NARD N PATMedium: Comix
Published in: Bijou Funnies
First Appeared: 1967
Creator: Jay Lynch
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Like R. Crumb's Fritz, Jay Lynch's cat character, Pat, had a connection to the cartoonist's early, non-cartooning adventures. But very few people would call Pat part of Lynch's "real life", whatever that means. He first "encountered" Pat as a pre-teen, when his rich fantasy life had him in New York, doing private
detective work. But shortly afterward that is, in the mid-1950s he came "down to earth" and realized his future would include more cartooning than private-eye-ing, and got to work on Pat's relationship with Nard, his (relatively) human companion.
Lynch's first "Nard 'n' Pat" comics appeared in Chicago Seed, an underground comic book, in 1967, while the comix movement was still perceived as mostly coming from California. They got nationwide distribution in Bijou Funnies starting with its first issue, which came out in 1968. Other contributors to Bijou included Art Spiegelman (Maus), Skip Williamson (Snappy Sammy Smoot) and Gilbert Shelton (The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers).
Bijou, of which Lynch was the editor, was published by The Bijou Publishing Empire, a consortium of regional artists, which never published another thing of any sort. By the second issue, it was being published by The Print Mint, a California company that was getting established in the comix business with titles like Captain Guts, Despair, Feds & Heads and, of course, Bijou. But by 1972, after a total of four issues, it was back in the Midwest Kitchen Sink (Steve Canyon, The Spirit) took it over and published five more issues by 1973. After that, a court-ordered change in the publishing climate led to its demise.
The two characters were originally based on a couple of people Lynch had known in high school, but as life sent them on separate paths, began to diverge. The characters are more like roommates (who just happen to be of different species) than master and pet. Eventually, Nard 'n' Pat adventures came to resemble those involving Lynch and his wife, but who is which varies.
Nard 'n' Pat were in most Bijou issues, and in a 1981 Bijou reprint in graphic novel form. Also, they had their own title for a couple of issues in the late 1970s, and have appeared here and there in other comix over the years.