Monday, September 28, 2020

Comics: George Kapitan, Letterer and Writer

George Gregory Kapitan was born on July 23, 1919, in Manhattan, New York City. His full name was on his Florida death certificate and the birth information from the New York, New York, Birth Index at

Kapitan’s father emigrated to the U.S. His Petition for Naturalization said he arrived in New York as Gregorios Kapitanakis on November 3, 1910. He was born in Spile, Turkey. The petition named his wife, Anna, and three children, Anthony, George and Mary, and their birth dates. In 1922 Kapitanakis, who had adopted the name Gregory Kapitan, declared his intention to become a citizen. On May 21, 1928 he was officially declared a citizen.

The 1920 U.S. Federal Census listed the Kapitan family of four in Manhattan at 1883 Second Avenue. Kapitan’s father was a restaurant waiter. In the 1925 New York state census the Kapitans resided in Manhattan at 1968 Third Avenue. Kapitan’s father was a restaurant chef.

According to the 1930 census the Kapitan family numbered six: the parents, two sons and two daughters. They lived in the Bronx at 582 East 140 Street. Kapitan’s father was a bakery salesman.

The 1940 census said the Kapitan family remained in the Bronx but at a different address, 3120 Buhre Avenue. Kapitan’s highest level of education was the eighth grade and he was unemployed. On October 16, 1940, Kapitan signed his World War II draft card in the Bronx. His employer was the Jackson Electric Corporation in Manhattan. Kapitan’s description was five feet five inches, 132 pounds, with brown eyes and hair.

Kapitan’s comics career also began around 1940. He did lettering and writing at the comics shop Funnies, Inc. His scripts were used by at least seven publishers.

In the 1950s Kapitan contributed ideas to Popular Science and Popular Mechanics here, here, here, and here.

The New York, New York, Marriage License Index said Kapitan and Rose M. Aoliva obtained a marriage license on February 11, 1950 in the Bronx.

In Alter Ego #49, June 2005, Jim Amash interviewed Carl Burgos’ daughter, Susan, who said
… family and friends were invited over to the house. I remember Stan Starkman, George Kapitan, and Herbie Cooper from Timely Comics coming to visit. …

George Kapitan was a real sweetheart, as was his wife, Rose. Stan and Suzie Starkman, and Herbie and Marilyn Cooper would come over, too. I know George and Herbie aren’t with us any longer. I liked those guys, and they were a charming group, but my dad didn’t mix his kids with his friends. We’d come out and say, “Hi,” and then go back into our rooms. [laughs] …
In the 1960s Kapitan worked for the Brooklyn greeting card company, Charm Craft Publishers. The company had this entry in The Writer's Handbook (1964).
Charm Craft Publishers, Inc.—33 35th St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 11232. Doris Quinn, Editor.
“Our line includes all seasons, as well as Everydays, and all captions. Payment for verse s 90¢ per line. Idea rates range from $12.50 to $45.00. Schedule as follows: January through May: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter and Graduation; June through August: Christmas; September through December: Valentine’s Day; and Everydays all year. Verses to Doris Quinn, Studio and comic ideas to George Kapitan.
The 1971 Writer’s Handbook said
Charm Craft Publishers, Inc.—33 35th St., Brooklyn, N. Y. 11232. Address all general verse, everyday and seasonal, to Verse Editor. Humorous and studio ideas to George Kapitan, Humor and Studio Director. Verses should be concise, yet warm, and should sound sincere, however sentimental they may be. Spring line (Mother’s and Father’s Day, Graduation and Easter); January through June; Christmas, July through September; Valentines; October through December. Everydays may be submitted at any time. Pays $1 per line for verse. For Humor line: humorous applications of situations that relate to the card receiver, and Studio ideas can run the gamut, from conversational to kooky, but must be unique and if possible graphically novel in approach. Pays $15 to $30 per idea for Humor, $20 to $40 per idea for Studio.
In 1990 Kapitan lived in East Northport, New York. At some point he retired to Panama City Beach, Florida. Kapitan passed away on November 27, 1996, in Panama City. He was laid to rest at Pensacola Memorial Gardens. His wife passed away on June 22, 2017.

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Monday, September 7, 2020

Under Cover: Dragonworld

Bantam Books, 1979
Trade paperback
Title font set in ITC Tiffany Black; gold foil stamped
Map by Alex Jay
Calligraphy by Tom Orzechowski

Doubleday Book Club Edition, 1979
Hardcover dust jacket, detail

Bantam Books, 1983
Mass market paperback
I used ITC Novarese Bold for the
title which was printed in silver

German Edition
Marion von Schröder Verlag, 1985
Hardcover dust jacket, detail
Most map calligraphy replaced with type

ibooks, 2000
Trade paperback
Byron Preiss wanted the font used on the 1983 mass
market paperback edition so I told the in-house designer
the font name. The letterspacing is tighter on the mass
market paperback edition.

(Next post on Monday: ACBA Newsletter #21)