Todd George Klein was born in Plainfield, New Jersey on January 28, 1951. He feels silly writing about himself in the third person, and will stop here. I enjoyed drawing and writing as a child, and was encouraged by my parents and maternal grandfather, Rex Derr, who was an artist, sign painter and jewelry engraver in his spare time. He first showed me how to letter with Speedball pens and India ink. My earliest comics were BATMAN and DETECTIVE COMICS issues sent to me by a relative when I was about seven. Once I knew they existed, I badgered my parents to buy comics for me whenever I saw them, but it was my sorrow that I never lived within walking distance of a place that sold comics when I was growing up. I was a DC fan, with my favorite title being THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA, but in 1963 I was given a few early issues of THE FANTASTIC FOUR by that same helpful relative, which changed my course to being a Marvel fan almost exclusively for about eight years. I remember enjoying tracing the logos and cover characters, thereby ruining many comics.
I decided to pursue an art career in high school after realizing it was my favorite subject, and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York for a year and a half, where my art history teacher was Burne Hogarth of the Tarzan comic strip fame. I was at the Kansas City Art Institute for one semester, then ran out of money and worked at a series of mundane jobs. At one, making installation manuals for air conditioners, I learned many production skills that would come in handy in comics. In my spare time I was drawing illustrations for fanzines, and in 1977 I put together a portfolio which included unpublished comics work and took it to Marvel and DC that summer to try to get into comics. I had no luck at Marvel, but at DC, production manager Jack Adler liked my portfolio enough to offer me a two-week job in his department to fill in for a vacationing staffer. After the two weeks were up, that person quit, and the position was offered to me. It was the luckiest break in my career. I couldn’t believe I was actually working in comics!Continue reading