Woody Gelman

Woody Gelman

Woody Gelman (1915–1978), the publisher of Nostalgia Press, was also a novelist, cartoonist, an animation and comic book writer-artist and the co-creator of Bazooka Joe for Topps Chewing Gum. He was also a co-creator of "Mars Attacks", adapted into the 1996 movie by Tim Burton. [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0312481/ IMDb] ]

Born Woodrow Gelman, he attended City College of New York, Cooper Union and Pratt Institute before signing on as an assistant animator, in-betweener and scripter with Max Fleischer's studio in 1939, continuing to write for Famous Studios in 1946.

Comic books

Gelman was the creator and writer of "The Dodo and the Frog" series for DC Comics' "Funny Stuff". His comic book work in 1945-46 also included "Nutsy Squirrel" and numerous other funny animal comic books of the 1940s. Also during that decade, he partnered with Ben Solomon on "Popsicle Pete" magazine and other ad campaigns involving cartoon characters. [ [http://www.toonopedia.com/nutsy.htm Toonopedia] ]

From 1953 to the late 1970s, Gelman headed Topps's Product Development Department, working with numerous freelance cartoonists and a staff that included editor Len Brown, gagwriter Stan Hart, visual concept creator Larry Reilly and cartoonist Art Spiegelman. At Topps, Gelman supervised "Wacky Packages", one of the biggest fads of the 1970s, and many other cards, stickers, posters and humor products."Wacky Packages", Abrams, 2008.]

Triple Nickel Books

In 1955, the firm of Solomon & Gelman published a series of 64-page juvenile novelettes. Because they retailed for 15 cents, the line was called Triple Nickel Books. The first Triple Nickel Book was very successful, as it was based on the life of Davy Crockett when Crockett was a national fad. At the same time, they published two other Triple Nickel Books about the adventures of the Power Boys, juvenile fiction in the tradition of the Hardy Boys. At least eight Power Boys adventures were published under the pseudonym Arthur Benwood, a name created by combining the first names of Ben Solomon and Woody Gelman. The line includes "The Secret of Crazy Cavern" (1955), "Riddle of the Sunken Ship" (1955), "Castle of Curious Creatures" (1956) and "Mystery of the Marble Face" (1956). These books are included in the University of South Florida's Special Collections: Tampa Childrens Literature Collection. [ [http://usf.catalog.fcla.edu/sf.jsp?Ntt=benwood&Ntk=Keyword&N=24&Nty=1&S=3J6N5Y3NJ65295MNE2VALTKHB9Y2MGS7Y5G23UEU3J28U1Q36S University of South Florida's Special Collections: Tampa Childrens Literature Collection] ] (The Triple Nickel titles are apparently unrelated to Mel Lyle's later and slightly better-known Power Boys series from the mid-1960s.)

Nostalgia Press

After doing a facsimile reprint of the 1945 "Little Nemo in Slumberland" softcover, with an August Derleth introduction, Gelman began Nostalgia Press in the early 1960s. One of the earliest Nostalgia Press books was "The Picture History of Charlie Chaplin" (1965), designed by Gelman and showcasing a large collection of rare Chaplin memorabilia. [ [http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.com/2006/05/charlie-chaplin.html McDonald, Gerald. "The Picture History of Charlie Chaplin". Nostalgia Press, 1965.] ] In 1960 he was an associate editor of "The American Card Catalog". [ [http://www.oldbaseball.com/refs/burdick.html Vrechek, George. "Jefferson Burdick's Collection and the American Card Catalog: The Greatest Collection That You Will Never See."] ] Other work by Gelman appears in "Wacky Packages", published by Abrams in 2008.

The first Nostalgia Press hardcover was "Flash Gordon" (1967), a reprint of Alex Raymond comic strips, and this book had a follow-up utilizing "Flash Gordon" proof sheets supplied to Gelman by the artist Al Williamson.

Two years later, he compiled art by Charles Dana Gibson for "The Best of Charles Dana Gibson" (Bounty Books, 1969), with accompanying biographical material and an introduction by Gelman.

In the 1970s, Gelman moved into yet another area, publishing a magazine, "Nostalgia". The publication was mainly devoted to reprints of comic strips,


In 1971 he was honored by the Academy of Comic Book Arts with Recognition for Preservation and Popularization of Comic Art.


External links

* [http://booksteveslibrary.blogspot.com/2006/05/charlie-chaplin.html Steven Thompson's Booksteve's Library: Selected pages from "The Picture History of Charlie Chaplin"]
* [http://www.wackypackages.org/ Wacky Packages Web Pages]
* [http://www.foxall.com.au/users/mje/Lyle.htm Michael Edwards on the Lyle/Gelman connections]

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