Sheldon Mayer's comic career is among the most varied of the 20th century.
While a teen, he was an assistant to Maxwell C. Gaines, the man who, a few 19th century flirtations aside, was the first American to reformat newspaper comic strips into pamphlet form and sell them as stand-alones on newsstands. Mayer's job was to actually perform the physical act of performing this "re-formatting". As the person responsible for finalizing the printing plates, he was sometimes able to slip his own cartoons into print--typically when the book was running a bit short. He sometimes submitted his work to the young DC Comics, making him among the very first contributors of original material to American comic books.
When Gaines entered into the partnership with Jack Liebowitz that created All American Publications, the new company began publishing a new book All-American Comics
. Because the book solicited original material, Mayer's title and responsibilities morphed into that of a full editor. He used his relationships at DC and All-American to attract the best talent of the age. Consequently, a book whose first few issues tended to feature cartoon characters that had originally appeared in newspapers, soon was introducing a number of powerful new comic heroes that survive to this day.
was being published in conjunction with DC, those characters, like Dr. Midnite and Green Lantern, were (and are still today) easily considered a part of the DCU. This was made official in 1945 when Gaines sold most of his titles to DC.
After the sale of All-American, Mayer stayed on with the new, merged DC--but reverted to the cartoon genre. His versatility was perhaps best exemplified in Funny Stuff
#5 (Summer, 1945), in which he became one of the few comics creators of the 20th century to completely create an issue. This is all the more impressive considering it was a multi-story, multi-character issue, as was common in the Golden Age.
By 1948, however, he tired of his editing duties, and relinquished them in favor of a complete return to cartooning. He continued this for many years, finally hitting upon Sugar & Spike
. Though it was by no means his only output for the next couple of decades, there is no doubt that this title, which ran from 1956 to 1971 is the one part of his legacy that most modern comic fans would've had a chance to hold in their hands. It's probably, therefore, the one that a majority of fans would most associate with him.
The title would have probably continued past 1971 had not his eyesight failed, forcing him to return almost exclusively to writing. During the early-mid 1970s, he mostly wrote for DC's fantasy/horror line, and even created the superhero, The Black Orchid. Though the character was never extremely popular, she was at least interesting. No less than Neil Gaiman attempt to resurrect her in the 1980s.
When his sight was returned later in the 1970s, he tried unsuccessfuly to resurrect Sugar & Spike
. He also worked on a number of the tabloid-sized comics that were common of DC's output in the 1970s. By the 1980s, he had mostly retired.
Date of Birth:
1 April 1917
New York, New York
Date of death:
21 December 1991Website: http://www.geocities.com/sm_scribbly/ Favorite Creators:
Sheldon Mayer is a favorite creator of 2 usersAwards:
- 1992 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1996 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1999 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 2000 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Hall of Fame: (Judges' choice)