Monday, September 19, 2022

Comics: Bob Lander, Letterer and Inker

Bob Lander was born Robert Charles Cohen on August 15, 1920, in Jersey City, New Jersey, according to his World War II draft card. However, census records had Charles as his first name. He was the second of three children born to Jacob Cohen and Rose Frank who married on January 21, 1917 in Brooklyn. 

In the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Lander’s parents and sister were Brooklyn residents at 120 Grove Street. His father was a bookkeeper at a cigar manufacturer. 

The 1925 New York state census recorded the Cohen family of five in Brooklyn at 699 East New York Avenue. 

According to the 1930 census, the Cohen family resided at 971 47th Street in Brooklyn. 

In Alter Ego #90, December 2009, Leon Lazarus was interviewed by Jim Amash. (Pages 48 and 54 have photographs of Lander.) Lazarus said “Bob Landers* was my brother Harry’s brother-in-law. I had known him since I was 17.” On Christmas day 1938, Lander’s older sister, Evelyn, married Harry Joseph Lazarus, the middle brother of Sidney and Leon, who all worked in comics at various times. 

The 1940 census said Lander, his parents and younger sister, Adele, lived in Brooklyn at 356 Clifton Place. This location is about two-and-a-half miles west of Bushwick High School which Lander may have attended. He had some college education. Lander’s occupation was a record clerk at a shirt factory. He earned $480 working 32 weeks in 1939.

On February 15, 1942, Lander signed his World War II draft card. His Brooklyn address was 4307 12th Avenue. At the time he was unemployed. His description was five feet nine inches, 155 pounds, with brown hair and green eyes. It’s not known if he served during the war. 

On September 21, 1943, Lander and Hadassah Cohen obtained a marriage license. They married on September 26 in Manhattan. Lazarus’ wife, Marjorie, said Lander “met his wife while trying to become an actor.” Lazarus said Lander “landed a walk-on part in the movie Stage Door Canteen.”

Noted on Lander’s draft card was the date, February 15, 1946, when his surname was updated from Cohen to Lander.

In 1946 Lander was employed at Timely Comics where he was a letterer. He was credited in two issues of Terry Toons, numbers 47 and 48. Information about his art training has not been found.

Terry Toons #47, August 1946

In an interview at Timely-Atlas-Comics, Allen Bellman said “Bob Landers* was a letterer who sat opposite me. There was a time that the office did not have air-conditioning and I always sat next to the window. Bob used to open it all the time and the wind blew in my ear constantly and caused my Bell’s Palsy.” 

Some of Lander’s comics credits are at the Grand Comics Database. (Please note, fourteen-year-old Lander did not contribute to New Fun #2, March 1935.) Who’s Who of American Comics Books 1928–1999 also has credits. 

Lander’s address in the 1950 census was 1346 Grant Avenue, apartment 2E, in the Bronx. He was a freelance artist with a wife and two daughters. Lazarus said “He was a very good letterer who taught me how to letter, and he was also an inker. When Timely let us all go, he left comics. Later on, he went to work for Esso, which is now Exxon. Before either Bob or I was married, we used to double-date. He had two daughters.” 

According to Florida records at, Lander divorced Hadassah and married Charliann A. Ronson Young in August 1959. This was her second marriage, too. How Lander met Young could be explained in the 1957 Manhattan, New York City directory. Lander and Young (listed under her maiden name Ronson) resided one block from each other on West 21st Street. He was at building number 473 and she at 328.

The Catalog of Copyright Entries, Third Series, Volume 23, Parts 7–11A, Number 1, World of Art, January–June 1969 had an entry for someone who might be Lander. 
Lander, Robert.
Chessboard and full complement of chess pieces. [Abstract figures] Plaster & wood. Appl. ti.: Chess game, board and 6 pieces. © Robert Lander; 28Jan69; GP61679.
Standard Oil Company published a company magazine called The Lamp. The Winter 1971 issue included a photograph by Lander. A map by Lander appeared in a 1977 issue. 

In 1974 Lander and his wife were registered voters in Manhattan according to the Board of Elections in the City of New York

Charliann passed away on May 29, 1990. She was a World War II veteran who served from February 28, 1943 to March 21, 1946. The Social Security Death Index said her last residence was East Hampton, New York. 

