A Milestone


Image © DC Comics.

For those of you who don’t follow me on Facebook, I have a series of posts and photo albums there called “Logo of the Day.” Above is the one I posted today, with this comment:

Logo of the Day #1310: TRIUMPH designed by Todd Klein for the first issue dated June 1995. Photocopy of original logo from my files, image © DC Comics. I consider it a minor triumph to have reached age 65 today while still doing the work in comics I enjoy!

It does seem odd to me that I’ve managed to find a career in comics, or even in art at all, when that seemed so unlikely to me when I was growing up. It wasn’t even on my radar, to be honest. As a kid I loved to read, draw, play music, and lots of other things. If I looked ahead to a career back then, I thought I might possibly become a writer, but couldn’t foresee that as a secure living. In grade school, a vocational test decided I should become a forest ranger. I thought that sounded okay, I loved the outdoors. In grade school I did well in math and science, but less well in high school with more competition. I didn’t head in the Art direction until senior year when I finally realized art class was my favorite, and had been all four years. I went to art school for two years, then ran out of money and had to get a mundane job to support myself. I worked at several paperwork jobs, and at one was able to use some of my art training to design air conditioner user manuals.

In 1977, on a whim, I put together an art portfolio and applied for jobs at Marvel and DC. The Marvel job was for Art Director in the magazine division, and I wasn’t close to being qualified for it. At DC, my portfolio was looked at by Vince Colletta, who told me I didn’t have the skills to draw comics, but he must have seen something in those air conditioner manual paste-ups. He introduced me to the Production Manager, Jack Adler. Jack liked my portfolio, and he needed someone to fill in for a vacationing production staffer for two weeks. I was thrilled to accept! I took those two weeks as vacation from my current job, and had a wonderful time working at DC with people like John Workman, Bob LeRose and Bob Rozakis. At the end of the two weeks, the vacationing employee gave notice, he’d taken another job, so I was offered the position. I took it, and have been in comics ever since.

And here I am at 65, and still doing it! What a strange and wonderful thing.

12 thoughts on “A Milestone

  1. J Leeds

    The thing I find impressive and inspiring is your willingness to embrace the changes in your process. It would be easy to resist learning a whole new way to do your job, but you not only did so, but wrote up a series of posts on the experience. Thanks for that, and happy birthday to you.

  2. William Neal McPheeters

    Those of us who know you might add that you put everything you have into every project. You believe in what you do and it shows in your work. You have integrity.

  3. James Ladd

    Congratulations, Todd! I have enjoyed your blog over the last few years, and always liked you work in comics. As a 64 year-old myself, I can say that there is great satisfaction in having found one’s chosen career path. I, too, sent around my portfolio to both Marvel and DC in the mid seventies and then again in the eighties, but to no avail; I was teaching at the time and have continued to this day, with great satisfaction, so I guess we both won! Kudos to you!

  4. Dan Guy

    Happy birthday, Mr. Klein!

    Comics are unquestionably the better for your involvement in them these past nearly 40 years, though I’m sure that your move came as a crushing blow to what would surely otherwise have been a renaissance in air conditioner user manuals.

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