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Craig, Chase (1910-2002) | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Craig, Chase (1910-2002)

Historical Note:

W. Chase Craig (1910-2002) illustrated, wrote, and produced comic books from the mid 1930s until his retirement from Western Printing and Lithography in 1975. He graduated from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1934, and soon started working for the Christian Science Monitor, where he drew the Little Chauncey cartoon. The following year he moved to Hollywood, CA where he started as assistant animator on Oswald Rabbit for Walter Lantz. In the mid to late 1930s, Craig worked for Tex Avery, then moved to the Los Angeles Daily News to help on the Charlie McCarthy newspaper strip. He developed and sold the syndicated strip, Odd Bodkins, joining Western Publishing soon after. In 1942, Craig enlisted in the US Navy. During the war he worked at the Navy's "Vine Street Press" drawing illustrations for aviator training manuals. In 1950, he became an editor at Western Printing and Lithography, rising to Managing Editor and Executive Editor.

Western started a line of comic books that they would produce and print, and that Dell Publishing would publish. Craig wrote and drew the first issues of Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, and Merrie Melodies for the company. Western's Los Angeles office issued comics based on Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz, MGM, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Hanna-Barbera characters, and popular TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s. Dell split off from Western in 1962, and Western became the parent company of Gold Key and Whitman comics. Gold Key comics licensed many characters from Warner Bros., Disney, and Walter Lantz. The Whitman logo occasionally appears on some issues of Gold Key titles. Western ceased publishing comics in 1984.

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