Monday, October 26, 2020

Comics: Bob Leatherbarrow, Artist. Letterer, Art Director and Photographer

Robert Anthony “Bob” Leatherhbarrow was born on November 23, 1916, in New Bedford, Massachusetts, according to his World War II draft card.

The 1917 New Bedford and Fairhaven city directory said Leatherbarrow’s father, Robert, was a weaver who resided at 392 Bowditch.

The Leatherbarrow family’s address in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census was 4125 Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford. Leatherbarrow was the youngest of four siblings. Their parents were English emigrants; the father arrived in 1910, and mother, Mary, in 1907.

The 1923 New Bedford and Fairhaven city directory listed the Leatherbarrow address as Crescent near Acushnet Avenue.

In 1925 Leatherbarrow’s mother passed away in New Bedford according to the Massachusetts death index at

Leatherbarrow, his father and three siblings lived in New Bedford at 272 Nash Road as recorded in the 1930 census. Presumably Leatherbarrow attended the public schools. Information about his art training has not been found. The family address was the same in the 1940 census.

On May 18, 1942 Leatherbarrow married Mary Jane Abbott in Fairhaven.

Leatherbarrow signed his World War II draft card on October 16, 1940. At the time his address was 272 Nash Road. The address changed to 78 Lafayette Street on June 26, 1944, as written on the draft card. His description was five feet ten inches, 135 pounds with gray eyes and blind hair. It’s not known if he served during the war.

Leatherbarrow and his wife were listed in the 1947 and 1949 Fairhaven city directories at 51 Walnut Street.

Leatherbarrow’s father passed away March 18, 1950.

At some point Leatherbarrow moved to Connecticut.

A profile of Ray Burns, at Lambiek Comiclopedia, said

… he was hired by Alex Raymond to do the lettering of the new daily detective strip 'Rip Kirby' for King Features Syndicate. He was quickly also tasked to do some additional background art. Burns worked with Raymond until Raymond's death in 1956 with the exception of a seventeen month interlude in 1950–1951. During this period he was called back to the Navy to fight in the Korean War, while Bob Leatherbarrow took his place in Raymond's studio.
Raymond gave a Rip Kirby strip, dated August 10, 1950, to Leatherbarrow.

The Boston Globe, January 12, 1951, reported an exhibition of ship paintings and mentioned Leatherbarrow was a resident of Fairhaven.

According to the 1952 Wilton, Connecticut directory, Leatherbarrow resided on Farrier’s Lane and worked as a commercial artist in Stamford.

The next available directory, dated 1957, said he was a layout man in New York City and resided on Danbury Road.

Wilton directories from 1958 to 1961 listed Leatherbarrow’s address as Farrier’s Lane. He was an art director in New York City.

The 1963 directory listing had his address as 47 Freshwater Lane and occupation as art production in New York City.

The 1971 and 1976 Norwalk, Connecticut, directories said Leatherbarrow was a photographer at Dauntless Publications in New York City. He lived at 11 Bedford Avenue North.

Leatherbarrow passed away on July 27, 1978, in New York City. A death notice appeared in The New York Times, July 29, 1978.

Leatherbarrow—Robert A., died July 27th in New York City after a short illness. Services will be private. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Childrens Aid Society, 105 E. 22 St, New York, N.Y.

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Typography: Bock Ngar Chy Co., Part 2

Bock Ngar Chy Co., Specimen Book
San Francisco, California

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(Next post on Monday: Bob Leatherbarrow, Artist, Letterer, Art Director and Photographer)

Monday, October 12, 2020

Comics: ACBA Newsletter #24 & 25

January/February 1974
The Academy of Comic Book Arts

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(Next post on Monday: Bock Ngar Chy Co., Part 2)

Monday, October 5, 2020

Monday, September 28, 2020

Comics: George Kapitan, Letterer and Writer

George Gregory Kapitan was born on July 23, 1919, in Manhattan, New York City. His full name was on his Florida death certificate and the birth information from the New York, New York, Birth Index at