Lander passed away on October 29, 2003. The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

* All documentation had Lander as the surname. Lazarus and Bellman called him Landers.

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(Next post on Monday: Comic Book Trademarks, Part 13)

Monday, September 12, 2022

Comics: Artist Lily Renée in the 1940s and Early 1950s

Lily Renée Willheim was born on May 12, 1921, in Vienna, Austria, according to her Declaration of Intention naturalization application at Lily’s parents were Rudolph Willheim (1891–1958) and Else (Elsa) Goldstein (1895–1973). 

Trina Robbins’ interview with Lily was published in The Comics Journal, November 29, 2006. Lily talked about her early life and explained how her parents came to America. 

Lilys overseas travel was documented on a passenger list. She was 18 years old and aboard the steamship MV Georgic which departed Liverpool, England on January 30, 1940. She arrived in the port of New York on February 11, 1940. According the passenger list, Lily had been staying at Bloomsbury House. Her destination was 205 West 87 Street, New York, New York, where her father resided. 

Lily is on line seven.

The 1940 United States Census recorded Lily and her father at 129 West 86th Street, Manhattan, New York City. He was a bank bookkeeper and she an artist. The whereabouts of her mother is not known.

On July 3, 1940 Lily began the naturalization process when she filed a Declaration of Intention. 

Lily’s comics career started in 1942. 

Lily and Ernest Siegfried Meyer obtained a Manhattan marriage license on November 18, 1944. They married on November 23, 1944. The marriage ended in divorce. Meyer was born on January 5, 1914, in Langenfield, Germany. He passed away February 28, 1994, in New York. 

Lily became a naturalized citizen on September 6, 1945. 

In 1946 she married Eric Andrew Peters in New Jersey. Earlier he had married Susanne Stierstadt on January 5, 1940 in Queens, New York. The 1940 census said he was self-employed cartoonist (who contributed to Colliers and The Saturday Evening Post). Peters was born on May 12, 1899 in Vienna, Austria (World War II draft card) and passed away in September 1979.  

The 1950 census said Lily and Peters lived at 143-50 Hoover Avenue in Queens, New York. Both were freelance artists working in the magazine field. In 1952 their divorce was finalized in Dade County, Florida. 

In 1953 Lily married Randolph Godfrey Phillips in Manhattan, New York City. The couple were issued license number 15407 on June 23, 1953; see pages 1267 for Phillips and 1720 for Lily. During World War II Phillips served in the Army. Lily and Phillips had a daughter and son. Phillips’ obituary was published in the New York Daily News, October 12, 1982 (below), and Columbia College Today, Spring 1983. 
Randolph Godfrey Phillips, 71, a financial consultant who challenged some of the nation’s largest corporations on behalf of their stockholders, died Sunday at Lenox Hill Hospital after a long illness. 

Though not a lawyer, Phillips once argued in front of the United States Supreme Court and in 1977 unsuccessfully sued the Justice Department in an effort to nullify President Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon.

A financial reporter for the New York Herald Tribune and New York World-Telegram in the 1930s, and later a speechwriter for New York Gov. Thomas E. Dewey, Phillips was graduated from Columbia University in 1931. He is survived by his wife and two children. 
Lily passed away on August 24, 2022, in New York City.

Further Reading
The New York Times, September 14, 2022, Lily Renée Phillips, Pioneering Comic Book Artist, Dies at 101 
Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book PioneerTrina Robbins, Illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh, Graphic Universe, 2011
Fritz Ascher, Lily Renée (1921–2022): From Refugee to Renown
In My Not So Humble Opinion, Happy 100th birthday to Lily Renée
The Times of Israel, Overlooked Jewish female artist from comics’ golden age escaped real WWII peril 
Alter Ego, #70, July 2007, “Lily Renée at Fiction House—and Beyond”
Digital Comic Museum, Fiction HouseAbbott and Costello Comics
Newsweek, August 8, 2010 (print edition), “A Real-Life Comic Book Superhero”

(Next post on Monday: Bob Lander, Letterer and Inker)