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June 24, 1929
The Bronx, New York City, New York
Vic Carrabotta (born June 24, 1929, The Bronx, New York City, New York) is an American comic book artist and advertising art director whose career stretches to the early 1950s. His comic book art includes much work for Marvel Comics' 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics.
Early life and career
Raised in the Eastchester, New York, a suburb of New York City, Vic Carrabbotta attended Catholic elementary school, followed by Manhattan's High School of Music & Art and the Cartoonists and Illustrators School (later named the School of Visual Arts). Drawing since grade school, Carrabotta as a teen became friendly with fledgling professional comic-book artist Jerry Grandenetti, who lived near Carrabotta's home and taught him inking, the step in the comic-book process where the pencil artist's work is embellished with ink for stylistic and print-reproduction reasons.
After serving in the United States Marine Corps from 1948–1951, where he performed with the Marine Band, Carrabotta worked in construction, sketching his co-workers while on break. A foreman whose uncle worked at Famous Studios helped Carrabbota obtain a job inking at that animated cartoon production company. That in turn led to a job working the studio of Will Eisner, writer-artist of the Sunday- newspaper comic-book section starring Eisner's celebrated character The Spirit.
Attempting to break into comic books, Carrabotta found himself turned away at several publishing houses, including by Stan Lee, editor-in-chief of Atlas Comics, the future Marvel. In a 2006 interview, Carrabotta credits industry legend Jack Kirby for his entrée to comics, describing how Kirby turned him down for comics-studio work, but then upon finding Carrabotta's pregnant wife in the lobby as he seeing Carrobotta out, he gave the struggling artist a break:
Jack was very nice. I was just a kid back then, only 21. As he walked me out, I said, "By the way, this is my wife, Connie." Connie stands up and Jack does a double-take up and down because she's pregnant…. He said, "Sit here a minute, I need to go back to my office." He writes a note and seals it, and tells me to go back to Stan with the note. … [Upon doing so,] Stan said, "Jack says you're a good artist." I said, "Oh, I don't know. Would you like to see my samples?" He says, "No, that's OK. Jack says you're a good artist. I'll tell you what," and he throws this script across the desk. He says, "I this want this back in a week."
That five-page story, "The House on the Hill" in Astonishing #13 (May 1952), led to a stream of regular work as a freelance penciler for Atlas Comics, with Carrabotta initially inking himself and later being inked by Jack Abel.
Drawing primarily horror stories, Carrabotta did work for early issues of such Atlas anthologies as Adventures into Terror, Journey into Mystery (including issue #1), and Strange Tales prior to the imposition of the industry's self-censorship Comics Code, and science-fiction/fantasy suspense stories afterward for titles including some of those as well as Journey into Unknown Worlds, Marvel Tales, Mystic, Uncanny Tales, and others. Carrabotta was one of the few Atlas artists to regularly sign his work, aiding in compiling his bibliography.
After moving from New York City to Lone Star, South Carolina, his wife's hometown, Carrabotta continued to draw for Marvel long-distance. Expanding to other genres, he drew stories for such war comics as Battle, Battle Action, Battlefront, Battleground, and the aptly named War Comics; such Westerns as Apache Kid, Kid Colt: Outlaw, The Outlaw Kid, and Western Outlaws; the crime anthologies Caught and Police Action; the jungle title Jann of the Jungle; and the men's adventure anthology Rugged Action.
Carrabotta also did a limited amount of work in the 1950s for Youthful Comics (Chilling Tales, Atomic Attack!), Fiction House (Planet Comics), and Lev Gleason Publications (The Amazing Adventures of Buster Crabbe, Black Diamond Western, fillers in Crime Does Not Pay and that company's Daredevil).
Carrabotta's last work before leaving comics in the wake of an industry downturn was a story in Gunsmoke Western #49 (Nov. 1958), though Carrobotta did return for a single Marvel comic during the period fans and historians call the Silver Age of comic books: the 17-page story "The Challenge of Cole Younger" in Two-Gun Kid #86 (March 1967), written by Gary Friedrich.
Later life and career
Upon leaving comics, Carrabotta moved from South Carolina to Atlanta, Georgia, where he went into the printing business and eventually became an art director at that city's branch office of the Manhattan advertising agency BBDO. After winning an award for a Delta Air Lines project, he began freelancing as a storyboard and conceptual artist for several agencies, including Grey Advertising, McCann-Erickson, and Young & Rubicam, for accounts including Advil, AT&T, Coca-Cola, Jell-O, and Kenner Toys.
- The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators
- Bails, Jerry, and Hames Ware. Vic Carrabotta at Who's Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999. Who's Who main page. Who's Who A to Z of Indexed Creators WebCitation archive.
- "Corner House Pics: 2005 Studio photos from the making of our 1st CD" Corner House Music, 2005 (Vic Carrabotta photo). WebCitation archive.
- Shaw, Scott. "Atomic Attack! Vol. 1, No. 5", Oddball Comics #770,April 20, 20030