December 12, 1925
|Died||June 7, 1982
|Area(s)||Cartoonist, Writer, Artist|
Warren Tufts (December 12, 1925 - June 7, 1982), born Chester Tufts, was an American comic strip and comic book artist-writer best known for his syndicated Western adventure strip Casey Ruggles which ran from 1949 to 1954.
Tufts entered the comic strip industry when the story strip, his preferred form, was already in decline. As a result of that and his eventual falling out with United Features Syndicate, he never enjoyed the fame and fortune of the more successful comic strip creators, such as Hal Foster and Milton Caniff. Nonetheless, his work has received considerable praise from critics such as Bill Blackbeard.
In 1949, Warren Tufts created the comic strip Casey Ruggles, set against the backdrop of the Old West. Distributed by United Features, it initially appeared only in the Sunday comics, but when the lushly illustrated story became popular, a daily strip was added. Because Tufts was a perfectionist who often worked 80-hour weeks, he had trouble meeting deadlines, even though he had help from numerous assistants and ghosts: Nick Cardy, Ruben Moreira, Al Plastino and Alex Toth.
As Casey Ruggles' popularity grew, Tufts received an offer from a major television studio to produce a Casey Ruggles TV show. However, United Features nixed the offer on the grounds that a TV show would make the strip less popular. In anger, Tufts left United Features in 1954, and Casey Ruggles ended shortly afterward, as the replacement artist, Al Carreño, apparently could not maintain reader interest. Tufts' contract with the syndicate required that they be given first refusal on his next strip, so he created The Lone Spaceman, which he was sure they would refuse. They did. He then created, wrote, drew and self-syndicated one of the last and, in the judgment of many critics, one of the most beautiful full-page comic strips, Lance.
However, the job of not only writing and drawing but also traveling around the country from city to city to sell the strip proved daunting, and in 1960, Tufts left the comic strip field. He drew some comic books for Gold Key Comics, including Korak, Son of Tarzan, The Pink Panther, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan and Wagon Train, but the fast pace and low pay of the comic book industry at that time kept him from doing his best work.
He also drew an adult comic book, Jack and the Beanstalk, and wrote and illustrated a serialized story for Sports Flying magazine.
On TV, he lent his voice, lips and artistic talents to Cambria Studios' production of the Syncro-Vox series Captain Fathom (1965), and is credited as story director on Hanna-Barbera's ABC Saturday Superstar Movie (1972) and Challenge of the Super Friends (1978). He also played the character Gator in the "Dos Pinos" episode of the TV series The Westerner (1960).
Tufts' hobby was building and flying private airplanes. He was killed when one of his airplanes crashed in 1982.
- Social Security Death Index, SS# 564-20-2613.
- Markstein, Don. Toonopedia
- Yeo, Henry, Warren Tufts Retrospective, Western Wind (1980).
- Warren Tufts at IMDB.
- Tufts entry at Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Lambiek: Warren Tufts