Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Leonard Starr 1925-2015

Cartoonist Leonard Starr, best known for creating "Mary Perkins, On Stage," relaunching "Little Orphan Annie," and creating the animated TV series "ThunderCats" died June 30, 2015 in Connecticut. He was 89 years old.

(Above: Starr inks Frank Bolle in this pretty much forgotten series from Crown Comics. See the whole thing over at Ger Apeldoorn's blog.)

A native New Yorker, he graduated from the High School of Music and Art, and then Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. While an art student, Mr. Starr freelanced for a variety of comic book companies, including Timely (later Marvel) and DC. He drew the Human Torch and Sub-Mariner.

After years of working in advertising, he created "Mary Perkins, On Stage" for the Chicago Tribune-Daily News Syndicate. He wrote and illustrated the popular feature until 1979, when he helmed the revival of the late Harold Gray's "Little Orphan Annie" comic strip. It was later retitled "Annie." He continued to work on the strip until his retirement in 2000.

In the early 1980s, he teamed with fellow cartoonist Stan Drake to create "Kelly Green;" a series of graphic novels for Dargaud Publishing about a sexy female action hero. (It's scheduled to be reprinted by Classic Comics Press this December.)

In 1984, Mr. Starr was creator and head writer for the animated TV series "ThunderCats."

He had been awarded with the top prize from the National Cartoonists Society, the Reuben Award, in 1965.  He had won the NCS Best Story Comic Strip Division Award in 1960 and 1963.

Mr. Starr has his home in Westport, CT and is survived by his wife Bobbie.

Truly one of the giants in his field; a man with superlative ink line, respected by his peers. He created comics and cartoons that touched fans for decades.

Lo Spazio Bianco obituary (in Italian)
Mark Evanier


James Francis said...

One of the Kelly Green books are in my collection - love it. Starr was a master. And to learn he also created Thundercats? Wow!

Unknown said...

In my 20s backwhen, I devoured Drake & Starr's 3 volume Kelly Green collection. The script was actually quite funny... kinda like BURN NOTICE , the TV series. KELLY GREEN SHOULD BE A TV SERIES!
The artwork in the books were slick but loose. It's hands, hands, hands and hair! Gorgeous.
The Kelly Green character's a good ole fashioned babyfaced 'babe' with 'good girl' sexiness --- the kind that's natural, not overt or tasteless.
The books' kinky themes surprised me. But it wasn't pornographic.
I wore out my 3 volumes studying the artwork, only to realise that I'm not of this school drawing and inking, much as I love Al Dorne, Al Williamson or Robert Fawcett's works. ( I leaned more towardd Frazetta, Moebius , Alan Lee and Rackham ).
So Starr created the Thundercats ?!!? Good grief!
Oh, btw, Volume One of the Kelly Green books was the best one.