This past Sunday (December 27, 2009) the San Diego Union-Tribune paper published an article titled “The year we lost legends.” The article’s introduction cited the passing, among others, of Walter Cronkite, Patrick Swayze, Farrah Fawcett, Andrew Wyeth, John Updike, Ted Kennedy, and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. It then went on to explain, “But behind the headlines are real people who touched lives. We asked staffers to write a tribute to someone who died in 2009.”
Staff writer Pete Rowe, who has written previously on things Comic-Con, and whom we have been assured by another staffer is
among the “cream of the crop” of Union-Tribune reporters, chose to write about none other than our very own Shel Dorf and Ken Krueger!
Season’s Greetings From Shel Dorf (c. 1994)
Artist Matt Lorentz sent in the following two new pictures of the giant greeting card that he took around Comic-Con 2009 so that many artist friends and admirers of Shel could sketch on it for him. (See previous article “Artist Matt Lorentz Remembers Shel Dorf”.)
There’s a lengthy article about Shel by R.C. Harvey posted to The Comics Journal web site at http://www.tcj.com/?p=1479. It contains a lot of good biographical information and kind words of appreciation as well a some sensitive observations about Shel’s later years.
Inside Comics #2, August 1974 (published by Galaxy News Service) featured a Mark Evanier article titled “The Mini-Cons That Attacked Southern California!” The article focused on one-day mini-conventions, in particular Greg Koudoulian’s First Sunday Club and the Super Sunday convention produced by David Alexander and Terry Stroud. One other small convention that was featured was the King Kon put on by Comic-Con International’s own Shel Dorf and Ken Krueger. The following is an excerpt from that article reprinted with the author’s permission.
The Southern California Cartoonists Society (SCCS) web site presents some very nice things written about Shel Dorf. One example is reproduced below (with the permission of the author). It is by cartoonist and SCCS member Jim Whiting. In particular, it illustrates that Shel’s lifelong devotion to fostering community among comics fans and creators extended beyond his work with the San Diego Comic-Con.
We thought you might enjoy hearing Shel Dorf’s voice as recorded during a December 1970 visit by San Diego fans to Jack Kirby’s house in Thousand Oaks, California (where the Kirby family had bought a house after renting in Irvine). This is just a brief excerpt from the nearly three-and-one-half hours of audio that was recorded that day. In it, Shel and Jack discuss California living.
Southern California Cartoonist Society member Charlie Roberts detailed his friendship with Shel in another posting on this site, but here’s a follow-up to the birth of the “Baby Thid Thez” panel cartoon, which Shel inked for Charlie, in the Point Loma “Beacon” bi-weekly newspaper.
Shel Dorf adopts a new look in the 80’s while on a trip with Charlie Roberts.
Shel Dorf was a great fan of Milton Caniff, creator of comic strips Terry and the Pirates and Steve Canyon. It was a fan’s dream come true when Caniff hired him to letter the Steve Canyon strip, which Shel did from 1977 to 1988. An earlier fan thrill for Shel came when Caniff modeled a recurring character in Steve Canyon after him. The character was football-player Thud Shelley. The following image is of a page Shel sent to Richard Alf. (Richard, at age seventeen, helped Shel start San Diego’s Comic-Con International back in 1969, at which time it was known as San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con.)