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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Obituaries, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 290
1. Cartoonist Irwin Hasen passes away at age 96

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Word is going around on Facebook today that Dondi co-creator Irwin Hasen has passed away at the ripe old age of 96. Hasen was best known for Dondi, a comic strip tale of a WW II orphan who brings joy to the live of those around him. The strip was turned into a movie in 1961. He was presented with an Eisner Award last year.

Born in 1918 New York City, Hasen studied at the Art Student’s League and then drew comics for the Harry “A” Chesler Studio, with art on titles including The Green Hornet and The Fox. He also worked for DC before the war, creating the character Wildcat along the way. An Army veteran, Hasen ran the newspaper for the Fort Dix army base. Upon returning to domestic life, he took up comics again, with work on the JSA, The Flash and Green Lantern, before getting in to the syndicated comics Dondi, which was co-created by Gus Edson.

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Hasen was a very familiar figure at conventions over the decades, his signature ascot and safari jacket giving him a boyish air despite his age. In 2009 he published a memoir called Loverboy An Irwin Hasen Story PB which depicted him as quite the ladies man in his prime—and perhaps a bit beyond it.

Hasen was a gentle sweet man much liked by those on the con circuit. My condolences to his friends and family.

1 Comments on Cartoonist Irwin Hasen passes away at age 96, last added: 3/13/2015
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2. RIP: Yoshihiro Tatsumi

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Manga pioneer Yoshihiro Tatsumi has passed away at age 79, according to a letter received by Paul Gravett. Tatsumi had been battling cancer for several years.

Tatsumi is best known as the pioneer of the “gekiga” style of manga (a term be invented), true to life stories of ordinary people. He own work featured haunting adult themes of alienation, dread and obsession. His autobiography A Drifting Life, depicting his struggles as an artist, won the Eisner award for Best Reality Based Work in 2010. He also won the World Outlook Award at Angoulême and the Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize.
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While Tatsumi’s work was influential in Japan he was mostly unknown in the US until Adrian Tomine pushed to get his work published in English, Drawn & Quarterly took up the call and put out several collections of his short stories and A Drifting Life. His other works include Midnight Fishermen, Fallen Words, Black Blizzard, Good-Bye, The Push Man and Other Stories and Abandon the Old in Tokyo. The attention from the US led to more recognition in his homeland and worldwide, attention that was much deserved.

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Tatsumi and his wife came to the US and Canada in 2009 for several events including TCAF. I was fortunate enough to see him on a panel at the PEN America Literary festival, and was invited to a dinner with him and his wife later on, a privilege I ‘ll always be grateful for. It was very clear that the pair were enjoying this new found attention and respect with a joy was that was incredibly gratifying to behold. D&Q’s Peggy Burns recalls her own experiences with him in a touching FB post:

I found a few pictures from the PEN event and signing. Wish I’d taken more.

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A movie based on his work came out in 2011, and he was said to be working on a second part of his autobiography up until his death, which would end with the premiere of the Tatsumi film at the Cannes Film Festival.

Tatsumi’s work is universal in its message and artistry. If you’re not familiar with his work, I urge you to seek out some of his work. It’s powerful, unique and a lasting legacy of a man who lived his life with dignity and kindness.

1 Comments on RIP: Yoshihiro Tatsumi, last added: 3/9/2015
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3. RIP Leonard Nimoy

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After being taken to the hospital complaining of chest pains a few days ago, actor Leonard Nimoy has passed away at age 83. He’d been suffering from COPD in recent years.

Nimoy portrayed Mr. Spock in the original Star Trek series and became the first mass media nerd icon, a symbol of SF via his pointed ears, Vulcan salute and Vulcan Nerve Pinch. Images of Spock were shorthand for early nerd culture, and Nimoy’s sensitive portrayal of the emotion-repressing half-human Vulcan was one of the best things about any and all Treks he appeared in.

