Shel Dorf

July 5, 1933 – November 3, 2009

November 3, 2009

Shel Dorf passed away today, November 3, 2009, in Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego. His brother, Michael Dorf, was at his side.

His friends and colleagues around the world will miss him dearly.

The world is a better place for his having been among us.

His example will continue to make it a better place to be.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

John Wismont November 7, 2009 at 6:25 pm

My feelings on not being able to talk with Shel any more will never change, there will always be a feeling of emptiness. He was very interesting, very informed and just plain comfortable to be around.
You will be greatly missed Shel.
To all the people who enjoy the Comic Con, you can do something to keep Shel’s name and spirit alive: Make a request to the individuals
who run the C.C. to create and give a substantial amount of money to the “Sheldon Dorf Art Scholarship” or to the “Shel Dorf New Talent
Encouragement Fund.” Which ever, but is very important that his giving
spirit goes on.


Chris Boyko November 6, 2009 at 11:49 am

I never met Shel, but was always very pleased to have someone out there pushing Dick Tracy when it was less than popular (in the 1980s before the Beatty film anyway). Dick Tracy has lost one of his biggest boosters and fandom has lost one the good guys. I’ll bet he is working for Caniff again up there…. Chris


Ken Compton November 4, 2009 at 11:08 pm

As Shel’s long time neighbor here in O.B., I can just say that he made a difference in everyone’s life that met him. I built him a redwood handrail years ago when mobility became an issue that still stands today.
I just walked next door and sat next to it and felt his presence. I still hear his kind words of encouragement, “good job kiddo” after he took it for a test run. His smile was payment for a job well done, how I miss his warm smile and sincere handshake.
Shel was the friendliest person I have ever met, I wish I had spent more time with him. The comic books he gave me are now more than ever sacred things. I just want everyone to know that we lost a very special person.
Rest in peace Shel. Thank you for being my friend.


Dave Gersuk November 4, 2009 at 4:02 pm

Shel is a first cousin to my dad. Being a kid, Shel was so much fun to be around. When I was about 10 years old I remember once visiting with him in San Diego and sitting at his parents kitchen table while Shel drew comics for me and my brothers. What a hoot we had.

Shel is the nicest person and caring person you would ever want to meet. I hope the people in charge of next years Comic-Con pay him a well deserved tribute.

Dave Gersuk


Alfred Huete November 4, 2009 at 2:32 pm

I had a dream with Shel last night.When I woke up I could not remember the dream and just sat on my bed for a few minutes missing my girlfriend who left me last week.I had breakfast,fed the cat & thought of Shel,I knew he had been in the hospital for around a year.I wished him well as I fed my cat.

A few hours later I learn of his passing and I’m a kid again. I will never forget Shel’s kindness first as a 12 year old who spent all his money at Comic Con and almost passed out if Shel had not bought me a sandwich,I would have, and again years later when I saw him at a local comic book shop I was moonlighting at. I admired a sketchbook he had,no sooner than I expressed my admiration for said book that he gave me the book AND played it down when I thanked him profusely.

“It’s no big deal.”

It was AND is a big deal,Shel. Thank you for everything you did for fandom and above all thank you for being one of the “good guys”.

R.I.P. Comrade.


Jim Gorham November 3, 2009 at 11:51 pm

I knew of Shel from an old friend who was big into Dick Tracy and I had seen him in passing when I had started to attend the Comic Con in 1983 for vacation. I didn’t actually meet Shel until 1990 when I moved to SD and a friend of mine invited me to a little gathering of artists who met on Tuesday nights. Shel was the de-facto ringleader for the most part. He would eventually arrange for us to meet at a local rec center or other such venue for life drawings when our group got too big for some of the members homes. We always went to Denneys afterwards for late night eats and a round table collaborative group drawing. Over the first few years I got to know him well enough and we both had the love for the Golden age of Hollywood cinema and of course old comics. On several ocassions I would get a call from him asking me if I would be interested in going up to Los Angeles to visit a few friends of his. These friends being of the such as Jack Kirby, Forrest J. Ackerman and Burne Hogarth. All wonderful visits and something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life thanks to Shel. After the group disbanded I continued to stay in touch over the remaining years, usually giving a call once a week or stopping by now and again for a brief visit to chat about old movies and such or run a few grocery errands for him as his legs were starting to give out and he had pretty much been house bound in the last few years. He wouldn’t allow me to drop by to help with any small thing he may have needed as his condition was deteriorating and I’m sure he wanted to keep his dignity intact. His last year was spent in a hospital hooked up to their gadgets. Now my friend is gone and what a legacy he has left behind. We have Comic Con and we wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t for Shel, PERIOD. All the friends met, all the careers made, all the famous people we had a chance to see, the fun had by all over the years. We all owe that to Shel. I’ll remember him best just dropping by his Ocean Beach bungalow to chat about Milton Caniff’s Steve Canyon, Louise Brooks or some other golden screen goddess. And always get a peek at that autographed Joan Crawford picture and letters he was always so proud of.

I’ll miss you my friend and thank you for being so gracious to me over the years.

Jim Gorham


Charlie Roberts November 3, 2009 at 10:15 pm

Thanks for Everything Shel. Your San Diego Comic-Con influenced many thousands of collectors worldwide, and your 26 year Friendship will always be in our hearts. Give our Best to your Mom and Dad……and Thank Milton again for us ! Much Love, Charlie & Joan Roberts


Steve Chaput November 3, 2009 at 9:39 pm

Read just now of Shel’s passing on Mark Evanier’s site. Only had the opportunity to speak once to him at the San Diego convention in ’75, my very, first SD con and only the second convention period I had ever attended. My condolences to his family and many friends.


GREG KOUDOULIAN November 3, 2009 at 9:23 pm

A Big Brother indeed, he always helped with so many projects, especially
when one of my best friends died, and when my mom was sick he was there for me. Great help on my monthly LA Cons, to much to mention for now.
Thosands of us would not have much of a career without Shel.



Mike Rossi November 3, 2009 at 6:26 pm

Rest in peace, Shel.

It sure seems like you didn’t get many breaks while you were here. I’m sure you now have the peace you so richly deserve.

It will always be my honor and privilige to have called you my friend.

– Mike Rossi


Wardell Brown November 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm

I will miss Shel greatly! I’m so glad I got the chance to know him the years that I did. I will always cherish his guidance, his friendship, and his company.

R.I.P. My friend Shel


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