Don and Mell were personal friends, both gone now. Quite often I stayed up until the wee hours drinking with Mell. (It was one of those times about four AM when I painted the moustache on the portrait of the King of Norway) I first met Mell in 1987 in Denver. What a great guy, and very smart. He married a gal named Sally Mitchell, also a wonderful person. She was a lawyer in San Francisco, and one time she got a bunch of my single panel originals back from the National Lampoon. They were trying to steal them. When you submitted cartoons to magazines you gave them a bunch, and they might choose one or two to publish. Reputable magazines returned all the originals. One exception was Penthouse. The editor’s name was Bill Lee. He’s not held in high regard by any cartoonist whom I knew who had dealings with him. One reason was that he kept all the originals that they published. He was also, in my opinion, a real creep. The last time I heard from him, he called me up to insult me. Swine. As for the National Lampoon problem, it was after the franchise had been sold to some new group. I was publishing Ernie at the time and they called me up to ask for cartoons. As a favor, I didn’t need the money, I sent them a bunch of originals. They refused to return them for about three years until Sally Mitchell threatened to sue them. A bunch of shits. Another bunch of shits was the National Review. That’s the magazine started by William F. Buckley. I’m sure that he personally wasn’t aware of what was happening. Several of my fellow cartoonists complained that the magazine wasn’t returning their originals. Remember back then we didn’t have email or cheap reproductions of our work to submit. Many cartoonists with contracts or established reputations would submit roughs only to be completed upon approval. But not all were like that, so if a magazine didn’t want them it was very necessary to have your cartoons returned. I lived in Washington D.C., so I volunteered to go ask for the cartoons back. I went into one guy’s office. I could see a box of what looked like drawings on the floor. He just laughed at me. What a bunch of swines.
I want to correct yesterday’s answer:
I omitted Will Eisner, One of the very great illustrative cartoonists there ever was. (The other two I truly admired were Burne Hogarth, whom I met, and Hal Foster) I just didn’t recognize him. I only met him once. I still have a Spirit comic book that I bought many years ago.
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