Word is going around on Facebook today that Dondi co-creator Irwin Hasen has passed away at the ripe old age of 96. Hasen was best known for Dondi, a comic strip tale of a WW II orphan who brings joy to the live of those around him. The strip was turned into a movie in 1961. He was presented with an Eisner Award last year.
Born in 1918 New York City, Hasen studied at the Art Student’s League and then drew comics for the Harry “A” Chesler Studio, with art on titles including The Green Hornet and The Fox. He also worked for DC before the war, creating the character Wildcat along the way. An Army veteran, Hasen ran the newspaper for the Fort Dix army base. Upon returning to domestic life, he took up comics again, with work on the JSA, The Flash and Green Lantern, before getting in to the syndicated comics Dondi, which was co-created by Gus Edson.
Hasen was a very familiar figure at conventions over the decades, his signature ascot and safari jacket giving him a boyish air despite his age. In 2009 he published a memoir called Loverboy An Irwin Hasen Story PB which depicted him as quite the ladies man in his prime—and perhaps a bit beyond it.
Hasen was a gentle sweet man much liked by those on the con circuit. My condolences to his friends and family.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.