Tuesday, March 06, 2012

SHELDON MOLDOFF (1920 - 2012): GOLDEN-AGE GREAT! I have been reading the 4 volumes of Roy Thomas' ALL-STAR COMPANION of late (which chronicles the history of the Justice Society of America -- the world's first super-hero team in comic book history), so it came as very sad news indeed of Shelly's death at the age of 91. Moldoff was there pretty much from the beginning of the golden age of comics. Shelly sold his first comic book work at the age of 17 after fellow golden age artist Bernard Bailey caught some of Shelly's chalk sidewalk drawings and asked him if he'd like to be a cartoonist. Moldoff's first sold work, incidentally, was a sports filler page appearing on the inside back cover of ACTION COMICS #1; yeah, that's only the very first appearance of Superman. Moldoff became the premier Hawkman artist and was also there for the historic first super-hero team the Justice Society of America in ALL-STAR COMICS. This makes Shelly directly involved in two of the most important comic books of all-time: the first appearance of a super-hero in ACTION COMICS #1 (although tangentially) and the first appearance of a super-hero team in ALL-STAR COMICS #3. Not many comics creators can boast that kind of Cv. But that was only the beginning. Moldoff was also one of the famous "ghost artists" on the original run of Batman; ghosting under Bob Kane's bi-line on DETECTIVE COMICS and BATMAN for 14 years from 1953 to 1967. In the process, Moldoff created or co-created such characters as Batman villain Poison Ivy, Batwoman, the original Bat-Girl, Ace the Bat-Hound, Bat-Mite, Mr. Freeze, Clayface and Black Pirate. In the 1940's, Moldoff was a prolific cover artist drawing the first cover appearance of the Golden Age Green Lantern (in ALL-AMERICAN COMICS #16). Moldoff was also a pioneer in horror comics when super-heroes popularity began to wane. After an initial rancorous encounter bringing horror title ideas to E.C. Comics, Shelly struck a deal with Fawcett to publish such early horror titles as THIS MAGAZINE IS HAUNTED, WORLDS OF FEAR and STRANGE SUSPENSE STORIES. Besides ghost-drawing Batman books under the Bob Kane bi-line, Moldoff also inked a great many DC titles including Legion of Super-Heroes in ADVENTURE COMICS over Curt Swan's pencils. After he and several other golden-age artists were let go by DC in 1967, Moldoff did work in animation including COURAGEOUS CAT AND MINUTE MOUSE. Shelly also made numerous comic convention appearances up until 2009. As a tribute, I'd like to provide a gallery of some of the wonderful artwork of Golden-Age great Sheldon Moldoff.
Some classic Shelly Moldoff Hawkman covers from FLASH COMICS
from Shelly's Batman tenure: the iconic "Dead Robin" cover
Modern rendition of the Justice Society of America
Classic Batman Family Pin-Up Page I remember from my youth
A modern character study of the Golden Age Flash
A wonderful retro Batman cover that never was featuring the Bat Rogues
Wonder Woman meets Poison Ivy in a modern drawing
Spectacular modern pin-up of Batwoman & the classic Batmobile
The Spectre in a modern day rendition
Classic Bob Kane-era Batman pose newly drawn by Shelly
The Joker in a modern character study
A classic bunch of All-Stars in a modern-day drawing
A fitting coda to this tribute gallery: modern-day rendition of Hawkman

1 comment:

wellyousaythat© said...

Iconic images there