Nimoy the man was generally loved, and held a gentle philosophy that carried him well through life. He wrote a book of poems called “I Am Not Spock” published in the 70s as a protest against his best known role, but later on fully embraced his part in pop culture history. He retired from conventions in 2011 although he appeared in Fringe and Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Although he and William Shatner had a sometimes testy relationship, in their twilight years, they became good friends, and NImoy was best man at Shatner’s most recent wedding. The two reunited for a car commercial last year.

Nimoy also made an album, and even among bad album aficionados, this was one of the worst. I won’t speak ill of the dead, but google Ballad of Bilbo Baggins.

Twitter is pouring out it’s remembrances now.

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3 Comments on RIP Leonard Nimoy, last added: 3/2/2015
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4. Bertrice Small Has Died

Bertrice SmallAuthor Bertrice Small has died. She was 77 years old.

Throughout her career, Small (pictured, via) wrote more than 50 books. She become well-known for her historical romance, fantasy romance, and erotica novels.

USA Today reports that “her O’Malley Saga and Skye’s Legacy series are especially beloved. Her most recent release, Lucianna, part of her Silk Merchant’s Daughters series, came out in October 2013.”

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5. Rip Brett Ewins

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Brett Ewins an influential artist for many features in 2000 AD artist has passed away. He was known for his collaborations with Peter Milligan, Brendan McCarthy and Steve Dillon, including work on Future Shocks ABC Warriors, Bad Company, Judge Anderson and Rogue Trooper. He co-created the important alternative comics anthology Deadline, home of Tank Girl, with Dillon, and drew Johnny Nemo for the title. In later days he was beset by mental troubles, and had serious run ins with the police, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. 2000 Ad confirmed his death on their FB page.

We are very saddened to hear of the death of artist Brett Ewins.

Throughout his years of working for 2000 AD, Brett was responsible for some truly unmissable art – from Judge Dredd and Anderson Psi Division to Rogue Trooper and his incredible work on Bad Company with Peter Milligan and Jim McCarthy.

He was also a hugely influential figure in British comics thanks to his founding of Deadline with Steve Dillon in 1988, something that changed the face of the industry forever.

Our thoughts and deepest condolences are with Brett’s family and friends.


The Forbidden Planet blog has a tribute to Ewins with some photos of him in his happiest days.

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Ewins, left with Peter Milligan and Jim McCarthy in 1988, photo by Steve Cook.

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4 Comments on Rip Brett Ewins, last added: 2/18/2015
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6. Helen Eustis Has Died

redheadHelen Eustis has died. She was 98 years old.

Eustis’ son, Adam Fisher, announced his mother’s passing on his blog. Eustis became well-known for her Edgar Award-winning novel, The Horizontal Man. In addition to writing, she also served as a translator and worked on projects from French authors Christiane Rochefort and Georges Simenon.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Ms. Eustis wrote for Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, The New Yorker, and other magazines in the 1940s. She published the short-story collection The Captains and the Kings Depart in 1949. A children’s story, The Rider on a Pale Horse, which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1950, was later published as a book titled Mr. Death and the Redheaded Woman.”

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7. Goodbye, George

Paul Zelinsky, Roger Sutton, George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law's apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

Roger Sutton, Paul Zelinsky, and George Nicholson at Elizabeth Law’s apartment; photo by Elizabeth Law

…to the sad news that George Nicholson, whom I had first met at an ALA, more than thirty years ago, has died. I first knew George when he was publisher at Dell; he later moved over to Harper and then to a successful second career as an agent, at Sterling Lord Literistic. He was a very kind man, scarily well-read, deceptively soft-spoken, and had great hair. Those Yearling and Laurel-Leaf paperbacks you grew up with? Thank George. Leonard Marcus interviewed him for us back in 2007; go take a look.

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The post Goodbye, George appeared first on The Horn Book.

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8. Miller Williams Has Died

millerPoet Miller Williams has died. He was 84-years-old.

