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Subject: Sam Glanzman, Cartoonist

Dead at 93
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Date Posted: Wednesday, July 12, 11:45:27am

Sam Glanzman, R.I.P.
Published Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 10:39 AM

Sam Glanzman, whose career in comics spanned more than 75 years, died early this morning at the age of 93. He had been in hospice care since he took a bad fall and his friend Drew Ford was running a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to cover medical bills for Sam and for Mrs. Glanzman. I'll direct you to that page after I tell you a little more about Sam.

Glanzman got into comics in 1939, joining his brothers David and Louis who were also artists in the formative years of the industry. Like his brothers, he worked at first for Funnies, Inc., an agency that commissioned comic book stories and art and then sold that material to publishers. Sam's early artwork and some writing he did seem to have appeared first in the pages of comics published by a short-lived firm called Centaur. His drawing can be seen in Amazing-Man Comics, Amazing Man having been created by Bill Everett who would soon be better known for The Sub-Mariner. Glanzman worked for other publishers (especially Harvey) but his career was interrupted by World War II.

He served in the Navy, mainly aboard the destroyer U.S.S. Stevens, before being discharged in 1946. Upon his return to civilian life, he decided there was better money to be made in other fields and pursued them. He worked in aviation yards, lumber mills and other jobs that required manual labor but occasionally detoured in and out of comics, either on his own or assisting his brother Louis, who went by the name, Lew Glanzman. Around 1958, Sam dove back into comics full-time, working for two of the lowest-paying companies around — Charlton and then Dell.

His most notable series for Charlton was probably Jungle Tales of Tarzan, a series unauthorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate which put a quick end to it. Two other well-remembered series were "The Lonely War of Willie Schultz," a well-written (by Willy Franz) series that ran in Fightin' Army. Its human insights stood out among the hundreds of war comics before and after. He also with writer Joe Gill gave us Hercules: Adventures of the Man-God, which put a fresh, distinctive spin on a very old legend.

For Dell, he drew many comics but is best remembered for Kona, Monarch of Monster Isle, about a man struggling to survive on a lost island full of dinosaurs. It and other fine works of the sixties finally caught the attention of the better-paying companies and Glanzman began doing most of his work for DC on its war comics. He did long stints on "The Haunted Tank" and other features but his finest work was on a series of short, autobiographical stories he wrote and drew under the banner title, "The U.S.S. Stevens." He later did other stories of his World War II experiences including a superb 1987 graphic novel called A Sailor's Story. Much of this work has been reprinted for an appreciative audience.

I had the pleasure — and believe me, it was — of having Sam on a panel at the 1999 Comic-Con International where he also received its precious Inkpot Award. I saw him at other conventions and he was always glad to talk about his long career; that is, when he wasn't servicing a long line of people who wanted to get his autograph and to tell them how much they loved Kona or Hercules Jonah Hex or any of the other fine, testosterone-loaded comics he drew. He seemed very humble and even a bit amazed that he was able to make a living so long in comics.

As mentioned, Drew Ford is running a GoFundMe page to raise bucks to pay medical bills for the Glanzmans. Though Sam has left us, I'm sure many bills remain and you can show your appreciation for 75+ years of very hard work drawing piles of very good comics by going to that page and participating. And if you're not familiar with that work, see if you can't track down some of it. Here's a tip: Though Sam handed mythic legends like Tarzan and Hercules, his best comics were the ones about the most heroic figure he drew…Sam Glanzman.


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