Saturday, November 11, 2023

Comics: Frank Frollo, Artist and Art Director

Today is Veterans Day.

Courtesy of 63rd Infantry Division, Blood and Fire

Frank Joseph Frollo was born on February 4, 1915, in the Bronx, New York, according to his World War II draft card. 

In the 1915 New York state census, Frollo (line 37) was the only child of Rocco, an Italian immigrant, and Mary, a New Yorker. They were Bronx residents at 760 Trinity Avenue. 

On June 5, 1917, Frollo’s father signed his World War I draft card. His Bronx address was 885 Union Avenue. 

The same address was recorded in the 1920 census. Frollo is on line 47. 

Frollo’s father applied for a passport which was issued on July 20, 1922. The family intended to depart aboard the steamship Conte Rosso on August 10, 1922.

On April 1, 1923 the Frollos (lines 4 to 6) returned to New York. They departed aboard the same steamship from Naples, Italy on March 21, 1923.

According to the 1925 New York state census, the Frollos’ Bronx address was 796 East 161st Street (lines 40 to 43). Also in the household was Frollo’s uncle.

The 1930 census counted Frollo (line 12) and his parents in the Bronx at 845 East 228th Street. 

It’s not known which schools Frollo attended. Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Frollo studied at the Art Students League and Famous Artists School which was founded in 1948. 

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Part 4, Works of Art, Etc., 1935, New Series, Volume 30, Number 4, published the following entry. 
Frollo (Frank)* 8335
Adventures of newsreel cameramen. © 1 c. Nov. 8, 1935; G 21163. 
“Adventures of Newsreel Cameramen” appeared in Funny Picture Stories, #3, January 1937, and #6, April 1937. 

In The Comics Journal #261, June–July 2004, Ron Goulart asked Gill Fox about the artists in Harry “A” Chesler’s studio. 
“OK, Frank Frollo sat behind me,” he said. “In front of me was Paul Gustavson. Then there was Charlie Biro, Bob Wood ... Ken Ernst was there briefly, not too long. Running the place, about six months after I’d been there, was Jack Binder. Jack Cole was there ... the kid, Fred Schwab. Rafael Astarita. Oh, and Fred Guardineer.”
Who’s Who said Frollo was also in the studios of Eisner and Iger, Binder, Funnies Inc., and Iger. Many of Frollo’s credits are at the Grand Comics Database

The New York Times, December 9, 1939, said 
Frank Frollo, commercial artist, has joined the advertising staff of the S. & S. Corrugated Paper Machinery Company, Inc., Brooklyn, as assistant advertising manager.
The 1940 census said Frollo (line 19) lived with his parents at the same address. His occupation was artist for picture magazines. He completed four years of high school and earned $936 in 1939. 

Frollo and Emily E. Bongiorno obtained, in the Bronx, marriage license number 11819. The date of their marriage is not known.

On October 16, 1940, Frollo signed his World War II draft card. His address and employer were unchanged. Frollo was described as five feet eleven inches, with brown eyes and hair. 

Frollo created the super-heroine Blue Lady who debuted in Amazing-Man Comics #24, October 1941. 

Frollo enlisted on August 17, 1943. He served in the Army’s M Company, 255th Infantry Regiment, 63rd Infantry Division. Frollo’s son provided photographs of his father and his mural at their website here and here. Frollo was a technician fifth grade. Frollo’s veteran’s file (transcribed at said he served from September 1, 1943 to April 22, 1946.

A 1947 issue of Printers’ Ink said Frollo worked on a comic strip for Arthur Davis, head of Arthur Davis Associates. 

The 1948 New York, New York city directory listed Frollo at 41 Bennett Avenue in Manhattan. 

In 1950, Frollo, his wife and son lived in Manhattan at 701 West 189 Street, apartment 4E. He was a freelance commercial artist. The same address was in the 1960 Manhattan directory. 

At Charlton, Frollo was one of the art editors on Fantastic Science Fiction, August 1952. His art appeared in several Charlton Comics from 1952 to 1956. Below are two illustrations from True Life Secrets #11, January 1953.

... Frank Frollo, formerly Art Director of Grayson-Robinson Stores, has been named Art Director at Sales Letters Inc. ...
Who’s Who said Frollo had an advertising agency, FAA Advertising, from 1962 to 1971. Actually, his agency started earlier and operated out of his home. FAA Advertising was mentioned in Automotive News, April 26, 1954. 
Brach Mfg. Corp., 200 Central ave., Newark 4, N. J. Auto radio antennas. FM and TV antennas. Leon 8. Brach, pres.; Ira Kamen, vice-pres.; J. B. Cejka, vice-pres. and cf. engr.; A. Ashcroft, pur. agt. Det. Rep.—8S. Kehoe, 719 Fisher bldg., Detroit, Mich. Adv. Agcy.—FAA Advertising, 701 W. 189th st., New York City.
Who’s Who said Frollo was an art director at Allied Leathercraft in the 1970s. There was no such company in New York but there was an Allied Lettercraft Company that was founded in 1926 according to an advertisement in The Literary Market Place 1945. At the time the company specialized in multigraphing, mimeographing, addressing and mailing for publishers’ promotion. Similar services were offered in the 1970s. The MIMP 1980 said the company was located at 307 West 36th Street in Manhattan. 

Frollo passed away on October 12, 1981, in New York City.

Further Reading and Viewing
The Charlton Comics Reading Library, Space Adventures #9, Winter 1954 
Heritage Auctions, oil painting, original comic art here and here
Charlton Companion, Charlton Comics Forgotten Artists

(Next post on Monday: The 1930 Hi-O-Hi Yearbook)

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