Friday, December 14, 2007

David Gantz 1922-2007

Above: Dave Gantz's National Cartoonists Society page.

Cartoonist David Gantz, a veteran comic book artist andwriter, newspaper strip cartoonist and graphic novelist, who had worked with many greats including Al Jaffee of Mad and Charles Schulz, passed away this morning. There is no further information at this time.

Dave attended the High School of Music & Art, the National Academy of Design and the University of Iowa.

Dave was a golden age comic book artist. His first job, back around 1940, was with Magazine Management, a company that later changed its name to Marvel. Dave drew "Mighty Mouse and "Patsy Walker," among other titles.

He continued as a comic book artist for the next couple of decades, producing mystery, horror and romance comics for Lev Gleason, St. John and Ziff Davis. He's also been credited with drawing the Classic Illustrated version of Huckleberry Finn.

Dave was a syndicated comic strip artist. He had a number of his own strips, notedly "Dudley D," which ran from 1961 to 1964 with the Herald Tribune Syndicate, and "Don Q," a strip that ran from 1975-80, syndicated by the New York Times Features Syndicate. Below is an interview from the JewishPub Web site:

Q: And you had a political cartoon strip for The New York Times.

Dave Gantz: My strip “Don Q” was syndicated by the New York Times Special Features Syndicate and ran from 1975 -1981. In its time, Don Q appeared in over 100 newspapers throughout the world, daily and on Sundays, but it never appeared actually appeared in The New York Times.

Q: Why not?

Dave Gantz: I was told that because The New York Times was distributed nationally, if the strip appeared in the Times it would hamper sales of other papers throughout the country. I remain skeptical about this explanation because I know that The New York Times published a comic strip in 1906 to compete with Pulitzer’s “World.” It was called “Roosevelt’s Bears” and it flopped after 6 months. The publisher, Adolf Ochs, vowed that the Times would never again publish a comic strip. Not even “Don Q.”
David Gantz also created freelance cartoons and illustrations for major publications including Boy's Life and Mad Magazine.

Above: JEWS AND THE GRAPHIC NOVEL by David Gantz; an online illustrated essay on the impact of Jewish creators. Thanks to Steve Bergson's Jewish Comics blog for the link.

David Gantz wrote and illustrated over 75 children's books for Scholastic, Random House, Simon & Schuster and others. In addition to his commercial work, he was a fine artist, working in print making and sculpture. He exhibited in the US and Canada.

He won a 1997 National Cartoonists Society Newspaper Panel Division Award for "Gantz Glances."

He worked with Chaim Potok on his (Dave's) most recent book, JEWS IN AMERICA.

Dave was a member of the National Cartoonists Society Long Island Chapter (the "Berndt Toast Gang"). Berndt Toast Chairman Adrian Sinnott adds:

"David was one of the kindest, intelligent, and creative people I've ever met. An artist, writer, and sculptor. His work included scores of books and whenever you spoke to him he was working on another project. He was a great inspiration to me and countless others. Another great loss."

Above: one of the many terrific samples of his comic strip work from Allan Holtz' Strippers Guide blog here (scroll down a bit).


Jack Ruttan said...

This strip belongs in the "Bears in Ill-fitting hats" meme on flickr.

Mark Anderson said...

Sigh... Lately it seems great cartoonists are dropping like flies. Rest in peace, David.

Unknown said...

There's an obit at Newsday with details of the services to be held and a Guest Book.

Mike Lynch said...

Thanks for Newsday announcement, D.D.