Monday, February 19, 2018

Comics: Bruce Baker Is or Isn’t Al Stahl



1935


According to Who’s Who of American of Comic Books 1928–1999, Al Stahl used the pen name, Bruce Baker. But there really was a comic book artist named Bruce Baker.

Bruce Edward Baker was born on March 20, 1916, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to Baker’s Social Security application which was transcribed at Ancestry.com. His parents were Olin J. Baker and Margaret E. Thompson.

When Baker’s father, a self-employed photographic supplier and New York native, signed his World War I draft card on June 5, 1917, the family of three lived in Grand Rapids at 1416 Sherman Street. The same address was recorded in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census.

In the 1930 census, Baker and his parents, both photographers, remained in Grand Rapids but at a different address, 542 Livingston.

Baker attended Central High School and was in the class of 1935. He was on the art staff of the school yearbook, Helios, in 1934 and 1935.

The 1940 census recorded Baker, a student, in Brooklyn, New York at 11a South Portland Street. Baker was staying with his cousin Walter Homiak and his two sisters, Anna and Mildred. Baker was studying at Pratt Institute. In the 1940 Prattonia yearbook, Baker was in Pictorial Illustration at the School of Fine and Applied Arts (see page 45).

On October 16, 1940 Baker signed his World War II draft card. There were three addresses of which two were crossed out. He lived at 9416 51st Avenue in Elmhurst, Queens, New York and was employed by his father. Baker’s description was five feet eight inches, 155 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.


During World War II, Baker enlisted in the army on May 27, 1943. He was discharged December 24, 1945.

Baker’s comic book connection was revealed in the Utica Daily Press (New York), April 3, 1946.

Last Rhoadsman Appears Friday
Final issue of the Mohawk Rhoadsman semi-monthly publication at Rhoads General Hospital, will appear Friday, it was revealed yesterday by Col. A J. Canning, commanding officer. The magazine is being discontinued due to the lack of personnel experienced in publishing a magazine.

Originally named Cross Rhoads at its inception in September, 1943, just after the first patients arrived at Rhoads, the magazine was discontinued in May of 1944 in order to help alleviate the paper shortage. It was published under its present name from May, 1945, until now.

Among the reporters, photographers and artists who worked for The Mohawk Rhoadsman were: T 3 Vic Tampon, former New York Times cameraman, now working for Vogue: T 5 Bruce Baker, comic book artist; Signal Corps photographer Cpl. Joe Petak, survivor of the death march from Batan [sic]; T 5 Ed Robbins, former Hollywood photographer; T 4 Bill Cloonan, industrial publications writer, and S. Sgt. Bill Casey, newspaper reporter and rewrite man.


There were at least nine comic book stories signed “Bruce Baker”.


Ding Dong #1, 1946; Doodle Doo and Doodle Dee





Ding Dong #3, 1946; Sally Salt and Peter Pepper








Frisky Fables, v2 #11 [14], February 1947; Lee O’Lion



Frisky Fables, v3 #4 [19], July 1947; Lee O’Lion



Frisky Fables, v3 #7 [22], October 1947; Lee O’Lion



Frisky Fables, v3 #10 [25], January 1948; Lee O’Lion



Frisky Fables, v3 #11 [26], February 1948; Lee O’Lion



Frisky Fables, #43, October 1950; The Mad Artist



Other work by Baker has not been found. He may have gone into animation or commercial art.

Baker’s mother passed away on June 26, 1970. The obituary in the Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York), June 27, 1970, named the survivors and said Baker lived in Warminster, Pennsylvania.
 
The Social Security Death Index said Baker passed away November 7, 1987, in Miami, Florida. He was laid to rest at Fred Hunter's Hollywood Memorial Gardens East.


Further Reading
Profile of Al Stahl


(Updated February 20, 2021; Next post on Monday: Ed Winiarski, Artist)

2 comments:

  1. Comparing the handwriting Baker and Stahl wrote on their draft cards, Bruce Edward Baker’s handwriting seems more consistent with the Bruce Baker signatures from Ding Dong and Frisky Fables, so I think it’s more possible that “Bruce Baker” isn’t a pseudonym in those comics.

    - Daniel

    https://www.fold3.com/image/694725721?terms=baker,bruce

    https://www.fold3.com/image/695772034?terms=lester,alvin,stahl

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks, Daniel. I've updated the post with Baker's World War II draft card and his location when his mother passed away in 1970.

    Alex

    ReplyDelete