Saturday, June 05, 2010

Tony DiPreta Dies at 88

Above photo from the Connecticut Times: "Tony DiPreta works on his comic strips in a makeshift art studio (formerly a chicken coop) that he converted on his late mother Maria's property on in Stamford in this undated photo. DiPreta, a Greenwich resident who illustrated nationally syndicated comic strips Joe Palooka and Rex Morgan, M.D., died Wednesday. He was 88."

Connecticut Times writer Lisa Chamoff reports that veteran cartoonist Tony DiPreta died on June 2, in Greenwich, CT.

"DiPreta died of respiratory and cardiac arrest, according to his son, Richard DiPreta, a Greenwich attorney.

"In a 2007 interview with Greenwich Time, DiPreta said he got into cartooning after reading in The Advocate of Stamford that a cartoonist named [H.T.] Webster made $50,000 a year.

"'I thought, 'Boy that's a lot,' said DiPreta, who grew up in Stamford during the Great Depression. 'I went down and saw him, and he talked to me. Then I started drawing for my junior high school. It made me feel like I could really draw.'"

He graduated the Stamford Guild Art School (along with Bob Fujitani and Red Wexler), and began work with an advertising agency and McCall's photo engraving. His first comics work was lettering Lyman Young's Tim Tyler's Luck. ("... [W]hile Young went out to play golf.")

Mr. DiPreta worked in comic books in the golden age of the 1940s, producing fillers for Quality, Timely and Hillman. Adopting a more realistic style, he drew Hillman's flagship Airboy title, and produced pages for best selling Gleason comic books like Daredevil and Crime Does No Pay. He assisted Lank Leonard on Mickey Finn from 1945 to 1955, and then performed significant runs on Joe Palooka (1959-84) and Rex Morgan, M.D (1985-2000).

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Stamford, CT.

Related: The DiPreta Brothers – The Fighting DiPretas

Related: The Horrors Of It All blog has some 1950s horror comics by Mr. DiPreta

My thanks to Lambiek for some of the biographical information.

Hat tip to Sean Kelly.


Brian Fies said...

Sad news, but 88 is a good run, and Mr. DiPreta made a real contribution. I liked his work.

He's also inspired me to start wearing a white starched shirt, tie, and jacket to the drawing board. My inky, inky drawing board.

Anonymous said...

He was my uncle and I am proud of his accomplishments. I miss his a lot.