Kapitan’s father emigrated to the U.S. His Petition for Naturalization said he arrived in New York as Gregorios Kapitanakis on November 3, 1910. He was born in Spile, Turkey. The petition named his wife, Anna, and three children, Anthony, George and Mary, and their birth dates. In 1922 Kapitanakis, who had adopted the name Gregory Kapitan, declared his intention to become a citizen. On May 21, 1928 he was officially declared a citizen.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census listed the Kapitan family of four in Manhattan at 1883 Second Avenue. Kapitan’s father was a restaurant waiter. In the 1925 New York state census the Kapitans resided in Manhattan at 1968 Third Avenue. Kapitan’s father was a restaurant chef.

According to the 1930 census the Kapitan family numbered six: the parents, two sons and two daughters. They lived in the Bronx at 582 East 140 Street. Kapitan’s father was a bakery salesman.

The 1940 census said the Kapitan family remained in the Bronx but at a different address, 3120 Buhre Avenue. Kapitan’s highest level of education was the eighth grade and he was unemployed. On October 16, 1940, Kapitan signed his World War II draft card in the Bronx. His employer was the Jackson Electric Corporation in Manhattan. Kapitan’s description was five feet five inches, 132 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.

Kapitan’s comics career also began around 1940. He did lettering and writing at the comics shop Funnies, Inc. His scripts were used by at least seven publishers.

In the 1950s Kapitan contributed ideas to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics here, here, here, and here.

The New York, New York, Marriage License Index said Kapitan and Rose M. Aoliva obtained a marriage license on February 11, 1950 in the Bronx.

In Alter Ego #49, June 2005, Jim Amash interviewed Carl Burgos’ daughter, Susan, who said
… family and friends were invited over to the house. I remember Stan Starkman, George Kapitan, and Herbie Cooper from Timely Comics coming to visit. …

George Kapitan was a real sweetheart, as was his wife, Rose. Stan and Suzie Starkman, and Herbie and Marilyn Cooper would come over, too. I know George and Herbie aren’t with us any longer. I liked those guys, and they were a charming group, but my dad didn’t mix his kids with his friends. We’d come out and say, “Hi,” and then go back into our rooms. [laughs] …
In the 1960s Kapitan worked for the Brooklyn greeting card company, Charm Craft Publishers. The company had this entry in The Writer's Handbook (1964).
Charm Craft Publishers, Inc.—33 35th St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 11232. Doris Quinn, Editor.
“Our line includes all seasons, as well as Everydays, and all captions. Payment for verse s 90¢ per line. Idea rates range from $12.50 to $45.00. Schedule as follows: January through May: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Graduation; June through August: Christmas; September through December: Valentine’s Day; and Everydays all year. Verses to Doris Quinn, Studio and comic ideas to George Kapitan.
The 1971 Writer’s Handbook said
Charm Craft Publishers, Inc.—33 35th St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 11232. Address all general verse, everyday and seasonal, to Verse Editor. Humorous and studio ideas to George Kapitan, Humor and Studio Director. Verses should be concise, yet warm, and should sound sincere, however sentimental they may be. Spring line (Mother’s and Father’s Day, Graduation and Easter); January through June; Christmas, July through September; Valentines; October through December. Everydays may be submitted at any time. Pays $1 per line for verse. For Humor line: humorous applications of situations that relate to the card receiver, and Studio ideas can run the gamut, from conversational to kooky, but must be unique and if possible graphically novel in approach. Pays $15 to $30 per idea for Humor, $20 to $40 per idea for Studio.
In 1990 Kapitan lived in East Northport, New York. At some point he retired to Panama City Beach, Florida. Kapitan passed away on November 27, 1996, in Panama City. He was laid to rest at Pensacola Memorial Gardens. His wife passed away on June 22, 2017.

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(Next post on Monday: Gilbert Paper Letterhead Promotion)