Sheldon Moldoff: 1920-2012

Golden Age comics artist Sheldon Moldoff has passed. CJ looks back at his legacy...

Sheldon Moldoff Golden Age Batman

 

Sheldon Moldoff, who has sadly died several months after suffering a stroke, was the quiet gentleman of the Golden Age of comics. The artist is survived by three children, and seven grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Moldoff enjoyed a long career. He drew superhero characters for the predecessors of DC, and DC itself. The artist also worked on horror comics for other publishers during the superhero lull of the 1950s.

A contemporary, the late Bernard Baily, discovered a young Moldoff chalking pictures of animated characters outside their building. Baily helped Moldoff to draw, and the artist sold his first comic book work at the age of 17. Moldoff provided filler for the back page of Action Comics #1, the debut issue of Superman.

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The humble, dedicated Moldoff ghosted drawing Batman for Bob Kane between 1953 and 1967. According to Moldoff, all that existed between the two was a spoken agreement and a promise of steady work. Former DC editor Julius Schwartz recognised in 1991 that, “All those years I was buying artwork from Bob Kane, I was buying it from Shelly Moldoff.” Kane also provided Moldoff animation jobs storyboarding Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse.

Moldoff’s contribution to Gotham’s cavalcade includes co-creating the original Bat-Girl, Bette Kane, Batwoman, the mischevious Bat-Mite and Bruce Wayne’s faithful mutt Ace the Bat-Hound. Several major villains were introduced by Moldoff, notably Batman & Robin antagonists Poison Ivy and Mr. Freeze.

The high-flying heroine Hawkgirl was also introduced in Moldoff’s pencils, and he drew the first Green Lantern cover for 1940’s All-American Comics #16. A character who would later appear in James Robinson’s popular run on Starman, The Black Pirate, was entirely Moldoff’s creation.

After leaving DC, Moldoff stayed active in the comics community. He attended conventions  until 2009 and was bestowed Comic-Con International’s Inkpot Award in 1991.

Sheldon Moldoff was a comic book artist’s artist. He worked stoicly for years on the characters of others and some he created, for the work. The comics industry, and readers, will remember Moldoff as one of the greats.

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