Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sheldon Mayer - Boy Cartoonist

Born April 1, 1917, Sheldon Mayer would have been 93 years old today!

Sheldon Mayer entered the world of the comic book while it was still being born. In 1935 (Mayer was 17 or 18 at the time) Sheldon west to work for what was to become DC comics when it was just forming, when comics still were mostly reprints of newspaper strips. Sheldon was already contributing original material (fillers - they were called) and became one of the first comic book artists ever.

He drew a semi-autobiographical feature called "Scribbly" which lasted all the way through the golden age and would even become later the home of the golden age Red Tornado as the strip wore on. Here's the Scribbly story from All American Comics #12:

Sheldon did more than cartoon and write for the burgeoning comic book field, he was also "Boy Editor" for the line. He was instrumental in developing All American Comics and that brand, helping develop the characters of Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and others and on into the Silver Age of comic books. It's Sheldon who is credited with rescuing the oft-rejected Superman feature from the ash-can. Sheldon sang Superman's praises to his bosses even after everyone in town had turned it down for 3 years, and got the thing published. Luckily for his bosses, Seigel and Shuster just happened to work for the same company.

As I said he continued to work in comic books his entire life as editor, artist and writer. My first memories of Sheldon were with his feature "Sugar and Spike", two infants who could understand each other, but the adults in their world could not.

Here's Sugar and Spike #76:

I'm still learning all the areas Sheldon impacted comics and all the work he put out during an almost 40 year career. Every time I see his stuff though, it's instantly recognizable.

Thanks Sheldon, for keeping the "funny" in Funny Books!

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