Monday, May 20, 2024

Comics: John Yakata, Letterer

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

John Yakata was born Osamu Yakata on June 20, 1923, in Winters, California, according to his World War II draft card. His Social Security application said his parents were Masuichi Yakata and Misao Hamanaka. 

At some point, Yakata went to Japan and lived with his extended family. On April 9, 1938, Yakata was aboard the steamship Chichibu Maru when it departed Kobe, Japan. He arrived in the port of Los Angeles on April 27. The passenger list said he had been living with his paternal grandmother, Tsuruya Yakata, at Yasumimura, Wakayama-ken, Japan. Yakata’s mother paid for his passage. Her address was 4055 Sequoia Street in Los Angeles. 


The same address was recorded in the 1940 United States Census, however the family name was Kayokata (lines 5-7). Yakata’s father was the proprietor of a retail produce business. 


On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that authorized military commanders to exclude civilians from military areas. The West Coast had been divided into military zones

On March 29, 1942, General DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 4, which began the forced evacuation and detention of Japanese-American West Coast residents on a 48-hour notice. 

Over the next six months, approximately 122,000 men, women, and children were forcibly sent to “assembly centers.” Next, they were moved again to internment camps. Ten sites were in remote areas: Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Tule Lake and Manzanar, California; Topaz, Utah; Poston and Gila River, Arizona; Granada, Colorado; Minidoka, Idaho; and Jerome and Rowher, Arkansas.

On June 30, 1942, Yakata signed his World War II draft card. He was described as five feet seven inches, 132 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. His residence was in Winters but he and his parents had been sent to the Merced Assembly Center. Yakata listed the Wartime Civil Control Administration (WCCA) as his employer. 


Yakata and his parents (Kayokata, Family Number 30840) were relocated to internment Camp Amache in Granada, Colorado. Yakata’s name was recorded as Osamu Yukata Kayokata on the roster dated February 1, 1943. 


In December 1944, the internment camps began closing. An accounting roster, dated December 31, 1944, for Granada listed Yakata’s parents, Yakata and his wife, Helen Kusaba on numbers 3021 to 3024. The exact date of their release is not yet known. Camp Amache was closed on October 15, 1945.


At some point, Yakata and his wife moved to New York City where he found work as a letterer at the Biro-Wood Studio. The Comic Book Makers (2003) printed a Biro-Wood Studio Christmas Card, circa 1949, with portraits of Yakata, Min Matsuda and Irving Watanabe


The Christian Science Monitor, February 24, 1949, reported a musician with the same name as Yakata. 
Museum Lecture-Concert
Japanese art and music will be the theme of the correlated lecture and concert program at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Sunday afternoon. Robert Treat Paine, Jr., will give an illustrated lecture on Japanese Nature Paintings at 3 o’clock in the main lecture hall. Mrs. Chiyo Kikuchi and John Osamu Yakata—using Japanese instruments, the koto and the shakuhachi—will give a concert of Japanese music at 4 o’clock in the Tapestry Gallery. Lecture and concert will be open free to the public.
According to the 1950 census, Yakata (line 4), his wife and son, Larry, were Manhattan residents at 707 Amsterdam Avenue. Also staying with them were his brother- and sister-in-law, Henry and Yae Kusaba. Yakata was a letterer for a wholesale magazine company. It’s not known how long Yakata was a letterer. 


The same census address was in 1957 and 1959 New York City telephone directories. 

Yakata was also a photographer. His name was listed in a 1959 issue of U.S. Camera for its $30,000 contest: “John Yakata, 707 Amsterdam Ave., N. Y. 25, N. Y.” Flower Arranging by Number (1962) included the following acknowledgment. 
The publishers wish to thank John Yakata who photographed the flower arrangement pictured on the jacket. 
The book was co-authored by Shizu Matsuda, aka Min Matsuda, who also did the illustrations.


At some point Yakata moved to 150 West 95th Street. 

The Board of Elections in the City of New York, December 31, 1964, published lists of Manhattan voters. Yakata and his wife were Democrats. 

Yakata passed away on January 17, 1991, in New York City. The date of his wife’s passing is not known. His sons, Larry and Brian, live in New York.


