December 27, 1918|
|Died||January 6, 2012
|Notable works||Tarzan comic strip|
Born on Staten Island, Celardo continued to live there most of his life. After a childhood in Mariners Harbor, he graduated from Port Richmond High School. He began his art career in the late 1930s drawing animals for the National Youth Administration at the Staten Island Zoo at West Brighton, where he was once photographed in the alligator pit by the Staten Island Advance.
World War II
Serving with the Army during World War II, he was assigned to duty in the European theater, where he rose to the rank of captain. Returning to Staten Island after WWII, he lived in Castleton Corners and eventually settled in Graniteville.
In addition to art study with the Federal School's correspondence course, his extensive art training was at New York's Art Students League, the School of Industrial Arts and the School of Visual Arts.
After creating sports cartoons for Street & Smith magazines, he began drawing for comic books, including a job at the Eisner-Iger shop. During the 1940s, he was an assistant art director and a major contributor to the Fiction House line, notably for Wings Comics. Over decades, he did work for a variety of publishers, including American Comics Group, DC Comics, Gold Key, Quality, Standard, St. John and Whitman.
In the early 1950s, he succeeded Bob Lubbers as illustrator of the Tarzan comic strip. He began the Tarzan daily strip on January 18, 1954 and the Sunday strip on February 28, 1954, eventually drawing a total of 4350 daily strips and 724 Sunday strips. His work was then appearing in 225 newspapers in 12 different countries. Celardo continued on Tarzan until January 7, 1968, when Russ Manning took it over. Celardo then succeeded Joe Kubert on Tales of the Green Beret. He drew the daily Buz Sawyer comic strip from 1983 until it was discontinued on October 7, 1989.
During the 1960s, he also did artwork for Topps Chewing Gum trading cards, including a comic strip on their Land of the Giants card series. In 1969, he illustrated Paperback Library's Get Your Shape in Shape by Rita Chazen and Fran Hair. From 1973 to the mid-1990s, he was a comics editor at King Features Syndicate.
One of the artists interviewed by David Hajdu for Hajdu's authoritative survey of the comic book industry, The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America, Celardo was a member of Artists and Writers, the National Cartoonists Society and the Staten Island Kiwanis Club. At age 93, he died in 2012 at the Clove Lakes Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in Castleton Corners, survived by his son, John J.; his wife, the former Julia Esposito; his daughter, Donna DeForest; three brothers Joe, Frank and Edward; and three grandchildren Ryan DeForest, Kaitlin DeForest, and Devin DeForest.