Steve Canyon Comics, Copyright 1968, Field Enterprises
This STEVE CANYON comic strip shows the UMATT and "Wings for Progress" white-dove logo!
As the story continues Poteet Canyon meets "Jane Fairhill" and "Mr Michael"
Below, the real "Mr Michael" --Mike Stimac relaxes with mission staff members.
(No doubt, all those bottles merely held various type of healthy "fruit drinks"!)
From this picture one can easily see the resemblance of Steve Canyon's "Mr Michael"
to Mike Stimac in the cartoon above!
On a trip with the Range Rover,  Mike and a nurse
stop to check on a mother and her kids.
(Milt Caniff self portrait)
Milt Caniff's "Steve Canyon"
features "Mr. Michael"
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One of the SJHRC activities that was eventually taken up by others became part of history imortalized
in the work of leading American artist Milton Caniff in the aviation oriented comic strip "Steve Canyon"!
It was his way of promoting a project that had impressed him greatly.
The whole story begins with the extreme familiarity with airplanes that evolved from the SJHRC adventures.
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When Mike Stimac started going to Africa in 1960, he was appalled at the difficulties that missionaries
in the wilderness outposts experienced, and soon was joined by SJHRC members, graduates, and parents in
an effort to help. Equipment donations flowed, and stations were set up to connect
the outposts by ham radio. A foundation was set up: United Missionary Aviation Training & Transport.
Over the years, the funding organizations and industrial sponsors saw to it that eventually
eight airplanes and operating funds were provided, and UMATT flew to 140
isolated mission outposts, in many African countries --Malawi, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan,
Ethiopia, and they even touched down in Egypt and Saudi Arabia in passing, --and even "behind the lines as in
Biafra and Nigeria"--as mentioned in the comic strip.
Milton Caniff was an Ohio man who started with a Columbus newspaper long ago and died in the 1998. Recently
he was written up in the Columbus Dispatch.
"From Pirates to Pilots"
Shown here is a bit of Milt's work. The logos of UMATT and "Wings for Progress" with the white dove on a
blue background (or no background) were often featured. The Wings for Progress name was adopted when Stateside supporters
handed over responsibility for the project to African leaders from our government and the Society of Mary.
"Milton used authentic incidents of which there was an inexhaustable supply."
Three key players were frequently featured in "Steve Canyon":
Jane Hamilton of the University of Dayton,
who Milt called Jane
Bill St. Andre, a young pilot from Columbus;
and Mike Stimac, as "Mr. Michael".
One can easily see the resemblance of "Mr Michael" to our archive photo of Mike Stimac shown further below
where he is relaxing between flights taking a break with the mission staff at one of the outposts!
Ohio State University maintains a special Cartoon Research Library, which includes a large collection on Milton
Caniff's work, and frequently special exhibits are set up, especially in the Columbus area.
Coincidentally, just as the SJHRC is celebrating 50 years since Sputnik, and the ensuing "Airplane Adventures"
which spawned UMATT and Wings for Progress featured by Milton Caniff in the cartoons at left, Milt's work is again being
"Rarities: Unusual works from the Milton Caniff Collection" continued through January 19th, 2008 in the
Cartoon Research Library, 27 W.17th Ave. Mall at OSU.
"Spotlight on Milton Caniff" is ran from October 25th 2007 through March 2, 2008 in the Ohio Historical
Center at I-71 and E.17th Street.
Ohio Historical Center
Ohio State University