Throughout his writing career, Williams published 37 books of poetry and prose. He also devoted more than 30 years to working as a professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. He was invited to perform a reading at President Bill Clinton’s second inauguration ceremony.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Mr. Williams’s poems were written in common and accessible language, beginning with his own everyday experience but leading to something a reader could recognize as universal. The poem he read at the 1997 Clinton inauguration, ‘Of History and Hope,’ reflected on the past and future of the country and asked: ‘But where are we going to be, and why, and who?/ The disenfranchised dead want to know.’”

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9. Norman Bridwell Has Died

Clifford the Big Red Dog 40th Anniversary EditionNorman Bridwell, the author and illustrator behind the Clifford the Big Red Dog series, has died. He was 86-years-old.

According to the press release, Bridwell created the beloved crimson canine character Clifford back in 1963. His first manuscript was rejected by nine publishers before Scholastic acquired it.

Throughout Bridwell’s fifty-year career, he produced more than 150 titles for this popular children’s book series. Two Clifford titles will be released posthumously: Clifford Goes to Kindergarten (May 2015) and Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah (October 2015).

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10. Claudia Emerson Has Died

Claudia EmersonClaudia Emerson has died. She was 57-years-old.

According to The New York Times, Emerson (pictured, via) won the Pulitzer Prize in 2006 for a poetry collection entitled Late Wife. From 2008 to 2010, she served as the Poet Laureate of Virginia.

Altogether, Emerson has written six books of poetry; the sixth book will be published posthumously. Louisiana State University Press will release The Opposite House: Poems on March 4, 2015.

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11. RIP Brian Jacoby of Secret Headquarters

B1yp80RIAAIjUls RIP Brian Jacoby of Secret Headquarters

I’m devastated to learn of the death of Brian Jacoby, the owner of Secret Headquarters, a comics shop in Tallahassee, FL. Jacoby was admitted to the hospital last week with blood clots in both lungs and a leg, and he died suddenly on Thanksgiving night. Jacoby tweeted his health experiences and hospitalization on his Twitter account—painful reading now, but his humor even in illness is evident. The above photo is taken from his Twitter account.

Jacoby is survived by a brother and a 10-year old daughter.

Jacoby was a regular—perhaps even daily—poster here at the Beat, always with a ready opinion on any of the business topics I brought up here. His viewpoints often were the opposite of whatever I was arguing, but he offered his insights graciously and always contributed to the conversation with new information—an all too rare ability in today’s contentious times. I’ll really miss his voice.

A memorial for Jacoby will be held tomorrow:

My sincere condolences to Brian’s friends and family.

6 Comments on RIP Brian Jacoby of Secret Headquarters, last added: 12/2/2014
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12. P.D. James Has Died

P.D. JamesP. D. James (full name Phyllis Dorothy James White) has died. She was 94-years-old.

James (pictured, via) became well-known for her crime novels. Throughout her career, she wrote and published almost two dozen books.

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Many critics and many of her peers have said that by virtue of the complexity of her plots, the psychological density of her characters and the moral context in which she viewed criminal violence, Ms. James even surpassed her classic models and elevated the literary status of the modern detective novel. She is often cited, in particular, for the cerebral depth and emotional sensibilities of Adam Dalgliesh, the introspective Scotland Yard detective and published poet who functions as the hero of virtually all of her novels.” (via BuzzFeed)

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13. RIP Sharon Sakai

nbt461 b88174574z.120140912140804000gio4louk.10 RIP Sharon Sakai
Sharon Sakai, wife of Usagi Yojimbo artist Stan Sakai passed away this morning after a long battle with a brain tumor. Sakai wrote on Facebook:

Sharon passed away at 9:00 this morning.

She died exactly the way she wanted to–at home, surrounded by her family. Matthew flew home from up north, where he is going to school, yesterday.

Thank you all so much for your love, prayers and support.


Sharon was beloved by all who knew her from conventions or in real life, and my heart goes out to Stan and his family. Sharon’s long battle, and her family’s attempts to cope with its effects were chronicled in a matter of fact fashion by Sakai on his FB page, and several benefits were held for them in the past year.

