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Friday October 22, 2010 10:47 pm

Irwin Hasen: A New York Story




Posted by Tom Mason Categories: Editorials, Interviews, DC Comics,

DondiArtist Irwin Hasen was the co-creator (with writer Gus Edson) of the long-running comic strip Dondi, the poor little orphan boy who never aged in his 30+ year run (1955-1986).

But Hasen’s career goes back to 1940 when he started in comic books, drawing for Harry "A" Chesler’s shop. His later work includes Green Lantern, Justice Society and Johnny Thunder for DC and he’s credited with creating one of my favorite old-school DC characters, Wildcat.

Now he’s the subject of a new documentary: Irwin: A New York Story that’s debuting as part of FilmColumbia in up in Columbia County (about two hours north of NYC) this weekend, October 24 at 1 pm at the Morris Memorial Theater.

The doc is from first time filmmaker Dan Makara who “lets Irwin tell us directly the often poignant story of his own version of the American Dream.” But it’s far from just a guy talking while sitting in a chair. The film is packed with “archival photos, clips, animation, as well as interviews with Irwin's friends, including Jules Feiffer, Paul Levitz of D.C. Comics and writer Roy Thomas.”

I think it's great to see interviews with the talented folks who made comics back in the day, and I encourage people with cameras to do this sort of thing more often. Comics history fades fast, and it would be fascinating to hear more from the folks who were there in the early days.

Hasen is still active into his 90s. In 2009, Vanguard Publishing released Loverboy, his “dramatized biography.”

Graphic NYC has a great interview with Hasen from 2009

The Twomorrows website has an interview with Hasen from Alter Ego V. 3 #1, conducted by Roy Thomas by phone in 1998. Lots of insights and memories from the comic book business in the 1940s.

Thanks to Danny Fingeroth at MoCCA for the link to FilmColumbia! (Danny also served as a consultant on the documentary.)

[Artwork: Dondi by Hasen]

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