A trio of deaths to start the year.
Comics Reporter mention the death yesterday of Italian artist, Tiberio Colantuoni, who created the Italian feature Bongo and worked for Disney and many other publishers.
Colantuoni was trained as a ceramics painter and worked in that field as a teacher before moving into comics in the mid-1950s, initially attending a separate school in Milan to help enable that transition and learning some of the technical basics from Benito Jacovitti. Turning down a position working in ceramics art, in 1954 Colantuoni enjoyed the professional breakthrough that led to his long career.
Mark Evanier reports the death of Robert Schaefer, an extremely prolific TV and comics writer:
Their first sale was a teleplay for The Gene Autry Show and they soon followed it up with sales to The Adventures of Kit Carson, Tales of the Texas Rangers, Maverick, Whirlybirds, Texas John Slaughter, Zorro, 77 Sunset Strip, The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, Buffalo Bill Jr and many more. It was through their Gene Autry connection that Schaefer and Freiwald hooked up with Western Publishing Company and began writing at first the Gene Autry comic books, then comics of all kinds, including the Dell Comics versions of most of the TV shows on which they were concurrently working. Between 1957 and 1965, they wrote approximately a comic book per week for Western, including many issues of Rawhide, Gunsmoke, Maverick, Zorro, Laramie, Lassie, The Real McCoys, The Restless Gun, Roy Rogers, Sea Hunt, Sugarfoot, Spin and Marty, Wagon Train, Ricky Nelson, Rin Tin Tin, Wyatt Earp and many more. They authored many of the comic book adaptations of Disney movies (The Parent Trap, The Shaggy Dog, The Absent-Minded Professor, etc.) and even dabbled occasionally in scripts for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. Several of the early issues of the classic Magnus, Robot Fighter comic book were authored by Schaefer and Freiwald.
ICv2 has a brief report on the death of long-time retailer Clyde Durkee.