13 Comments on RIP Sharon Sakai, last added: 11/27/2014
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14. Leslie Feinberg Has Died

Leslie FeinbergLeslie Feinberg, an author and LGBT activist, has died. She was 65-years-old.

As a writer, Feinberg (pictured, via) became well-known for her novel Stone Butch Blues. Prior to her death, she had been working on features for a 20th anniversary edition of the book including a slideshow called “This Is What Solidarity Looks Like.”

Here’s more from The Advocate: “Her historical and theoretical writing has been widely anthologized and taught in the U.S. and international academic circles. Her impact on mass culture was primarily through her 1993 first novel, Stone Butch Blues, widely considered in and outside the U.S. as a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies and also passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, the novel has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with her earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women).” (via CNN)

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15. R.A. Montgomery Has Died

CYOAR.A. Montgomery, an author and the publisher who founded the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, has died. He was 78-years-old.

Before this popular series became a fixture in his life, Montgomery worked in journalism and education. In 1975, he launched his own company called Vermont Crossroads Press.

Here’s more from The Huffington Post: “When, in 1977, Ed Packard submitted his choose-your-own-adventure book for young readers, Sugarcane Island, Montgomery leapt at the chance to publish a book that incorporated role-playing principles. But he didn’t stop there — he launched a series then called The Adventures of You and went on to write the follow-up himself. When Montgomery went through a divorce and sold his stake in the press to his ex-wife, he took his series, renamed the Choose Your Own Adventure series, to Bantam.”

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16. RIP: Jeremy Dale — UPDATED

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UPDATE: A GoFundMe has been set up to help Kelly Dale in this difficult time.

Artist Jeremy Dale has passed away suddenly. Best known for his work on Action Labs Skyward title, he had just been at NYCC creating commissions now posted on his website. His wife Kelly reported his passing on FB:

It is with great difficulty that I share with you this awful news. Late in the evening of November the third, my husband Jeremy Dale passed away. He was hospitalized, and surrounded by his friends. His doctors say he passed without pain or suffering.

Jeremy’s passing was sudden, and a shock to everyone. The delay in sharing this sad news was so that we could contact Jeremy’s family and close friends. Final arrangements are still being made, and will be shared on Jeremy’s Facebook page as details come together.

Our thanks go out to everyone for the outpouring of love and concern. Condolences may be shared on Jeremy’s Facebook page for the time being; this will be the same place where we will post any information regarding memorial services, funerals, and other plans.

For the time being, I ask that all friends and colleagues with questions, or concerns beyond expressing their condolences, reach out to Joe Peacock and Allison Sohn for answers and information. Immediate family can and should contact me directly- you know how to reach me.

Jeremy loved you all very much- he appreciated your support and your friendship. Thank you so much for your understanding during this very difficult time.

1 Comments on RIP: Jeremy Dale — UPDATED, last added: 11/6/2014
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17. Carolyn Kizer Has Died

Carolyn KizerPoet Carolyn Kizer has died. She was 89-years-old.

Kizer (pictured, via) won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for her collection, Yin. Throughout her writing career, she published several volumes of poetry. Follow this link to read a few of Kizer’s poems.

Here’s more from The Los Angeles Times: “At 17 she published a poem in the New Yorker (her only poem to appear in that publication, as it turned out)…Throughout her career, she stood up for what she believed, persuading Lyndon Johnson to lift a travel ban against Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in 1970, and, 28 years later, resigning (along with her friend Maxine Kumin) as a chancellor of the American Academy of Poets to protest the organization’s lack of diversity.”

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18. Zilpha Keatley Snyder Has Died

zil_homeWriter Zilpha Keatley Snyder has died. She was 87-years-old.

Throughout her career, she penned more than 40 books for young children and teens. Snyder (pictured, via) won three Newbery Honors for The Egypt Game (1967), The Headless Cupid (1971), and The Witches of Worm (1972).