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(Next post on Monday: A Few Details About Phil Yeh, Cartoonist, Author, Journalist, Publisher, Graphic Novelist, Educator and Ringleader)


Monday, May 13, 2024

Comics: Daniel Bhang, Forgotten Fawcett Letterer

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

Daniel Bhang was born on February 3, 1922, in Coalinga, California, according to his World War II registration card. His parents were Samuel/Sakum Bhang and Salome Lee

The 1925 Kansas state census recorded the Bhang family of six (lines 28–32 plus one) in Kearn County. Bhang’s parents were Korean emigrants. His father was laborer. Bhang was the third of four siblings. Audrey was the oldest and born in Washington. Next was Olive who was born in California. Henry, the youngest, was born in Illinois.


The family moved to Michigan.

The Coloma Courier (Michigan), April 20, 1928, mentioned Bhang in “Coloma School Notes”. 
Kindergarten notes—Daniel Bhang, Vernon Smith and Bessie Mae Phillips have been promoted to the “Bright Eyes” class, which is the high class. …
In the 1930 United States Census the Bhang family numbered eight members (lines 60–67). Anna and Youngfellow were born in Michigan. The family resided at 59 St. Joseph Street in Coloma, Michigan. Bhang’s father owned and operated a restaurant. 


The Coloma Courier, October 30, 1931, said
Coloma Children Win Two W.C.T.U. Prizes
The W.C.T.U. meeting held with Mrs. Mary Krause, Wednesday of last week, was well tended and many interesting reports of the district convention held in Dowagiac recently were given by the eight local ladies who attended. …

… At the convention two children of the Coloma school were awarded prizes for essay and booklet work done along the line of temperance and law observance. Daniel Bhang of the third grade received the district prize for the booklet against the use of alcohol and has been awarded the state prize which he will receive later. …
At some point, the family moved to Indianapolis.

The Indianapolis News (Indiana), June 3, 1936, mentioned Bhang’s contribution. 
Eighth-Grade Magazine Has Thrill Stories
Thrills and chills are included in the Story Magazine published this week by the Harrison Press Club, an eighth-grade organization of Benjamin Harrison School No. 2. One tale brings the thrill of a horse race won by a nose and another, concerning ghoulies and ghosties of old Ireland, produces the “cold chills.” 

The little publication is interesting and in addition to the stories, includes poetry, book and movie reviews, editorials and jokes. The cover design is the work of Edward Hines, Louis LeVier and Blanche Onken. The frontpispiece [sic], a pen and ink sketch of Benjamin Harrison, was drawn by Sherman Barnhart. Other illustrations were made by Daniel Bhang and Miles Birks. Daniel also was responsible for all the lettering in the book and prepared all stencils used in the illustrations. ...
The 1940 census said the Bhang family of ten (lines 41–40) resided at 1724 Compton Avenue in St. Louis, Missouri. The family added four children, Eva (Michigan), Esther (Indiana), Samuel Jr. (Indiana) and David (Missouri). Audrey and Olive lived elsewhere. 


In June 1940 Bhang graduated from Roosevelt High School. The school yearbook, Bwana, said he had been at the Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana where he was member of the Art Club. At Roosevelt, Bhang was on the Apparatus and Tumbling Team. 


On October 6, 1999, Bhang and his sister, Audrey, were interviewed for an oral history project. In Segment 7, Bhang said after graduation he moved back to Indianapolis where his sister, Olive, lived. They worked at Chinese restaurant. Olive was engaged to Paul Yoon (see page 33) who was a member of Dante’s magic show that performed in Indianapolis. Bhang wanted to leave Indianapolis so he wrote to Dante who offered him a job. Bhang traveled to Chicago to join the show. During the tour, a member of the show, who was a commercial artist and from New York, invited Bhang to New York and offered to help him get a job during the tour’s break.

In 1941 the tour ended on the West Coast. Bhang went to New York and found a job at Fawcett Publications where he did lettering on the Captain Marvel line of comic books. He is not listed on Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 or the Grand Comics Database. He was a witness at Olive’s marriage to Paul. 

