Sunday, May 25

Who is your Dan DeCarlo?

I grew up reading Archie Comics, I was nuts for them. I could identify which artist and sometimes which inker drew stories -- and at times spot the writer by the title of the story or type of jokes that were written. I was a real devotee.

My favorite artist was Dan DeCarlo, hands down. He was the best, when I thought of the look of the characters, it was Dan's work I saw (seen here to the left). I was lucky enough to spend some time with Dan and his wife, and I learned a bit about him through an interview I did for a fanzine ages ago -- I’ll have to find the tape of the interview. I remember at one point he asked me to turn off the recorder, and with his raspy voice asked if I remembered the times that Archie would fall asleep with Betty or Veronica in the car with them, or the times that they spent the whole night out, and the next scene would be the following morning. I said, of course. He said, every time that happened, know... and then he laughed hysterically. I was amazed...i need to go back and re-read my comics, I thought.

At the time I knew him personally, he was in a lot of legal battles with the owners of Archie Comics, regarding what elements of Archie Comics he should have been given more recognition to help create. Such as, Josie and The Pussycats (Josie was named for his wife). Over lunch one day, he told me that he felt like a failure - - he worked his whole life and didn't have anything to show for it. I, of course, reassured him that his work touched many, many people. I was very surprised to hear him say that. In my eyes, he was a huge success. While I am not an artist, I looked up to him. While he claimed to think he was a failure that day, he indirectly taught me to not compromise my vision, protect it and fight for my efforts.

So, who is your Dan DeCarlo?


Na said...

Failure? Hardly. I too grew up reading Archie comics - not something people do in Australia - and Dan DeCarlo was and is my favourite comic book artist. His work seemed so effortless, and you always knew when he had worked on the designs and layouts. Even his work with The Simpsons comics shows his own style. From his art, I learned a true appreciation for the drawn works, and has influenced, and to this day, wished that I had the ability or skill to draw as well as he did.

My Dan DeCarlo is ... Dan DeCarlo!

FinnFactory said...

Thanks for your comments Na. I feel strongly that with adversity, comes great strength and passion. I didn't have certain things drop in my lap, and it made me work harder to achieve them, as well as appreciate them when they happened. Maybe that's why you feel so appreciative of your time reading and collecting the books in Australia.

Dan was a great talent, and a real gentleman. I interviewed him for a fanzine almost two decades ago, and found him to be very charming and humble. I plan on posting that interview, as well as more info about that time with him on this blog very soon.