1935 animation newsletter with caricature of Carl Wessler at work on Musical Memories
|Born||Carroll O. Wessler
May 25, 1913
|Died||April 9, 1989
Carroll O. Wessler (May 25, 1913 - April 9, 1989), better known as Carl Wessler, was an American animator of the 1930s and a comic book writer from the 1940s though the 1970s for such companies as DC Comics, EC Comics, Marvel Comics and Warren Publishing.
Early life and career
Wessler began as an animator in the 1930s, working on Musical Memories and other theatrical cartoon shorts for the Fleischer Studio in New York City. The studio fired him on March 30, 1937, for labor union organizing; after a subsequent strike by studio staff, lasting from May 7 to October 13 of that year, the studio settled, and Wessler and others were rehired. Wessler followed Flesicher when it relocated to Florida the following year.
While continuing to work as an animator, Wessler began doing freelance art for comic books in 1943, through the studio Sangor-Hughes, a packager that produced outsourced comics for publishers entering the then-new medium. Wessler returned to New York when Flesicher relocated as Famous Studios, and he segued full-time into comics during this 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of Comic Books. Due to much of his work going unsigned, in the manner of the times, comprehensive credits are difficult to ascertain; Wessler's earliest confirmed credits are as a cartoonist writing and drawing such funny animal features as "Snazzy Rabbit" and "Senorita Juanita McMouse" in Croydon Publishing/Rural Home Publishing's Laffy-Daffy Comics #1 (Feb. 1945). He also wrote and drew the humorous feature "Happy Daze" in at least two issues of Lev Gleason Publications' Daredevil in 1951.
Atlas and EC
Wessler began writing for Atlas Comics in November 1950 when he turned in the six-page story "The Mad Monk" about the historical figure Grigori Rasputin, published in Amazing Detective Cases #6 (May 1951). He soon became Atlas' primary crime fiction writer, often scripting entire issues of All-True Crime, Amazing Detective Cases, Crime Can't Win, Crime Exposed, Crime Must Lose, Justice and Kent Blake of the Secret Service. Going on staff in 1952, he became a member of the Atlas bullpen with fellow writers Hank Chapman, Ernie Hart, Paul S. Newman, Don Rico and, on teen-humor comics, future Mad cartoonist Al Jaffee. Wessler wrote horror/fantasy stories for such titles as Adventures into Terror, Adventures into Weird Worlds, Astonishing, Mystic and Suspense, later adding to his body of work such war comics as Battle, Battle Action, Battlefield, Combat and Men's Adventures.
In 1953, EC Comics—which in the 1950s produced a number of horror and dramatic titles later considered to be classics of the field—recruited Wessler, Jack Oleck, Daniel Keyes and other writers. Wessler contributed a large number of stories to EC's famed horror titles Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror—writing the entirety of Tales from the Crypt #45 (Jan. 1955), for instance, with the artists including such luminaries as Graham Ingels, Jack Davis, Jack Kamen and Bernard Krigstein. He wrote as well for EC's Aces High, Crime SuspenStories, Impact, Piracy, Shock SuspenStories and Weird Science-Fantasy.
Following the demise of EC in the wake of the newly formed Comics Code Authority's crackdown on graphically violent comic books, Wessler returned to Atlas in late 1955 as a freelance writer. There he scripted science fiction/fantasy stories for Mystic and, prolifically, World of Fantasy. His last Atlas work appeared in issue #15 of the latter, cover-dated December 1958.
Wessler next wrote for Harvey Comics, home of Casper the Friendly Ghost and other children's characters, remaining there through the early 1970s. As well, in the 1960s, his work appears in a range of titles including Charlton Comics' Billy the Kid, DC Comics' American Revolutionary War-era adventure series Tomahawk and Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazines Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella.
In the early 1970s, for DC editor Murray Boltinoff, Wessler wrote for the supernatural-fantasy anthologies, including Ghosts, House of Mystery, The Unexpected and The Witching Hour. He also contributed additional stories to Eerie, and returned to his old home at the former Atlas, now Marvel Comics, with work appearing in Giant-Size Chillers vol. 2, #1 (Feb. 1975), and in the black-and-white horror-comics magazine Tales of the Zombie #7 & 10 (Sept. 1974 & March 1975).
- "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JKKH-XJW : accessed 04 Apr 2013), Carroll O Wessler, 9 April 1989.
- Carroll O. Wessler, Social Security Number 062-10-4778, at the Social Security Death Index. Archived from the original on September 18, 2012.
- Rowe, Steven. "Carl Wessler" (biography) at AtlasTales.com. Archived from the original on February 09, 2011.
- Sito, Tom (2006). Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson. The University Press of Kentucky. p. 85. ISBN 978-0813124070.
- Cohen, Karl F. (2004). Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. McFarland & Company. p. 158. ISBN 978-0786420322.
- Carl Wessler at the Grand Comics Database
- Vassallo, Michael J. (2003, n.d.). "Jack Keller Remembered". Comicartville.com. Archived from the original on November 24, 2010.
- Wessler, Mary, "In Memorium Carroll O. Wessler", Robin Snyder's History of the Comics vol. 2, #5 (May 1991), p. 1
- Wessler, Mary, "Stories Written by Carl Wessler for Timely Comics, 1956", Robin Snyder's History of the Comics vol. 2, #11 (Nov. 1991), pp. 117–122
- Wessler, Mary, "Carl Wessler's Work for Simon and Kirby in 1954 and 1955", Robin Snyder's History of the Comics vol. 4, #2 (Feb. 1993), p. 32
- Carl Wessler at the Comic Book DB
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
- Vassallo, Michael J. "Esoteric Atlas: Bible Tales for Young Folk", Comicartville Library, 2002, n.d. WebCitation archive