Monday, May 3, 2021

Comics: Milton Cohen, Artist and Letterer

Milton Cohen was born on May 3, 1920, in Brooklyn, New York, according to his World War II draft card. His parents were Samuel Cohen and Jennie Heid who married in 1919.

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Cohen’s parents were living in the household of his maternal grandfather, Israel Heid. Cohen’s father was a shoe salesman. They all lived in Brooklyn at 1846 Pitkin Avenue.

Cohen’s father became a naturalized citizen on November 20, 1925. He was born on July 10, 1898 in Grodna, Russia. On February 12, 1914 he arrived in New York City. His address was 1498 Pitkin Avenue in Brooklyn.

The 1930 census recorded Cohen, his parents and younger brother, Irving, in Brooklyn at 202 East 91 Street. Cohen’s father was a merchant.

According to the 1940 census, Cohen was an illustrator who earned two-hundred dollars working 26 weeks on a religious project for the National Youth Administration. He had completed one year of college. Cohen lived with his parents in Brooklyn at 324 Howard Avenue. That address was not far from Thomas Jefferson High School which Cohen may have attended.

On July 1, 1941 Cohen signed his World War II draft card. His address was unchanged. Cohen’s description was five feet eight inches, 165 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. His employer was Alfred Harvey, who was publishing comic books produced at 67 West 44th Street. Cohen’s artwork may have appeared in Champ Comics, Pocket Comics, and Speed Comics.

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Cohen was an artist and letterer at the Iger Studio in the early 1940s. In Alter Ego #34, March 2004, Jim Amash interviewed Al Grenet who remembered Cohen as a letterer the Iger Studio.
The Comics Journal #191, November 1996, published an interview with Carmine Infantino who talked about working at Holyoke Publishing.
… We did just a few books. It was myself and a couple of other people — there was a letterer there named Milton Cohen. This fellow Cohen had somehow gotten friendly with Lou Fine and he did a strip called The Cisco Kid for Lou. He tried, but he could never sell it. I don’t know why, it was a beautiful strip.
The Grand Comics Database (GCD) has a note about Cisco Kid Comics #1, Winter 1944.
This story (c) M.C, which is said to stand for Milton Cohen. Cohen was a letterer, inker and occasional penciler, who was also known to be an artist’s agent. It is not known what role Cohen played for this story, writer, agent, etc.
The GCD lists a few of Cohen’s comics credits here. In Air Fighters Comics #10, July 1943, Cohen inked the Sky Wolf story which was drawn by Dan Barry. Their names are on the left side near the bottom. 

Cohen was mentioned as a freelancer in Black Light: The World of L.B. Cole (2015).
 … Freelancers were plentiful. All he had to do was call up some former co-workers, and the word would spread. If he needed more, he would take out an ad in the New York City newspapers, and he would have his pick from a large group of respondents. Some of the artists who worked in the L.B. Cole Studio were Nina Albright, Jack Alderman, Gerald Altman, George Appel, Marc Borgatta, Milton Cohen, Maurice Del Bourgo, Tony Di Preta, Bob Fujitani, John Giunta, Carmine Infantino, and Gil Kane. Most of them had worked for other shops: the Iger Studio, Funnies, Inc. (Lloyd Jacquet), Bernard Baily, the Binder Studio, et al., through the 1940s …
What became of Cohen is a mystery. Today is his 101st birthday.
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(Next post on Monday: The 1928 Gopher Yearbook)

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