During World War II, Bhang enlisted in the Navy on June 17, 1942. He trained as a radio operator at the San Diego Naval Training Station, then in Idaho and Seattle, Washington. A muster roll, dated July 3, 1943, listed Bhang on the Bushnell AS-15. He served overseas in Guam where he intercepted and copied the Japanese radio transmissions. Bhang’s Department of Veterans Affairs file, at Ancestry.com, said he was discharged, in Los Angeles, California, on November 20, 1945. Three days later on November 23, he signed a military registration card. He was described as five feet six inches, 135 pounds, with black eyes and hair. 


While in Los Angeles, Bhang stayed with his sister, Olive, and her family at 3568 1/2 South Van Ness Street. He returned to Fawcett Publications in New York and, through the G.I. Bill, enrolled at Pratt Institute, in Brooklyn, New York, to study illustration. 

Bhang and Yoshiye Vicki Tanbara applied for a marriage license twice: September 11, 1947 and March 18, 1948. During the war, Tanbara was relocated to the concentration camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming.



According to the 1950 census, Bhang and his wife (lines 15 and 16) were Manhattan residents at 425 West 45th Street. He was an advertising artist. 


In the publication, Board of Elections in the City of New York, December 31, 1954, was a list of enrolled voters. Bhang and his wife resided in Forest Hills, Queens at 6637 Yellowstone Boulevard. 

In 1961 Bhang moved to Los Angeles to be closer to his siblings. He bought a house, worked at two design studios then freelanced. 

Bhang passed away on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California.


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(Next post on Monday: John Yakata, Letterer)


Monday, May 6, 2024

Comics: Bill Yoshida, Singer, Chef, Bowler and Letterer

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

William Saburo “Bill” Yoshida was born on December 2, 1921, in Brawley, California, according to his World War II draft card. Yoshida’s Social Security application said his parents were Kenichi Yoshida and Chiyo Tasaki. 

The 1930 United States Census said Yoshida (line 19) was the second of three siblings. The family of five were residents of Beverly Hills, California at 7375 Santa Monica Boulevard. His father was a gardener for a private family. 


The 1940 census recorded the Yoshidas (lines 18–22) in Los Angeles, California at 519 North Virgil Avenue. Yoshida was a salesman who had finished four years of high school. He earned $800 in 1939. 


On February 16, 1942, Yoshida signed his World War II draft card. His address was the same. Yoshida was self-employed gardener. He was described as five feet nine inches, 155 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. 


On February 19, 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066 that authorized military commanders to exclude civilians from military areas. The West Coast had been divided into military zones. 

On March 29, 1942, General DeWitt issued Public Proclamation No. 4, which began the forced evacuation and detention of Japanese-American West Coast residents on a 48-hour notice. 

Over the next six months, approximately 122,000 men, women, and children were forcibly sent to “assembly centers.” Next, they were moved again to internment camps. Ten sites were in remote areas: Heart Mountain, Wyoming; Tule Lake and Manzanar, California; Topaz, Utah; Poston and Gila River, Arizona; Granada, Colorado; Minidoka, Idaho; and Jerome and Rowher, Arkansas.

“Japanese Americans Relocated During World War II”, at Ancestry.com, listed the Yoshidas at Manzanar. “Final Accountability Rosters of Evacuees at Relocation Centers”, at Ancestry.com, said “Saburo Sonny Yoshida”, #10,779, was born on “December 2, 1920”. He departed Manzanar on April 17, 1944. Chicago was his destination. 


According to the 1950 census, Yoshida (line 13) was a cook. He was married to Dorothy and had two sons, Ronald and Donald. They lived in Chicago at 1252 Clark Street. In Alter Ego #48, May 2005, Jim Amash wrote an obituary and said Yoshida was a chef and nightclub singer. 


At some point the marriage ended in divorce. Yoshida moved to New York City. 

The New York, New York Marriage License Index, at Ancestry.com, said Yoshida and Sachiko Terada obtained, in Manhattan, marriage license number 7137. 

The 1957, 1959 and 1960 Manhattan, New York City telephone directories listed Yoshida at 540 West 112th Street. Amash said Yoshida “worked as a cook at the Campus Grill on the Upper West Side of Manhattan near Columbia University. He also worked part-time as a pantry chef at Pine Hollow Country Club in Long Island, New York.” 


