Thomas John “Tom” Palmer was born on July 13, 1941, in Queens, New York, New York, according to the New York, New York Birth Index at Ancestry.com. His parents were Leo Palmer and Frances Maute who obtained a marriage license on October 10, 1929 in Queens. In the 1940 U. S. Census, his parents and brother, William, resided in Queens at 71-64 72nd Place. His father was a contractor.
Palmer’s father signed his World War II draft card on April 26, 1942. His address was 71-17 72nd Street, Glendale, Long Island, New York. He worked at the Star Showcase Company in Brooklyn.
The 1950 census counted Palmer, his parents and brother in Queens at the same address on the draft card. Palmer’s father did architectural drafting; his mother was an envelope machine operator; and his brother delivered newspapers.
The Ridgewood Times (New York), September 10, 1953, reported the passing of Palmer’s father.
Leo Palmer, of 71-17 72nd St., Glendale, September 2. Husband of Frances; father of Frances Mohan, Emily Barragry, Joseph, Raymond, John, William and Thomas Palmer; also survived by 7 grandchildren. Funeral held Saturday from George Werst Funeral Home with mass at St. Pancras R. C. Church. Interment St, John’s Cemetery.
The Long Island Star-Journal (Long Island City, New York), June 30, 1955, said Palmer graduated from Public School 119 in Glendale.
In June 1959 Palmer graduated from Newtown High School in Elmhurst, New York. He was on the Lantern school newspaper art staff.
The Newtowner, June 1959
The Comics Journal published an interview with Palmer on October 21, 2015. Palmer said he attended evening classes at the School of Visual Arts and the Frank J. Reilly School of Art. He also explained how he got into comics. An excerpt from his obituary said
He got his first big break in 1968 when he landed an assignment for Marvel Comics' Doctor Strange series. After pencilling one issue, Tom was asked to shift his talents to inking. The new penciller for the series was Gene Colan, an artist known for fully-rendered pencil art that was notoriously difficult to ink. Tom wasn't intimidated and applied techniques he learned in art school and various ad agencies to bring a lush, illustrative quality to the finished art.
Palmer’s credits are at the Grand Comics Database and Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Some of his work can be viewed at Heritage Auctions.
The New York, New York Marriage License, at Ancestry.com, said Palmer and Ann Louise Tienken obtained a Queens marriage license in 1965.
In the mid-1970s, Palmer moved to Oakland, New Jersey.
The Glendale Register (New York), February 8, 1979, reported the passing of Palmer’s mother.
Frances PalmerMass of Christian Burial was offered at St. Pancras R.C. Church. Interment followed in St. John’s Cemetery, under, the direction of the George Werst Funeral Home, Inc., 71-41 Cooper Ave.Mrs. Palmer died on Jan. 31st. She leaves two sons, William and Thomas; two daughters. Frances Mohan and Sister Emily Palmer OSM; one sister, Anna Hutter; one brother, Conrad Maute; fourteen grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Mrs. Palmer was a resident of Glendale.
Palmer passed away on August 18, 2022, in Oakland, New Jersey. An obituary is here.
Further Reading and Viewing
Comics Book Artist #3, Winter 1999, The Art of Inking Neal Adams
(Next post on Monday: Trylon and Perisphere Variations)