Bob Lander was born Robert Charles Cohen on August 15, 1920, in Jersey City, New Jersey, according to his World War II draft card. However, census records had Charles as his first name. He was the second of three children born to Jacob Cohen and Rose Frank who married on January 21, 1917 in Brooklyn.
In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Lander’s parents and sister were Brooklyn residents at 120 Grove Street. His father was a bookkeeper at a cigar manufacturer.
The 1925 New York state census recorded the Cohen family of five in Brooklyn at 699 East New York Avenue.
According to the 1930 census, the Cohen family resided at 971 47th Street in Brooklyn.
In Alter Ego #90, December 2009, Leon Lazarus was interviewed by Jim Amash. (Pages 48 and 54 have photographs of Lander.) Lazarus said “Bob Landers* was my brother Harry’s brother-in-law. I had known him since I was 17.” On Christmas day 1938, Lander’s older sister, Evelyn, married Harry Joseph Lazarus, the middle brother of Sidney and Leon, who all worked in comics at various times.
The 1940 census said Lander, his parents and younger sister, Adele, lived in Brooklyn at 356 Clifton Place. This location is about two-and-a-half miles west of Bushwick High School which Lander may have attended. He had some college education. Lander’s occupation was a record clerk at a shirt factory. He earned $480 working 32 weeks in 1939.
On February 15, 1942, Lander signed his World War II draft card. His Brooklyn address was 4307 12th Avenue. At the time he was unemployed. His description was five feet nine inches, 155 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. It’s not known if he served during the war.
On September 21, 1943, Lander and Hadassah Cohen obtained a marriage license. They married on September 26 in Manhattan. Lazarus’ wife, Marjorie, said Lander “met his wife while trying to become an actor.” Lazarus said Lander “landed a walk-on part in the movie Stage Door Canteen.”
Noted on Lander’s draft card was the date, February 15, 1946, when his surname was updated from Cohen to Lander.
In 1946 Lander was employed at Timely Comics where he was a letterer. He was credited in two issues of Terry Toons, numbers 47 and 48. Information about his art training has not been found.
Terry Toons #47, August 1946
In an interview at Timely-Atlas-Comics, Allen Bellman said “Bob Landers* was a letterer who sat opposite me. There was a time that the office did not have air-conditioning and I always sat next to the window. Bob used to open it all the time and the wind blew in my ear constantly and caused my Bell’s Palsy.”
Some of Lander’s comics credits are at the Grand Comics Database. (Please note, fourteen-year-old Lander did not contribute to New Fun #2, March 1935.) Who’s Who of American Comics Books 1928–1999 also has credits.
Lander’s address in the 1950 census was 1346 Grant Avenue, apartment 2E, in the Bronx. He was a freelance artist with a wife and two daughters. Lazarus said “He was a very good letterer who taught me how to letter, and he was also an inker. When Timely let us all go, he left comics. Later on, he went to work for Esso, which is now Exxon. Before either Bob or I was married, we used to double-date. He had two daughters.”
According to Florida records at Ancestry.com, Lander divorced Hadassah and married Charliann A. Ronson Young in August 1959. This was her second marriage, too. How Lander met Young could be explained in the 1957 Manhattan, New York City directory. Lander and Young (listed under her maiden name Ronson) resided one block from each other on West 21st Street. He was at building number 473 and she at 328.
The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 23, Parts 7–11A, Number 1, World of Art, January–June 1969 had an entry for someone who might be Lander.
Lander, Robert.Chessboard and full complement of chess pieces. [Abstract figures] Plaster & wood. Appl. ti.: Chess game, board and 6 pieces. © Robert Lander; 28Jan69; GP61679.
Standard Oil Company published a company magazine called The Lamp. The Winter 1971 issue included a photograph by Lander. A map by Lander appeared in a 1977 issue.
In 1974 Lander and his wife were registered voters in Manhattan according to the Board of Elections in the City of New York.
Charliann passed away on May 29, 1990. She was a World War II veteran who served from February 28, 1943 to March 21, 1946. The Social Security Death Index said her last residence was East Hampton, New York.
Lander passed away on October 29, 2003. The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Honesdale, Pennsylvania.
* All documentation had Lander as the surname. Lazarus and Bellman called him Landers.
(Next post on Monday: Comic Book Trademarks, Part 13)