Sheldon Moldoff 1920-2012
March 7, 2012 12:42 AM   Subscribe

Sheldon Moldoff, one of the seminal Golden Age comic book artists and the last surviving cartoonist to have had work featured in Action Comics #1, died on February 29 from kidney failure.

Sheldon Moldoff worked mainly for the comics companies that would eventually become DC Comics, where he had a large role in shaping the Golden Age Hawkman series in Flash Comics. He was also active as a cover artist for early DC/National comics.

But his work is perhaps best known under the pen name "Bob Kane", for whom he worked as a ghost artist from 1953 to 1967 on the Batman comics. That was the time when Batman was a cheerful friend to anybody, often to be found at charity events and helping old ladies cross the street, while every other story he would travel in time or to another planet to help people there with their crime problems. Not perhaps the most fondly remembered Batman period, but Moldoff's work did lay the foundation for e.g. the Adam West television series and he created a range of characters: Batwoman, Batgirl, Ace the Bathound (complete with mask to hide his secret identity), Mr Freeze, Clayface, Poison Ivvy and of course the Bat-Imp.

Fired from DC in the late sixties, he would rejoin Bob Kane for the Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse cartoon series. His last work for DC was Evan Dorkin's 2000 Superman and Batman: World's Funnest project.
posted by MartinWisse (15 comments total)
Small correction: It's Bat-Mite, not Bat-Imp. I love the silly era of Batman, so RIP Mr Moldoff, and thanks for all the fun.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:54 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whatever you think of Moldoff's work, it was never Papp, and never Boring.
posted by ubiquity at 1:16 AM on March 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by Vibrissae at 1:22 AM on March 7, 2012

Don't want to stray too far from the obit, but for fans of the "campy" 60s era Batman, The Hub (television network) is now showing the Adam West Batman series every weekday. It's never been released on home video (and likely won't be for a loooong time) so now is a great chance to fill up your DVR with some great Bat-capers.

I love the "campy" era of Batman, in all its ridiculousness. For if it weren't for that, there would have been nothing for the later "Dark Knight" interpretations to rebel against. (except maybe the mediocrity of the 70s)
posted by ShutterBun at 3:38 AM on March 7, 2012

Bob Kane was an actual person, and did create the Batman for DC Comics. Moldoff did work as a ghost artist, not getting credit for his work until years later.
posted by Not The Stig at 4:14 AM on March 7, 2012

posted by Legomancer at 5:03 AM on March 7, 2012

posted by Etrigan at 5:06 AM on March 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

posted by Superfrankenstein at 6:10 AM on March 7, 2012

Holy shit Otto Preminger played Mr. Freeze on an episode of the 60s Batman show.

Also, anyone who is fond of Bat-Mite (or, for that matter, World's Funnest, which is a pretty awesome and loving piss-take of DC's creative and editorial policies) absolutely has to see the "Legends of the Dark Mite" episode of Brave and the Bold. It pretty much goes completely off the meta-rails and ends in this amazing scene that I'm not going to describe in case you want to watch the episode first.
posted by griphus at 6:18 AM on March 7, 2012

Also, holy crap, Sheldon Moldoff's birth name was Sheldon Moldoff. Outside of Bill Finger (who co-created many of the characters named in the FPP w/ Moldoff) I think that's the only Jewish comics creator of that era I can think of who didn't change their name.

posted by griphus at 6:20 AM on March 7, 2012

(Oh, and, uh, Will Eisner. And Siegel & Shuster.)
posted by griphus at 6:23 AM on March 7, 2012

From Evan Dorkin's LJ:

Oh, before I forget -- R.I.P. Shelly Moldoff. I met the man at the Pittsburgh Con one year before World's Funnest was going to be published, which I guess makes that sometime in 2000. He had no idea I wrote the book he had just drawn two pages for, apparently his first work for DC Comics in thirty years. I didn't tell him because I saw no point in it and I was enjoying him giving me advice on how to negotiate the comics business even though at the time I was doing pretty well. he thought I was just breaking in, I mean, obviously he'd never heard of me, and I didn't expect him to have been aware of my stuff, but I was in my 30's and had been working steadily for over fifteen years, so it was funny to have him sit me down and give me a pep talk on the comics industry. He wished me luck, which I thought was adorable, and which I regret to say I could use these days. Anyway, thanks, Shelly. A sweet guy who made a lot of comics I enjoyed.

And he designed and co-created Bat-Mite -- how can I not love Shelly Moldoff? I hope he steps on Bob Kane's face on his way up to trade war stories with Jerry Robinson.

Thanks, Shelly.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:24 AM on March 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

posted by Smart Dalek at 7:28 AM on March 7, 2012

Bob Kane was an actual person

Yeah, I know, but he degenerated quite quickly into nothing but a name for others to do their work under and even his creation of Batman isn't quite as simple as all that; Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger et all having a lot to do with it as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:08 AM on March 7, 2012

posted by mister nice at 7:29 AM on March 8, 2012

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