Here’s more from The New York Times: “Most of Ms. Snyder’s books were intended for readers 9 to 13 and delved into subjects like witchcraft, murder and dysfunctional families. She mixed realism and the supernatural, and her stories often had endings that could be interpreted from either viewpoint. Her plots were tight, and her protagonists were often vital, thoughtful, courageous females.”

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19. Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014)

via The Paris Review

Nadine Gordimer has died at the age of 90, a significant age to reach, and yet, as always with the loss of a major figure (particularly one who stayed active and known) it feels like a robbery. We are greedy, we living people.

Writers satiate some of our greed against death by leaving us with their words. Gordimer's oeuvre is large (she began publishing fiction in South Africa in the late 1940s), and her fiction in particular will live long past this moment of her body's death.

Because Gordimer was so active in the anti-apartheid struggle, and her writing so often addresses the situation in South Africa at the time of its writing, it is easy to fall into the trap of reducing her to a political writer and to ignore or downplay the artistry of her work. She sometimes encouraged this view in her essays and interviews, but she also understood that she was not a propagandist, telling Jannika Hurwitt in 1979, "I am not by nature a political creature, and even now there is so much I don’t like in politics, and in political people—though I admire tremendously people who are politically active—there’s so much lying to oneself, self-deception, there has to be—you don’t make a good political fighter unless you can pretend the warts aren’t there."



Gordimer is often contrasted (sometimes by she herself) with the other white South African Nobel laureate, J.M. Coetzee. In that frame, Gordimer is the engaged realist, Coetzee the disengaged postmodernist. Like any caricature, this one contains some elements of truth, but it hides as much as it reveals. Though Gordimer had a bit more faith in the ability of words to represent immediate reality than Coetzee does, and was more comfortable participating in political arenas and writing about the recognizable here-and-now, both writers are strongly influenced by European high culture, particularly European Modernism — Kafka is a key influence for both, though Coetzee tends to wear that influence more obviously.

One of the qualities I value in Gordimer's work is her ability to show how people of different backgrounds and ideologies grapple with political ideas in their lives. She's often portrayed as an explicitly political writer because she writes about people embroiled in politics. In her best writing, she understood quite powerfully the difference between showing people engaged in politics and making her work into propaganda for a particular political line.

That's a wonder for me of a novel like Burger's Daughter, which I wrote about here in 2009. It shows politics in life, politics as life. It is at times merciless toward characters who could be considered the ones a nice, liberal reader is supposed to feel sympathy and affection for. It never forgets Renoir's great line from The Rules of the Game:  "The awful thing about life is this: everyone has their reasons."

Gordimer's range is best demonstrated by her short stories, such as the parable-like "Loot", which I wrote about in 2010. Especially in the later decades of her career, her stories frequently experimented with form, perspective, and subjectivity — which is not to discount the powerful effect of her many rich, detailed, fiercely realistic stories (her Selected Stories from the mid-'70s remains a high point to me of her work).


The view of Gordimer as a writer of her times, for her times, limited to her times might try to prevail. That would be a shame. Though she certainly chronicled ways of living in South Africa throughout the last 60+ years, that specificity does not in any way make her work less important for us now. It is, rather, differently important — and as necessary as ever.

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20. RIP: Dominic Postiglione

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Dominic Postiglione, better known as Nick Post, owner of Source Comics and Games and one of the main forces behind Minnesota’s Midwest Comic Book Association and their two shows, passed away last week, and his Facebook page has many touching remembrances. Postiglione was a tireless supporter of comics, and affected many with his enthusiasm and friendship. I only met him a few times but after even a brief interaction, his kindness and love of comics shone through. According to his obituary he’s survived by a son, his parents, and three siblings. A memorial service will be held this Tuesday, 8/12 at 11 AM at the Cornerstone Bible Church, 735 East 10th St., Hastings. 

