This is George Dunsford Klein, who had a long career in comics (known simply as George Klein) as an artist and inker. He was born in Louisiana in about 1915 (records differ) and grew up in Wyoming. He attended the Kansas City Art Institute and then moved to New York City where he took a staff job at Timely Comics, the precursor of Marvel Comics. He initially was a penciler and inker on super-hero stories but later moved to funny animal comics at Timely. Since he was on staff, much of his work there is unsigned and hard to identify. Continue reading
We’re at Ellen’s sister Ann’s house for Easter, and we’ve done our traditional egg coloring. The participants this year were Ann and her husband Dave, their daughter Ina, Ellen and myself, and my friend Tim. This is us in the process, but nearly done. The Halloween tablecloth was the only plastic one Ann had. Continue reading
I’ve always liked maps, especially ones of places where I’ve spent time. In 1960, when I was nine, our family moved to Somerset County, New Jersey, from a town not too far to the east. Above is part of a map of Somerset County from 1961 that used to hang on the wall of my room when I was a child. On it, marked with thin red drafting tape, are all the roads I rode my bike on from our house on Washington Valley Road in Pluckemin. It’s hard to make out here, but Pluckemin was soon to become the crossroads of two interstate highways: Route 287 and Route 78. They were already marked on this map as thick dotted lines. One of the most memorable rides was taken by my two younger brothers and I from our house (the yellow square) to Martinsville on the lower right. This was a round trip of about 11 miles, which doesn’t sound that bad, but it was a blazing hot day in July by the time we were done, and we foolishly took our middle-aged Labrador Retriever mix Pepper with us. We were all in sad shape when we got back, and Pepper hardly moved for several days. Continue reading
Cover art by Kurt Wiese, first published in 1943. From my collection.
What follows is a letter I wrote, with input from my parents, to my two brothers who were spending much of the summer at our grandparents’ trailer in northern New York State near the St. Lawrence Seaway. It’s a fanciful look at life in our home in the rural town of Pluckemin, New Jersey. I was 17 and had my first manual typewriter, probably not for very long. I made the letter in the style of a local newspaper, perhaps inspired by Walter R. Brooks’ “Freddy the Pig,” who among many other avocations was the writer, editor and publisher of his own newspaper on the Bean family farm, as seen above. The Freddy books were fun and funny, and I identified with Freddy’s literary asperations. Here’s the entire four-page letter, notes follow. Continue reading
Very sad to hear of the passing of artist and friend Murphy Anderson. He was one of the first artists at DC Comics whose name I knew because he was occasionally allowed to sign his work on stories such as “The Atomic Knights” in STRANGE ADVENTURES. I loved his precise style and crisp inking. When I started working at DC Comics in 1977, I met Murphy, and found him to be a terrific person, kind and generous, and full of great stories about the comics business, which he loved as I did. We soon discovered that we lived near each other in central New Jersey, and since I was commuting to the DC offices by train every day, I would often carry some of Murphy’s DC work in for him. Then, when Murphy was visiting the offices and was ready to leave when I did, he would give me a ride home in his large car (Lincoln perhaps?), and regale me with stories about working with Julie Schwartz and his writers, or on the Buck Rogers newspaper strip, or PS Magazine for the army. Sometimes he would talk about his early days breaking in to comics, too. We soon developed a friendship through helping each other and mutual interests. When my car was in the shop and I needed a ride somewhere, Murphy would often volunteer to take me, and I helped him from time to time on his freelance projects or DC color separations. When John Workman was the art director at HEAVY METAL, he asked if I had any ideas for the one-page strip he was running called “June 2050.” I asked Murphy if he’d be willing to draw something I wrote, and when he agreed, I made it an homage to his favorite newspaper strip and pulp character, Buck Rogers, with Murphy and his wife Helen playing the leads. It was the only time we worked together on a comics project, and great fun.
In later years, after I moved to southern New Jersey, I would only see Murphy occasionally at comics conventions, or call him on the phone infrequently. I’m going to miss his art, his friendship, his deep, friendly voice, and his kindness. Rest in peace, Murphy.