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 Dan DeCarlo  (1919 - 2001)

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Lived/Active: New York      Known for: illustrator-comic strip, cartoon

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Dan DeCarlo
from Auction House Records.
Jetta #6 "What A Specimen" Complete 8-Page Story Original Art (Standard, 1953)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from the artist's obituary in the New York Times, December 23, 2001


Dan DeCarlo, Archie Artist and Creator of Josie and the Pussycats, Is Dead at 82
By ERIC NASH

Dan DeCarlo, a top cartoonist for Archie Comics for more than 40 years and a creator of the characters Josie and the Pussycats and Sabrina the teenage witch, died on Tuesday in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 82, and lived in Scarsdale, N.Y.

The cause was pneumonia, said his wife, Josie.

Mr. DeCarlo defined the look of the prototypical American teenagers Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead and their friends at Riverdale High after taking over as chief artist at the comic book company in 1975, when the characters' creator, Bob Montana, died. Archie made his first appearance as a gap-toothed, bow-tie- clad teenager in loud checked trousers in Pep Comics in 1941.

The Archie cast was a combination of real people Mr. Montana remembered from his high school years in Haverhill, Mass., and the idealized small-town America of the Andy Hardy movies. Mr. DeCarlo brought his own distinctive, clean-lined cartoon style, which was soon adopted as the house style for the characters, especially the leggy females with wide eyes and snub noses.

Mr. DeCarlo was renowned for his curvaceous depiction of the female form, so-called "good girl" art, which had its origins in the pinup style of World War II. "He was always interested in drawing shapely girls," Mrs. DeCarlo said.

In 1946 he worked for Timely Comics (later Marvel Comics) on cheesecake titles like "Millie the Model" and "My Friend Irma," and free- lanced for The Saturday Evening Post, Argosy and Humorama.

"It was the time of Marilyn Monroe and Jayne Mansfield, so he was drawing that voluptuous type of woman," Mrs. DeCarlo said. "When he went to Archie, he was drawing teenagers, so he changed his style a bit," she said. "But he always had curve."

Mr. DeCarlo gave the blond Betty Cooper her distinctive ponytail and kept up with what teenagers were wearing, from miniskirts and Nehru jackets in the 1960's to baby T-shirts and cargo pants in the 90's.

Mr. DeCarlo was born in New Rochelle and attended New Rochelle High School and the Art Students League for three years before he was drafted into the Army in 1941; he worked as a draftsman and had a sideline, painting company mascots on the noses of airplanes.

He met his wife, Josie Dumont, a French citizen, in Belgium shortly after the Battle of the Bulge. His French was minimal. "We communicated with drawing," Mrs. DeCarlo said. "He would draw things for me to make me understand what he had in mind. He was really so amusing. Instead of just using words he would use cartoons to express himself. Right away we knew that we were meant for each other."

The ever-stylish Josie DeCarlo was the inspiration for the leader of the Pussycats. "We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a costume for the cruise, and that's the way it started," Mrs. DeCarlo said about her cat suit, immortalized by the animated cartoon's bubble-gum theme song, "Josie and the Pussycats/ Long tails and ears for hats."

"The hairdo came after," Mrs. DeCarlo said. "One day I came in with a new hairdo with a little bow in my hair, and he said, `That's it!' "

The exact circumstances of Josie's creation became the subject of a lawsuit involving Mr. DeCarlo and Archie Comics shortly before the cartoon was made into a feature film this year. Mr. DeCarlo said that he created the character on his own in the late 1950's and tried to sell it as a syndicated comic strip called "Here's Josie." At least one syndicate turned him down, he said. "You know, I threw that letter away," he once said. "If I still had that letter, there wouldn't have been any case. I would have been a shoo-in."

The position of Archie Comics was that Mr. DeCarlo created the character for them as "work for hire," so the rights belonged to the company. The fallout was rancorous even by the standards of such suits over intellectual property rights: Archie fired Mr. DeCarlo in May 2000 after 43 years of work.

"They could have worked it out," Mrs. DeCarlo said. "My husband was not asking for millions of dollars. They paid him well, but Dan felt that it was not enough. He was looking for them to realize that he was getting on in years and that he deserved to get something back."

