Sunday, May 16, 2010
When it comes to the history of comic books and men who began their careers when comic books were first published, you can't find anyone more historic than Sheldon Mayer. He was not only with comic books when they were born, but when they were embryonic. Before he went to work for Max Gaines at All-American Comics as an editor/cartoonist, Mayer, who was barely 18 in 1935, was working as a production assistant to Gaines, cutting and pasting up comic strip original art into comic book format.
Mayer's career is recounted in The Amazing World of DC Comics #5, published in 1975 when Shelly was still working for DC, albeit on a mostly part-time basis. He had trouble with his eyes and gave up cartooning for a time. The examples of original art shown here, culled from Heritage Auctions, are of strips done after the operation to remove his cataracts.
The Sugar and Spike story, from The Best of DC #41, is from 1983.
There's a story to the autographed digest comic you see at the top of this posting. I found it a few years ago in a thrift store. I always pick up and look at comic books in thrift stores and when I saw the autograph I...well, you've heard the expression, "clutched it to my bosom." I held it in a death grip until I paid the 50¢ they wanted for it and was out the door. I still puzzle over why it was there, who "Steven" is, or why he let this go. It has a good home with me, though, and I'm glad I was the one who got it. Whatever collecting gods there are made sure I was in that junky store on that day, at that time, and that I, of all people, was the one who found it.
The original art featured in this post is taken from Heritage Auctions web site.
Sheldon Mayer, cartoonist, editor, writer, and one of the most important men in the early history of American comic books, died in 1991, aged 74.
There's another great story by Shelly Mayer in Pappy's #664.