Monday, December 10, 2018

Comics: Searching for Marion McDermott

Marion Helen McDermott was an editor at comics publisher St. John Publications from the late 1940s to around 1955. The Grand Comics Database has McDermott’s credits starting in 1949 while Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 has 1947. St. John Publications was started by Archer Anthony St. John.

St. John was born October 15, 1904 (Cook County, Illinois, Birth Certificates Index transcribed at Ancestry.com) and died August 13, 1955 (Find a Grave has the fourteenth which is incorrect; see Merchant of Words: The Life of Robert St. John (2014); The New York Times said it was the thirteenth.) At some point St. John married and moved to Darien, Connecticut. A 1932 city directory listed St. John as an advertising manager in New York City and married to Gertrude. A brief history of St. John Publications is at Wikipedia.

McDermott and St. John had an affair. In Alter Ego #77, May 2008, Ken Quattro profiled St. John and contacted several artists who knew McDermott. Quattro said “When asked, Lily Renee offered the intriguing evaluation: ‘Marion was an efficient editor [who] later became Archer’s girlfriend.’” In Matt Baker: The Art of Glamour (2012) Jim Amash interviewed Nadine King; below is an excerpt.

Jim Amash: You were an editor for a while as well as a secretary. Was Marion McDermott an editor before you?

Nadine King: Mary McDermott was an editor while I was there. She and St. John started having an affair. They decided to elope somewhere in the South, but they changed their minds and came back. 
It’s not known when the affair started. Together McDermott and St. John made at least two trips to Bermuda. At Ancestry.com a passenger list recorded the arrival of McDermott and St. John at New York City’s LaGuardia Airport on October 1, 1950. Aboard Colonial Airlines’ Flight 101, they had departed Kindley Field, Bermuda. Recorded on the list was McDermott’s address, 26 Ascan Avenue, Forest Hills, New York, and her birthplace, California.

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On Pan American World Airways, Flight 132/27, McDermott and St. John flew from LaGuardia Airport to Kindley Field on November 27, 1951. McDermott’s address was “26 Aspen Ave.”. They returned to New York City aboard Pan American Flight 133/02 on December 2, 1951. McDermott’s address was “26 Ascan Ave.”


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McDermott was found in the U.S. Federal Census. In 1930, McDermott was the oldest of two children born to Francis and Anita, all of whom were born in California. It’s not known when or why the family moved to New York City. McDermott’s father was a sales manager at an import house. They resided in Forest Hills, Queens, at 287 Burns Street.

According to the 1940 census the McDermotts were Forest Hills residents at 212 Burns Street. McDermott was seventeen and her brother, William, was fourteen. Their father was a sales manager in the drug industry.

The California Birth Index (at Ancestry.com) said McDermott was born March 8, 1923 in San Francisco. McDermott’s Social Security application (transcribed at Ancestry.com), was dated June 1942 and had the same birth information plus her full name. In February 1956 McDermott updated her name to Marion Cameron. On May 29, 1999 her name was listed as “Marion M Cameron”. Information about Cameron, presumably her spouse, has not been found.

According to the Social Security Death Index, McDermott passed away May 14, 1999. Her last residence was Miami, Florida. According to the Florida Death Index (at Ancestry.com) McDermott’s mother passed away July 1968 in Dade County, Florida. Her father’s passing was in Los Angeles, California on March 26, 1990.

A photograph of McDermott is at Women in Comics Wiki.



(Next post on Monday: Trademarks, October 15, 1935) 

Monday, December 3, 2018

Lettering: It’s a Bird

American Hatter, May 1915


































Geyer’s Stationer, October 21, 1920


































(Next post on Monday: Searching for Marion McDermott)


Monday, November 26, 2018

Comics: Pablo Ferro, 1935–2018

Pablo Francisco Ferro was born on January 15, 1935, in Oriente Province, Cuba.

Ferro attended the School of Industrial Art and was in the Class of 1953. His address and specialty was “640 10 Ave., N. Y. 19 Cartooning”. One of his classmates was Victor Moscoso

Ferro became a naturalized citizen on June 10, 1957 according to the Index to Petitions for Naturalization, New York City, at Ancestry.com

The Comics Journal, #246, September 2002
Gary Groth interviewed Victor Moscoso

MOSCOSO: … Pablo Ferro is a high-school buddy of mine, who I looked up in ’67 and we hit it off. We were on the same wavelength. He was doing the titles for Dr. Strangelove, the refueling sequence, when the planes are hooking up together and the music is “Try A Little Tenderness,” and the final sequence, which is when the atom bomb goes off, and the song is “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when ...” I thought that was Stanley Kubrick. It was Pablo Ferro. And I didn’t bother to look at the credit for who did the titles. And meanwhile he’s collecting my posters, especially my Neon Rose posters. But he doesn’t know they’re mine because he can’t read the signature. So we meet, and here we are digging each other’s work, not realizing it …

GROTH: You read Mad as a kid?
MOSCOSO: Not only did I read Mad as a kid, me and a couple of friends, like Pablo Ferro, went down to the EC offices on Lafayette Street hoping to meet Harvey Kurtzman and Wally Wood. Actually, they worked at home for the most part, but we did get to meet Al Feldstein and Jack Kamen, and Al Feldstein autographed a copy of Weird Science. I still have that somewhere….

GROTH: Let me talk a little about the artists that influenced your approach to comics. There’s obviously Winsor McCay.
MOSCOSO: Actually, he was not an influence until 1967. I was unaware of Winsor McCay’s work until then. At that point he became an influence. I had done a poster for Neiman Marcus in Dallas, called the Dallas Poster Show. In it, I have a flower-covered satellite with yellow forming a shadow to it which gives it a yin-yang shape, rising above a flower-covered planet. I looked into Winsor McCay about a month after I did that, when I went to New York. My friend, Pablo Ferro, who I did a poster for, had a McCay book — I think it was from Nostalgia Press. I looked at it, and McCay had this dirigible flying over this planet covered with lilies, and I said, “Holy shit.” He drew 50 years ago what I just drew. We were both going in the same direction, even though he was ancient. He was gone; he was art history, literally. So yes, he was an influence from that point on….

Against the Grain: Mad Artist Wallace Wood (2003)
Wood: My friend Pablo Ferro is working on selling Nudine as an animated cartoon and The Wizard King as a regular feature film. I’m sure it will happen eventually. I just hope it’s in my lifetime. Pablo Ferro drew EC-type horror stories about 30 years ago, just before he decided to give up comics and bought a camera. He has since worked on some very successful movies, including Dr. Strangelove, The Night They Raided Minsky’s and Bound for Glory

Ferro passed away November 16, 2018, in Sedona, Arizona.

Obituaries
The New York Times
Variety
Hollywood Reporter
Deadline
Cartoon Brew

Further Reading and Viewing
Pablo Ferro 
Art of the Title 
AIGA 
Art Directors Club 
The Atlantic, November 21, 2013 
Grand Comics Database 
Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 
Wikipedia 


(Next post on Monday: It’s a Bird)

Monday, November 19, 2018

Monday, November 12, 2018