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IN addition, memorial t-shirts are being sold to those who wish to remember him. More details on the FB page. 

The comics community needs more people like Nick Post; his loss will be felt. My sincere condolences to his many, many friends.

5 Comments on RIP: Dominic Postiglione, last added: 8/13/2014
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21. RIP Robin Williams

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Actor Robin Williams was found dead in his house this morning, a suspected suicide.

For a little while there, WIlliams was the biggest movie star on the planet. Just listing his prominent roles is exhausting. From Mork from Ork to Garp, Good Morning Vietnam, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Birdcage, Dead Poets Society, The Fisher King, Hook, Aladdin, Toys, Jumanji, What Dreams May Come, Insomnia, Happy Feet, and most recently, the Night at the Museum movies.

It’s a film legacy that’s unsurpassed.

At his height, Williams was simply the funniest man alive, a non stop barrage of improv and free association that was the Sistine Chapel of rapid fire humor. It was an act inspired by his idol, Jonathan Winters.

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One of his most famous roles, of course was the Genie in Aladdin, a voice which took advantage of his singing and fast paced pop culture references. The animation itself was a reflection of his persona, and one of the most memorable Disney characters of the 90s.

Williams was a comics fan, long before it became fashionable, known to go to shops in the Bay Area with his kids. For years there was some talk of his appearing in a straight out comic book movie, but it never happened.

I know this seems like second guessing, but I sensed a sadness in him whenever I saw him on TV in recent years. It struck me that someone who was happiest at such a manic level would have a hard time adjusting to the gradual, inevitable slowing down that is the human lot. It’s a lot that isn’t innately sad or tragic. But some people handle it better than others. Williams’ drug use and depression was an open secret for year as well. I’m sure we’ll hear more about all that, and rehab and what might have been. He left behind a family and a wife, and I hope their privacy can be a little respected.

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There’s always hope. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Call if you need help.

9 Comments on RIP Robin Williams, last added: 8/13/2014
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22. RIP Stan Goldberg

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Legendary Archie artist Stan Goldberg has passed away at age 82. The artist suffered a stroke two weeks ago. His passing was noted on his Facebook page, where fans are invited to share memories.

It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Stan Goldberg. Stan touched many lives through his artwork but was also a dear friend, beloved husband, loving father and doting grandfather. Through the years, countless fans shared how much his work meant to them and what a thrill it was to meet him or have a piece of his work. Stan felt just as strongly about all the people he met and would fondly recall the stories that fans would share with him.

His friends and family were what he treasured most. May his memory be for a blessing.


Goldberg got his start in the 40s as a teenager, working for Timely Comics and eventually drawing such titles as Millie the Model and Patsy Walker and heading their coloring department during the early Bullpen era. He continued to work on humor comics, becoming best known for his work on Archie titles, starting in the 70s and working on them until 2010. His most recent work for was for parodies in Bongo Comics and Papercutz. A final Goldberg story, wirtten by Tom DeFalco and featuring Spider-Man, will appear in this October’s Marvel 75th Anniversary Special

CBR has a fine obit for Goldberg.

Photo Via Godlberg’s Facebook page.

3 Comments on RIP Stan Goldberg, last added: 9/3/2014
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23. Stan Goldberg Has Died

Stan GoldbergStan Goldberg has passed away. He was 82-years-old.

Goldberg (pictured, via) devoted six decades of his career to the comics industry. He has produced work for several high profile publishers including Marvel, DC Comics, and most famously, Archie Comics. In 2012, he was inducted into the National Cartoonists Society’s Hall of Fame.

Here’s more from Comic Book Resources: “Goldberg famously drew Archie’s portion of the 1994 crossover Archie Meets the Punisher. His final work for the publisher was released in 2010. However, he continued to freelance for other companies, notably producing an Archie parody for Bongo’s Simpsons Comics and Nancy Drew and Three Stooges graphic novels for Papercutz.”