Amash said Yoshida bowled in an all-Japanese league in New York City. Teammate Ben Oda taught him lettering. Oda advised Yoshida on assembling a lettering portfolio and he got his start with Archie Comics Publications in 1965. Yoshida’s lettering accompanied Angelo Torres’ illustration on page 19 of Witzend #1, 1966. He lettered “The Rejects” from Witzend #4, 1968. Creepy #15, June 1967, said 
... The penciled pages are given to Ben Oda for lettering. Lately we have also been using up and coming young letterer Bill Yoshida to help lighten Ben’s burgeoning burden. …
Many of his credits are at the Grand Comics Database

Amash said Yoshida also lettered for Tower Comics, Harvey, Marvel and DC. In X-Men #64, January 1970, Sunfire’s father was named Saburo Yoshida. 

Amash said Yoshida moved in 1969 to Waldwick, New Jersey. A photograph of him is here

In late 1999, Yoshida had thyroid cancer but continued lettering until Christmas 2004. 

Yoshida passed away on February 17, 2005, in Waldwick, New Jersey. Yoshida’s two wives passed way: Dorie Morisse, March 4, 2014, and Sachiko, July 20, 2017.
 

Further Viewing
Internet Archive, Bill Yoshida’s lettering in several Archie comics 


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Monday, April 22, 2024

Comics: Corinne Boyd Dillon, Illustrator

Corinne Boyd Dillon was born on January 23, 1885, in Louisville, Kentucky according to her Social Security application at Ancestry.com. She was the only child of Michael Edward Dillon and Loula Rees, both Irish immigrants. In the 1880 United States Census, the couple were Louisville residents at 205 Third Street. Dillon’s father was in the dry goods business. 

Young Wings was a book club publication for young adults. The August 1949 issue published a profile of Dillon who said in part
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, where my ancestors migrated soon after Daniel Boone opened the way. My parents left Kentucky when I was still a child, and we spent some years in Minneapolis, Chicago, and New York, which finally became our home. Here I studied art under the famous C. V. Sanborn. My work has appeared in magazines, newspapers, and books. 
The 1900 census counted Dillon and her mother in Manhattan, New York City at 33 West 65th Street. Dillon was an art student. 


The 45th Cooper Union Annual Report, May 28, 1904, listed the recipients of diplomas and prizes. In the Woman’s Art School, Dillon received the silver medal in Drawing for Illustration. On May 29, 1904, the New York Herald and New York Tribune reported the commencement of Cooper Union. The school’s president presented the prizes and diplomas. Dillon received a silver medal. A profile of Dillon appeared in the Denver Post, July 31, 1904. 


Dillon was featured in Broadway Magazine, September 1904, “The Girl Art Student in New York”. 

In the 1905 New York state census, Dillon and her parents were residents of the Bronx at 688 East 138th Street. Dillon was an artist. 


On October 19, 1909, Dillon returned to New York from London. 

The 1910 census counted Dillon and her parents in Manhattan at 2 West 101st Street. Dillon was an artist in the theatre trade. 


Some of her early work appeared in The Graphic, July 9, 1910; The Housewife, November 1910; Woman’s Home Companion, January 1912, November 1912 and October 1913; and The Designer, February 1914. 

Dillon’s father passed away on May 14, 1913. Almost a year later, her mother passed away on March 1, 1914. Both were laid to rest at Owenton IOOF Cemetery. 

In Young Wings, Dillon said 
At the end of World War I, my husband and I went to France, living there for four years. In Paris I bought Poilu, an Alsatian shepherd dog. He was a real person with a keen sense of fun. He lived to be over thirteen years old.

Another pet which lived to great age was my canary. He would fly to the top of my head whenever he was let out of the cage. He scorned the small bird bath, plainly showing his preference for a soup plate, where he could get a thorough drenching. That done, he would flutter up to my shoulder, and there he would shudder, shake his wings, preen, and perk until quite dry. If I turned to look at him while he was making his toilet, he would give me a peck on the cheek, as if to say, “Privacy, please.” 
Her marriage was mentioned in The Story of Martha Washington (1954). Apparently Dillon married Ernest Eugene Adt before his signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917. Adt was a fashion artist who worked for the Butterick Company. The couple lived in Manhattan at 127 West 82nd Street. The date and place of their marriage is not known. 


