Saturday, March 3, 2012

RIP Shelon Moldoff

by Mark Evanier

Let me tell you some facts about a man named Sheldon Moldoff, who died Wednesday night at the age of 91 due to kidney failure…

  • Shelly Moldoff was one of the artists who worked on the historic Action Comics #1 (1938) which featured the first appearance of Superman.  He didn’t work on the Superman material in that issue but he did have artwork in what some call the most important comic book ever published.  And he was the last surviving person who did.
  • Shelly Moldoff worked as an assistant and ghost artist to Bob Kane on the earliest Batman stories that appeared in Detective Comics.
  • Shelly Moldoff drew the cover of Flash Comics #1 (1940) which introduced the original Flash to the world.
  • Shelly Moldoff drew the cover of All-American Comics #16 (1940) which introduced the original Green Lantern to the world.
  • Shelly Moldoff was the artist of the original Hawkman feature beginning with the character’s fourth appearance and continuing for several years.
  • Shelly Moldoff was by some accounts the inventor of the horror comic book, having proposed the idea to EC Comics publisher William Gaines before Gaines came out with his own Tales From the Crypt.
  • Shelly Moldoff was the ghost artist for Bob Kane on the Batman comic book stories and covers that Kane allegedly drew between 1953 and 1967.  He also worked for DC Comics directly, often as an inker of covers on all their key titles including the Superman books.
  • Shelly Moldoff also worked for Kane as the main artist/designer of the animated TV series, Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse.
  • Shelly Moldoff was a very nice man and as you can tell, a very important person in the history of the American comic book.

Sheldon “Shelly” Moldoff was born in New York City on April 14, 1920.  A self-taught artist, he was encouraged in his work by comic book illustrator Bernard Baily, who lived in the same apartment house as the Moldoff family.  He was 17 when he broke into professional comic book work, selling filler pages to Vincent Sullivan, the editor at Detective Comics, Inc.  The page for Action Comics #1 may have been his first sale or publication, though there were others at about the same time.

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