While the name Sheldon Moldoff may not immediately ring any bells for all but the hardcore of comic fans, his work is probably known to everyone, and his influence and input into DC comics cannot be underestimated as his career spanned almost every first appearance of the most famous DC creations ever known.
Moldoff sold his first cartoon drawing at age 17, and spent his formative years in comic books doing filler pages for National Periodicals, Detective Comics Inc. All-American Comics, the three companies that eventually merged to form the modern-day DC Comics. His first professional comic book work was a sports filler page, called ‘Odds ‘N Ends’, for the inside back cover of Action Comics #1 in 1938, the comic book that introduced Superman.
During the late-1930s and 1940s he became a prolific cover artist for the future DC Comics, including the first cover of the Golden Age Green Lantern, on issue #16 (July 1940) of All-American’s flagship title All-American Comics, featuring the debut of that character.
Sheldon also drew the cover for the first appearances of The Flash in Flash Comics #1 and worked on Sensation Comics #1, which featured the origin story of Wonder Woman, and All-Star Comics #3, the first appearance of the Justice Society of America.
He became one of the earliest artists for the character Hawkman, drawing the character in Flash Comics #4-61 from 1940-1945, and drew the first image of the formerly civilian character Shiera Sanders in costume as Hawkgirl in All Star Comics #5.
In 1953, Moldoff became one of the primary Batman ghost artists who drew stories credited to Bob Kane, where his contributions to Batman were substantial. He was the character’s primary penciler during the mid-1950s and through much of the Silver Age, handling pencils on the Batman feature in Detective Comics on most issues from 1953 to 1968, and in Batman on most issues from 1954-1968.
It was during this time that he co-created Batman super villains Poison Ivy, Clayface, and Mr. Freeze, as well as Batwoman, Batgirl, Ace the Bat Hound, and Bat- Mite.
When superhero comics went out of fashion, Moldoff became an early pioneer in horror comics including This Magazine Is Haunted, Tales of the Supernatural, Worlds of Fear, and Strange Suspense Stories.
After being let go by DC in 1967, Sheldon turned to film production and animation, including Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse, and Marco Polo Junior Versus the Red Dragon which was Australia’s first animated feature film released in 1972. The story was extended and rewritten by Moldoff and re- released as Marco Polo: Return to Xanadu in 2002. He also continued to write and draw promotional comic books for Big Boy and Red Lobster restaurants, Blockbuster Video and others.
With the passing of Sheldon Moldoff there’s now no one left who was involved with Action Comics #1, which some people call the most important comic book ever published – the comic that introduced Superman to the world.
Sheldon Moldoff – R.I.P.