Born: 1915 June 8 in Chicago, Illinois, United States

Died: 1978 February 9 in Valley Stream, New York, United States

Biography: Woody Gelman was a publisher, cartoonist, novelist and an artist-writer for both animation and comic books. As the publisher of Nostalgia Press, he pioneered the reprinting of vintage comic strips in quality hardcovers and trade paperbacks.

Gelman was the creator and writer of funny-animal feature "The Dodo and the Frog" for DC Comics. His comic book work from 1944 to 1954 included Nutsy Squirrel and other funny animal comic books of the 1940s, including Funny Stuff and Comic Cavalcade.

In 1945, Gelman teamed with Ben Solomon to form a New York advertising art service, Solomon & Gelman, to create advertising campaigns involving cartoon characters, such as their Popsicle Pete magazine and ads for the Popsicle company and Bazooka Joe for Topps.

In the autumn of 1951, Gelman and Sy Berger designed the 1952 Topps baseball card set on the kitchen table of Berger's apartment.

From 1953 to the late 1970s, Gelman headed Topps's Product Development Department, working with a staff that included associate creative director Len Brown, gagwriter Stan Hart, visual concept creator Larry Reilly, writer-cartoonists Art Spiegelman and Bhob Stewart, and designer-cartoonist Rick Varesi. Gelman assigned work to numerous freelance cartoonists, including Jack Davis, Mort Drucker, Jay Lynch, Bob Powell, John Severin, Tom Sutton, Basil Wolverton and Wally Wood. Beginning in 1967, Gelman supervised Wacky Packages, one of the biggest fads of the 1970s, and he was responsible for devising many other Topps cards, stickers, posters and humor products over decades.

After doing a facsimile reprint of the 1945 Little Nemo in Slumberland softcover, Gelman began Nostalgia Press in the early 1960s (see https://www.comics.org/publisher/325/).

In the 1970s, Gelman began publishing a magazine, Nostalgia, mainly devoted to reprints of comic strips. He also published his Golden Age of the Comics series, reprinting such strips as Mandrake the Magician, Terry and the Pirates and Thimble Theatre. He died of a stroke in 1978.

Notes: Gelman’s signature in Ha Ha Comics #8 was misread as “Gordie Heiman” (http://bailsprojects.com/bio.aspx?Name=HEIMAN%2C+GORDIE).

To be confirmed against the Who's Who entry.


Name:

    Woody Gelman Type: Common Alternative Name
    Given name: Woody Family name: Gelman

Other Names:

  1. Woodrow Wilson Gelman Type: Name at Birth
    Given name: Woodrow Wilson Family name: Gelman

Schools:

  1. Cooper Union School of Art [NYC] ? to ?

  2. Pratt Institute [Brooklyn] ? to ?

  3. City College of the City University of New York (CUNY) ? to ?


Signatures:

  1. Woody Gelman [generic]

Awards:

  1. 1971: Shazam Award - Recognition for Preservation and Popularization of Comic Art

Art Influences:

Woody Gelman (b. 1915) stated influences by:
  1. Edmund DuLac
  2. René Bull
  3. Hal Foster (b. 1892)
  4. Winsor McCay (b. 1869)

Relations:

  1. Employee of - Sangor Studio (b. 1940)
    Notes: Gelman did pencil and ink work for the studio from 1943 to 1945.