He was listed as a creator in the end credits of "Josie and the Pussycats," which did poorly at the box office. He did receive a bonus and credit as co-creator of Sabrina the teenage witch, which became a popular live-action television show.

The couple's twin sons, Dan Jr. and Jim, both deceased, also worked on their father's comics as inkers.

Mr. DeCarlo is survived by his wife, Josie, and two grandchildren.

Despite his falling out with the company, he loved Archie and his pals. "Those characters that he drew for Archie were always the subject for our conversation at the dinner table," Mrs. DeCarlo said. "We always wanted to know, what are they going to do tomorrow, what are you drawing, how are they going to dress? Everybody would voice his opinion. They were like part of our family."



This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Daniel S. DeCarlo (December 12, 1919 - December 19, 2001) was an American cartoonist best known as the artist who developed the look of Archie Comics in the late 1950s and early 1960s, modernizing the characters to their contemporary appearance and establishing the publisher's house style.  As well, he is the generally recognized creator of the characters Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Josie and the Pussycats (with the lead character named for his wife), and Cheryl Blossom.

Dan DeCarlo was born in New Rochelle, New York, the son of a gardener.  He attended New Rochelle High School in his hometown, followed by Manhattan's Art Students League from 1938 to 1941, when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.  Stationed in Great Britain, he worked in the motor pool and as a draftsman, and painted company mascots on the noses of airplanes. He also drew a weekly military comic strip, 418th Scandal Sheet.  He met his wife, Josie Dumont, a French citizen, in Belgium shortly after the Battle of the Bulge.

DeCarlo was married, with a pregnant wife, and a laborer working for his father when he began to pursue a professional art career. Circa 1947, answering an ad, he broke into the comic book industry at Timely Comics, the 1940s iteration of Marvel Comics.  Under editor-in-chief Stan Lee, his first assignment was the teen-humor series Jeanie.  DeCarlo went uncredited, as was typical for most comic-book writers and artists of the era, and he recalled in 2001, "I went on with her maybe ten books. They used to call me 'The Jeanie Machine' because that was all Stan used to give me, was Jeanie.... Then he took me off Jeannie and he gave me Millie the Model. That was a big break for me. It wasn't doing too well and somehow when I got on it became quite successful."

He went on to an atypically long, 10-year run on that humor series, from issues #18-93 (June 1949 - Nov. 1959), most of them published by Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Atlas Comics.[4] For a decade, DeCarlo wrote and drew the slapsticky adventures of Millie Collins, her redheaded friendly nemesis Chili Storm and the rest of the cast.  He also contributed the short-lived Sherry the Showgirl and Showgirls for Atlas.  In 1960, he and Atlas editor-in-chief Stan Lee co-created the short-lived syndicated comic strip Willie Lumpkin, about a suburban mail carrier, for the Chicago, Illinois-based Publishers Syndicate.  A version of the character later appeared as a long-running minor supporting character in Lee's later co-creation, the Marvel Comics series Fantastic Four

In addition to his comic-book work, DeCarlo drew freelance pieces for the magazines The Saturday Evening Post and Argosy, as well as Timely/Atlas publisher Martin Goodman's Humorama line of pin-up girl cartoon digests.

DeCarlo first freelanced for Archie Comics, the company with which he would become most closely associated, in the late 1950s while still freelancing for Atlas.

Among DeCarlo's final works were a story for Paul Dini's independent comics series Jingle Belle, and stories for Bongo Comics' The Simpsons TV tie-in comic, Bart Simpson.

DeCarlo died in New Rochelle of pneumonia, according to his wife, was living in Scarsdale.

Comics creator Paul Dini said upon DeCarlo's death, "It was tragic that when he was at an age when many cartoonists are revered as treasures by more beneficent publishers, Dan felt spurned and slighted by the owners of properties that prospered greatly from his contributions. Still, he was esteemed by fans and professionals the world over, and he often told me he was very grateful for the support he received from them over the past few years."

DeCarlo won the National Cartoonists Society Award for Best Comic Book in 2000 for Betty & Veronica. He was nominated for the Shazam Award for Best Penciller (Humor Division) in 1974.


Source:
Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_De_Carlo

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