George Sherman (comics)
September 30, 1928|
|Died||August 3, 1974
George Ransom Sherman (September 30, 1928 – August 3, 1974) was a publicist for foreign markets and then head of the Publications Department at the Disney Studios. Sherman's daughter has described him as "a writer at heart but worked for Disney as a day job."
He was the son of Ransom Sherman, an established vaudeville and radio comedian of the day. In the mid-40s the family moved to Hollywood as Ransom built a career in motion pictures and television.
While attending Pomona College he became friends with Roy Disney, Jr. who suggested if Sherman ever needed a job he should apply at the Disney Studio. After a stint in the Army Sherman followed up on Roy Jr's offer and went to work at Disney handling publicity for foreign markets.:p.10 In the mid-1950s he left the studio to briefly edit and publish the Baywood Press in Northern California. Returning to Disney, he became head of the Publications Dept. where he was involved with its licensees both domestic and foreign.
In 1962 he established the Disney Studio Program, producing comic book stories for the foreign market. He provided editorial support to the Program plus authored (or co-authored) the text for several illustrated children books adapting contemporary Disney films (Babes in Toyland, The Absent-Minded Professor) plus did Little Golden Books involving classic Disney characters (Pinocchio and Ludwig Von Drake). In addition he edited and provided much of the content of the Gulf Oil tie-in Wonderful World of Disney magazine (1969-1970).:pp.48-49
Sherman conducted what animation historian Michael Barrier describes as the only known interview with legendary animator Bill Tytla  shortly before Tytla died. Sherman also did an interview with animation pioneer Ub Iwerks which Barrier notes contains an explanation for the origins of Mickey Mouse "significantly different from what [Iwerks] told Bob Thomas fifteen years earlier".
In the early 1970s through his efforts Carl Barks was granted permission to create and sell oil paintings of the Donald Duck clan. Sherman also gave permission for Barks' ten page story from Walt Disney's Comics and Stories #126 to be reprinted in Les Daniels's book Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America. This was one of the first attempts outside of comics fandom to mark Barks as being among the pantheon of comic book legends.
In addition Sherman purchased scripts from Jerry Siegel when the Superman co-creator was unemployed. Mark Evanier, who got his start as a comic book writer when hired by Sherman to write for the Program, noted "...even though Disney owed Jerry Siegel nothing, George felt it was only right to help out a legend who was down on his luck. That's the kind of guy George was...very compassionate and also very smart."
Sherman also played a key role in Mark Evanier's career by suggesting to Western Publishing editor Chase Craig that Craig hire Evanier to script the numerous titles Gold Key Comics published featuring licensed animation characters. Evanier has described working for Craig as "my first somewhat-steady gig that paid me actual money."
After an extended illness Sherman died of paraganglioma, a rare neuroendocrine neoplasm, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. Like his friend Roy E. Disney his ashes were scattered in the Pacific Ocean.:pp.64-68 Disney paid all his medical bills.:p.69
An oil painting of Scrooge McDuck Barks gave to Sherman in gratitude for his aid in arranging permission for the artist to sell paintings of Disney's copyrighted duck characters was sold at auction in 2010 for $20,315.
Sherman's daughter Cathy Sherman Freeman in 2012 published a memoir A Disney Childhood including several chapters on her father.
- A Special Barks Painting for Sale at Auction
- Ransom Sherman.
- Cathy Sherman Freeman. A Disney Childhood: Comic Books to Sailing Ships. Duncan, OK: BearManor Media, 2012.
- "Western Sets Sessions with Disney Officials," Racine Journal Times, March 20, 1966.
- Sketches For Fethry Duck's First Appearance by David Gerstein.
- Walt's people
- The interview was conducted May 13, 1968 and Tytla died Dec. 30, 1968; it is included in Walt's People volume 1. New York: Xlibris, 2005
- The Mysterious Mouse, Cont'd The interview was conducted July 30, 1970; Sherman's notes from the interview are in the collection of the Walt Disney Archives. The Thomas interview with Iwerks is included in Walt's People volume 10. New York: XLibris, 2011
- Comments on Sherman by Mark Evanier and Dana Gabbard.
- Carl Barks Scrooge McDuck oil painting sells at Heritage.
- Willits, Malcolm. "Interview with George Sherman". Vanguard 1968, reprinted in Duckburg Times #12 (1981). Includes Sherman quoting circulation figures for Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, both for its heights in the mid-50s and rapid decline in the early 1960s.
- Photo of George Sherman (left) standing with Gunnar Mansson, Walt Disney and O.B. Johnson (right)
- Barks' correspondence including comments on the process of getting permission to do oils of the Disney characters
- Sherman's correspondence regarding involvement with Carl Barks and judging beauty contests in Hemet, California
- A Disney Childhood website.
- Excerpts from Western Publishing house organ The Westerner (photo of Sherman standing next to Roy O. Disney as part of Disney executive's 1966 visit to Racine plant)