On August 8, 1919, Dillon and Adt applied for a passport. Their application was accompanied by a letter from Butterick confirming their assignment. Dillon stated her birth year as 1890 instead of 1885. 




A passenger list recorded the October 2, 1919 arrival in Liverpool, England. Dillon’s first name was listed erroneously as Connie.


On February 8, 1922, Dillon was aboard the steamship Aquitania when it arrived in the Port of New York from Southampton. The passenger list said her address was Plainfield, New Jersey. 

Dillon has not been found in the 1925 New York state census. 

Her career was primarily in magazine illustration. Dillon’s clients included Cosmopolitan here and here; The Ladies’ Home Journal; McClure’s Parents’ Magazine here  and here; Photoplay; The Saturday Evening Post; Smart Set; and This Week

Dillon’s book jacket for May Fair: The Ace of Cads and Other Stories published by Grosset & Dunlap in 1925. 


The Eastern Edition of Advertising Arts and Crafts, Volume II (1926) listed Dillon at 1060 Park Avenue.  The 1927 edition featured a full-page illustration on page 419 and the same address. 

In 1927, Dillon illustrated at least three Feen-a-mint advertisements: “Beauty Is Health’s Reward” aka “Beauty—the Reward of Health”, “Grandmother Is Still Dancing”, and “Opportunity Never Knocks at a Sickroom Door”. 


The 1930 census recorded Dillon in Manhattan at 170 East 78th Street. She was a self-employed artist and single. Her former husband was a furniture salesman.


The New York Evening Post, June 16, 1931, published a photograph of Dillon. 


The Buffalo Evening News, August 25, 1933, published O.O. McIntyre’s column, New York Day by Day, who wrote “… Corrine [sic] Boyd Dillon, the artist, and her dog. …”

The New York Sun, October 6, 1932, reported leases in various neighborhoods: “Bing & Bing, Inc., leased apartments in ... 299 West Twelfth street to ... Corine [sic] Boyd Dillon …”


The article mentioned 2 Horatio Street which would be in Dillon’s future. 

On June 3, 1937, Dillon returned from Bermuda. Her address on the passenger list was 299 West 12th Street, New York City. The New York Times, June 19, 1937, said Dillon signed a lease for 2 Horatio Street. 

Dillon has not been found in the 1940 census. 

The Board of Elections in the City of New York, List of Enrolled Voters for the Year 1941–1942, Borough of Manhattan, December 31, 1941, listed Dillon at 2 Horatio Street. 

In the 1940s, Dillon contributed to comic books published by Parents’ Magazine Press

Real Heroes #6, September 1942, The Blind Man Who Saw
Calling All Girls #19, June-July 1943, The Traipsin Woman
Calling All Girls #22, October 1943, She Traveled the Underground
Calling All Girls #23, November 1943, Trouping with the Troops
Calling All Girls #25, January 1944, All’s Well That Ends Well
Calling All Girls #27, March 1944, Backstage with the Rockettes
Calling All Girls #31, July-August 1944, Allies in the Pines
Calling All Girls #32, September 1944, Underwater Wave
Calling All Girls #36, January-February 1945, Boast of Brazil
Calling All Girls #37, March 1945, Double Exposure Mystery
Calling All Girls #40, June-July 1945, Gap in the Wall
True Comics #45, Fall 1945, Delaying Action
Polly Pigtails #7, August 1946, Country Courage
Sweet Sixteen #8, August 1947, The Poor Fish

Dillon’s former husband passed away in 1947. 

Dillon was at the same address in the 1950 census. She was a portrait artist who also illustrated several books including Hi, Barney!, Kentucky Derby Winner, The Story of Florence Nightingale, The Bible Story, Volume 3 here and here, and Friends Near and Far: Pupil’s Book


Dillon passed away on July 29, 1965, in Manhattan, New York City. She was laid to rest with her parents. 


Further Reading
The Gilded Times, Nine Cities, Nine Styles: A Fashion Designer’s Travel Log Dated 1926