August 2, 1964
|Area(s)||Cartoonist, Artist, Editor, Publisher|
|Legal Action Comics|
Danny Hellman (born August 2, 1964) is an American freelance illustrator and cartoonist. Since 1989, his illustrations have appeared in publications including Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and others, and his comic book work has appeared in DC Comics publications.
Danny Hellman was raised in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Queens, New York City, New York. He graduated from the High School of Art & Design, in Manhattan, in 1982, and took figure drawing classes throughout the 1980s at the Art Students League. After teaming with Bill Mantlo, a veteran comic book writer, on a presentation for a comic based on the Robotron: 2084 arcade video game, and being told by editor-in-chief Tom DeFalco that Hellman's artwork was not yet professional quality, Hellman briefly attended the School of Visual Arts. He soon dropped out and began working as a bicycle messenger, while drawing and distributing posters for the rock music band Floor Kiss.
In the summer of 1988 Hellman, then a self-described "stoner" who lived in his grandparents' attic in Queens, followed illustrator friends in getting freelance work from Kevin Hein, art director of the weekly New York City pornographic newspaper Screw. Hellman showed Hein a portfolio of his rock posters, and a "tweaked" version of one became Hellman's first Screw cover. He continued to contribute cover art to the magazine on a regular basis, and provide occasional interior comic-strip work parodying the likes of Superman, The Simpsons, and The Cosby Show, until Screw ceased publication in 2006.
In the early 1990s, Hellman went on to illustrate for art director Michael Gentile at New York Press — later continuing with Gentile with the art director moved to Habitat — and the local periodicals The Village Voice, and Guitar World. Hellman eventually drew for national publications including Time, Fortune, Sports Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal, and FHM.
In comic books and related periodicals, Hellman in the early to mid-1990s self-published a handful of minicomics that included Coffee Drinkin' Man, written by East Village painter Geoff Gilmore, and Peaceful Atom and the Mystery Mice. His earliest recorded credit is penciling and inking writer Dennis Eichhorn's two-page autobiographical story "Iron Denny" in Starhead Comix's Real Schmuck #4 (April 1993).
He went on to draw comics for a variety of alternative comics publishers, as well as an Aquaman story for DC Comics' Bizarro World, and several one-page strips for the The Big Book of series of trade paperbacks for the DC imprint Paradox Press. Other comics work includes Hotwire, Mad, Last Gasp Comics & Stories #1-5 (1994–1997), and Fantagraphics' Spicecapades (Spring 1999).
Ted Rall lawsuit
Hellman has been described as a "veteran prankster". Following an August 3, 1999 Village Voice cover story criticizing Maus author Art Spiegelman by editorial cartoonist Ted Rall, Hellman created an email list called "Rallsballs@onelist.com" and sent two sets of emails impersonating Rall to at least 35 cartoonists and editors, including one former employer of Rall. Rall eventually retaliated by filing a lawsuit, claiming among other things, libel, lost employment opportunities and emotional distress, and asking damages of US$ 1.5 million. Eventually four of Rall's five claims were dismissed, leaving only libel per se. As of February 2005, the case had not gone to trial.
To defray legal costs, Hellman began in 2000 to publish a comics anthology series, Legal Action Comics Volumes One & Two (2000 and 2004), which features work from many alternative comics artists including Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, and Tony Millionaire. Hellman edited and published a new anthology in July 2008 entitled Typhon.
- "CR Sunday Interview: Danny Hellman", The Comics Reporter, August 24, 2008
- Grand Comics Database: Real Schmuck #4
- Grand Comics Database: Danny Hellman
- Dean, Michael. "Cartoonists At War", The Comics Journal, October 22, 1999.
- Dean, Michael. "Danse Macabre: Another Date for Ted Rall and Danny Hellman", The Comics Journal, circa 2001, date n.a.
- Rall, Ted (February 19, 2005). "The World's Stupidest People...". Search and Destroy. Ted Rall. Retrieved February 14, 2010.
[A] trial date remains to be scheduled