Women cartoonists: Janice Valleau
Janice Valleau (November 6, 1923 – December 8, 2013), sometimes credited as Ginger or Janice S., was a Golden Age artist and inker who worked for MLJ (Archie) Publications, Charlton Comics, Novelty Press, and Quality Comics.
Janice Valleau was born to John McChesney and Gertrude (Kaiser) Valleau, and grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey. Valleau’s father was an executive at Paine Webber. She contracted polio as a child and had to wear leg braces until young adulthood. Her first published work appeared in Smash Comics, published when she was just 16. After high school, she attended the Phoenix Art Institute where she studied commercial art.
When she graduated, she went to work for MLJ (Archie) Publications; Archie creator Bob Montana was also an alumnus of Phoenix. She began working for Quality Comics soon after, and worked in comics for the next eleven years. She is best known for her work on the “Toni Gayle” feature for Young King Cole featuring a glamorous model-detective.
She met her husband, Edward, in 1948. In the mid-1950s, they moved to Pittsburgh, where she continued to work on comics. She left comics in 1955 after the Wertham-era crackdown, which put her off working professionally in any art field. In her 60s, she returned to art and took up painting recreationally and continued well into her 80s. In 1982, she moved to Florida with her husband. They had four children: Steve, Daniel, Dale, and Ellen. Her husband died in 2009 after 61 years of marriage.
She passed away at age 90 in Jacksonville, Florida, after some time in hospice care.