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24. RIP Saturday Morning Cartoons 1962-2014

ch890909 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014With the cancellation of CW’s Vortexx cartoon block, broadcast television has ceased showing cartoons on Saturday Morning.

With it, a cherished memory and ritual vanishes, as technology, economics, and regulations force changes to a way of life.

The decline of Saturday Morning television began in 1992, when NBC began airing a Saturday edition of Today, followed by live action shows aimed at teens.

PBS e i bug2 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014In 1990, after years of politicking by Action for Children’s Television, Congress passed the Children’s Television Act of 1990, requiring television stations to broadcast three hours of “educational and informational” children’s programming per week.  (Here’s a listing of what is replacing Vortexx this Fall.)

With that requirement, and the rise of niche cable channels which are exempt from the E/I bug, Saturday Morning programming slowly withered over the next two decades.

Wikipedia lists several causes:

  • The rise of first-run syndicated animated programs…
  • Increasing regulation of children’s programming content … [see above]
  • Station owners that owned a large number of network affiliates…
  • The over reliance on common tropes and clichés.  [TV Tropes has the lowdown.]
  • The rise of cable television networks like Disney Channel, Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network …
  • The entrance of more adult-oriented cartoons into the mainstream…
  • Concurrent with their film successes, Walt Disney Television Animation and Warner Bros. Animation also began producing content for television in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Both companies invested far more money into their productions than Saturday morning cartoons had done up until that point, raising the standards much higher than most television animation companies were able to reach.
  • Increased awareness of childhood obesity and lethargy; advocates often targeted Saturday morning cartoons as the culprit.
  • The proliferation of commercial toyline-oriented animated programs in the 1980s also led to advocacy group backlash and a decline in such programming…
  • The increased availability of VHS tapes and later DVDs, Blu-rays, iTunes and videos on the World Wide Web, which, like cable, allowed children to watch their favorite cartoons at any given time.
  • The development and rapid improvement in quality of video games…
  • An increase in children’s participation in Saturday activities outside the home.
  • A 1984 decision legalizing infomercials on American television; profits from Saturday morning infomercials were potentially much more than those from children’s programming. …
  • The 1984 Supreme Court ruling in NCAA v. Board of Regents of Univ. of Oklahoma, which greatly expanded opportunities for college football on television. …
  • Television networks becoming part of larger corporations. These networks included ABC (purchased by the The Walt Disney Company in 1996), CBS (purchased by Viacom in 1999, before splitting in 2005) and The WB (created by Time Warner in 1995, before merging with UPN in 2006 to create The CW). Since the parent companies already owned television animation studios, the networks preferred to air shows from these companies with programming blocks such as “Disney’s One Saturday Morning”, “Nick on CBS” and “Kids’ WB” rather than contracting out independent television animation companies.
  • Many of the same networks that often showed Saturday morning cartoons began airing similar programs on weekday afternoons…
  • The success of live action teen sitcoms, starting with NBC’s Saved by the Bell, which led to the rapid development of more live-action teen programming, with networks slowly squeezing out the cartoons.
  • The gradual loss of most of the American companies which were, at one point, iconic and prolific producers of animated children’s shows. …
  • The 2005 to 2009 decisions by breakfast cereal companies and fast food restaurants to reduce their advertising towards children. …

——————-

Some links from across the web:

Mark Evanier recollects his experience as both a viewer and employee of Saturday Morning cartoons, explaining the lucrative economics of early series, how toy companies

That was often cost-effective and deficit-financing became even more the norm for syndicated shows. Toy companies found it paid off to underwrite the cost of a series that promoted their products. A Mattel or Hasbro could easily sink a few million up front into a show about characters they were marketing to make those characters more famous. Not every time but often enough, having the show out there, five days a week in syndication, would boost toy sales enough to make that a good investment.

With such shows siphoning viewers away from networks, the networks did the logical thing: They stopped paying high license fees for Saturday morning programming. Thereafter, if you wanted to get your production on in one of those time slots on a broadcast network, you had to give it to them for a very low price and make up the rest of your costs elsewhere. Selling it cheap usually meant doing it cheap and there was a change in priorities.

