two years of training at the American Academy of Art followed. Besides regular appearances in the New Yorker, he has also contributed to Punch, Ladies’ Home Journal, Saturday Review, Good Housekeeping, Gourmet and Audubon. In addition, he has created a syndicated daily panel feature for the Chicago Tribune-New York News Syndicate entitled Good News/Bad News. Separately published collections of his work include Good News/Bad News (Scribner’s). Yak! Yak! Blah! Blah! (Scribner’s) and All Those in Favor (American Management Association).
Martin’s specialty as a cartoonist is the world of business. He has apparently studied it well or been part of it and so is frequently encountered peeking into offices and boardrooms or following the executive home after a busy day’s work. Working in India ink and wash, Martin renders his ideas with a sharp, unbroken line. His is a bold technique, but it is in substance rather than style that Martin makes his most individualistic statements. He has an ear for the cliche and an eye for the absurd in his gentle satires on the mores of the corporate and advertising communities – which is not to say that ho cannot find a fresh twist on an idea as overworked as the desert island or advert with great charm to the days of our Neanderthal ancestors. He also, as befits a Princeton man, has a way with “old grad” humor.
Many examples of Martin’s “funny business” have appeared in the New Yorker. In one cartoon, he shares with us the contentment of the vacationing businessman who discovers a newsstand advertising the New York Times minus the financial section. In another, two executives learn, as a fellow sails toward them from the floor below, that “kicked upstairs” is not after all an empty figure of speech. Finally, in an age when one finds the strangest things advertised on television, we see the shock of a viewer who beholds on his screen “the old bum you often see panhandling on the corner of 43rd Street and Sixth Avenue. As we approach the Christmas Season, I hope you won’t forget me. just mail your dollars today to ‘Bum – Christmas’ in care of this station.”
Martin belongs to the National Cartoonists Society and holds a Deuxieme Prix from the Salon International de la Caricature, Montreal. His work is represented in the Swann, David E. Lilienthal and IBM collections, all housed in the Princeton library.
the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons 1981