We have lost another legend of the Golden Age of Comics today. Comic book and comic book artist Irwin Hasen, co-creator of Dondi and Wildcat (the latter recently appearing in “Arrow“), passed away yesterday. The Eisner Award winning artist was 96. More after the jump.
If you know the name of Irwin Hasen, you know your Golden Age comics, or you’re an old school newspaper comics reader, or you attended the Joe Kubert School as one of his students. His Dondi was one of the best remembered comic strips of many decades. His Green Lantern is probably the one you remember if you were a Golden Age reader. And he lives on in the character of Ted Wildcat Grant – curmudgeon, ex-boxer, superhero, trainer, and member of the Justice Society of America – a hero so cool I named my cat after him. Besides Green Lantern and Wildcat, Hasen illustrated so many heroes of yesterday, including the Flash, the Green Hornet, the Fox, Johnny Thunder, Cat-Man, and the entire Justice Society of America, among others.
I met Irwin Hasen at the New York Comic-Con quite a few years back. He was alone at a table and I was stunned that in the huge crowds of this con no one was taking any notice of the man, this living legend. I struck up a conversation, bought a cool print of the Justice Society, which he signed. He invited me to sit with him behind the table and we talked about the con and the old days for about a half-hour.
The man who at first looked sad became enthusiastic, curmudgeonly, and entertaining. I was saddened that no one stopped at the table the whole time I sat there with Mr. Hasen, but loved the time I spent with the energetic little man. I still remember his firm handshake and how hard he slapped me in the back. It was one of the highlights of a con for me.
I always said hello when I saw him again at later cons, and although he never remembered me, he was always a pleasure to see and chat with. We’ve lost one of the good ones.