No longer was it all about doing a show that would be a hit on Saturday morning because that alone was no longer enough to make a profit. It was just a way to pay part of the cost of production. You had to have your eye on foreign sales and merchandising. I wasn’t approached a lot to work on such shows because, well, I wasn’t the cheapest talent available. But the times I was asked, the producers made it clear they didn’t care that much if show drew an audience on Saturday morning. That was no longer where the game was.

And of course, since airing cartoons on Saturday mornings became a lot less lucrative, one by one the networks stopped doing it. Which got us to where they are today: They don’t do it at all anymore.

TV Party has a great rundown of the many seasons of Saturday Morning cartoons!

NPR offers an elegy.

Some memories, slightly sugar-coated…

  • In The News, quick two-minute news bites on CBS.

  • School House Rock (My Hero Zero)

  • Levi’s Jeans and Chords

  • Electra Woman and Dyna Girl (and the rest of the Kroft Super Show!)

  • Pee Wee’s Playhouse

  • Thundarr the Barbarian (Gerber, Kirby, Toth, Pasko!)

  • Space Ghost

  • Land of the Lost (A perpetual schedule filler, usually in the summer, along with Super Friends.)

  • Galaxy High (Aimee Brightower, *SIGH*)

  • Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (afterwards, I’d hike two miles, uphill, both ways, sometimes in the snow, to buy comics).

  • Too young to remember the Banana Splits, but wondering who they were as I saw vague images here and there, like a light-switch cover in the late 70s at Montgomery Wards. Which…I can’t find on Google.

  • Also, one-season wonders, which only exist now in Gold Key comics, or the rare lunch box. Like this…
  • Shazam! (I owned a pair of socks when I was six…) (…and the cartoon was pretty good, too!)

  • …and a decade later:

  • Those crazy TV specials shown Friday night, right before the new season.
      • Avery Schreiber and Jack Burns meet Superman and Bugs Bunny in the flesh! 1973

      • Boss Hogg tries to swindle Charles In Charge, 1982

      • ALF Loves A Mystery! 1987

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7P6Fk5PdzI

  • Bronze Age comicbook collectors will remember the two-page advertising spreads featured in superhero comics.  Retrojunk offers a selection found in comics and TV Guide.

wpid Uncanny X Men  37   Page 18 RIP  Saturday Morning Cartoons  1962 2014

  • Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures; Don’t Touch That Dial (A great satire of American and Japanese animation!)

So, cartoons on television continue, mostly on Cartoon Network and Disney XD. There’s YouTube and Warner Archives, and streaming and downloads. Gone is the joy of uncertain discovery, and unspoilt wonder. But it does make it easier to share!

Part of me wonders if kids will find other distractions, like shown in the satirical and prophetic “Itchy & Scratchy & Marge” from 1990?

And part of me knows that kids will seek out the stuff that’s cool and fun and bad in large quantities, like pre-sweetened breakfast cereal. They’ll laugh uncontrollably, and some of them… well, they’ll make their own cartoons!

For those who want one last sample of just how special Saturdays were when I was younger and life was unscheduled…

We’ll be right back after these messages…

15 Comments on RIP Saturday Morning Cartoons 1962-2014, last added: 10/6/2014
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25. Literary Agent Loretta A. Barrett Has Died

Loretta Barrett BooksLoretta A. Barrett, a literary agent, has died. She was 74-years-old.

Throughout her publishing career, Barrett held editorial positions at Anchor Press and Doubleday. She launched her own literary agency in 1990. Some of the authors on the client list include romance novelist J.R. Ward, LGBT activist Chaz Bono, and artist Judy Chicago.

According to Publishers Lunch, Barrett “was personally responsible for an estimated 3 million new books being given to poor American children to keep as their own” through her work with Reading is Fundamental. She devoted 32 years of service to this organization.

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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