Thursday, July 20, 2006

Don Komisarow + Lou Fine = Donlou!

The combination of wacky weather and summer vacation must have been affecting the internet yesterday... first I couldn't log into my Blogger account, then later in the day, Flickr went down! As a result, this follow-up on Don Komisarow Studios never got posted.

TI list member Armando Mendez emailed me with some background info on who Don Komisarow was and agreed to let me post his message here:

Don Komisarow was Lou Fine's partner after WWII to sometime in the 1950s. Although Komisarow was a cartoonist in his own right, he mostly inked Fine's work and handled all the business arrangements, including introducing Fine to comic strip work sometime in 1945. When histories talk about Lou Fine's "studio," it usually means the shop Fine and Komisarow operated together.

Your ad is the first I've ever seen. I think it is Fine. Agree?

According to Ron Goulart, Fine and Komisarow worked first for Johnstone and Cushing, then left to work on accounts independently. Komisarow was quite the go-getter as agent, getting an impressive list of clients for the team: Pepsi Cola, Phillip Morris, General Foods, Wildroot Cream Hair Tonic, RKO Pictures (remember the movie ad for Farmer's Daughter?) and Toni Home Permanent, and the appearance of such characters as Sam Spade, Lucille Ball, and Mr. Coffee Nerves. Fine and Komisarow were responsible for The Throp Family (as "Donlou") with writer Lawrence Lariar that was serialized in Liberty magazine that you featured before as well as a "lost" strip from 1949 called "Taylor Woe" (the strip is listed as produced and sold but no example has been found as yet.)

I'm not sure when or why Komisarow and Fine parted, but Fine's late work (Adam Ames, Peter Scratch) was solo.

My thanks, as always, to Mando for sharing his wealth of knowledge on these matters with us.


  1. That two page spread's great . Excellent storytelling .I've done a few 'comic' ads in my time , and it's always been a challenge to take a narrative that's essentially 'dry' and make it visually interesting. Thanks for posting .

  2. I'm with you on that, Dom. Each year brings a few jobs of the sequential order and each time I take a crack at one I once again come to appreciate the skills of the talented comic book/strip artist.

  3. Leif, Ok, so i was right, that was lou Fine. When i shared Al Williamson's studio he had a lot of this stuff around, it wasn't in any kind of order, but he did have a lot of it including that book i told you about fornthe enregy company. Al did one with prentice for a railroad.

    I myself have done such advertising comics, even a web strip, Dr. Direct a few years back for a company called Brooks Instruments.

    So it's still happening today.

  4. You must have some great stories from your time with Al Williamson, Mike.

    As always, I'd love to see anything from those info/edu/adver - comics that you might care to share.

    The mainstream of comics is very well documented but its the esoterica that deserves a wider examination - so much good work is all but lost and forgotten because it was designed for specialty markets alone.