Friday, March 18, 2016

Augie Scotto (1927-2016)




I'm saddened to report that artist Augie Scotto (b.May 24, 1927) passed away on March 15, 2016 at the age of 88. The Peppler Funeral Home posted this short obituary online. (photo above by Beverly Schaefer on 5/1/12)

August T. Scotto, 88, of Hamilton Square, Passed away Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at home. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, he resided in Hamilton Square for over 55 years. A US Navy veteran, he served on the U.S.S. Tarawa during WWII. August was a talented artist and a graduate of the School of the Industrial Arts in New York City. As a freelance cartoonist he worked for several companies including PS magazine, DC and Marvel Comics and was once a partner of Wally Wood. August also worked as a political cartoonist. During the Iowa caucus in 1980, he met president Ronald Reagan who thanked him for his work and support for the Republican Party. August was also an active member of the Hamilton Twp. Seniors Club and the Hamilton Republicans.

Son of the late Aniello and Mary Aveta Scotto, he was predeceased by his wife Carmen Gaud Scotto. August is survived by his loving children, Joseph, John, Elizabeth Ann and Arnold Vincent and his wife Patricia; his grandchildren, Joseph Anthony and his wife Lisa, Bridgette and her husband, Frank, John August, Patrick and Elizabeth; his brother and sister, Vincent and Connie as well as several nieces and a nephew. 

A visitation will be held Sunday, March 20th from 2-5pm at the Peppler Funeral Home, 114 S. Main St., Allentown. Interment will be held Monday at 10:30 am at the Brigadier General William C. Doyle Veterans Cemetery, Arneytown.

As mentioned above, Augie Scotto's work appeared in Will Eisner's PS magazine, the exact tenures unknown to me. The note above that Scotto was Wally Wood's partner is somewhat apocryphal. In the Bhob Stewart edited Against The Grain (TwoMorrows, 2003), Stewart writes about the Wally Wood studio and Augie Scotto

"The studio was often like a Grand Central of artists. They came and went. One night Augie Scotto arrived. Scotto had worked on 1949-53 Western and crime comics before settling in as an artist on Eisner's PS magazine for many years. We were working our way through a pile of Topps' Travel Posters, and Scotto was there to assist for a few hours. I was in the back room, and Woody appeared at the door with a big grin. "Bhob, come watch this." Scotto sat down at a board while Woody, Don and I looked on. He clicked the snaps on his briefcase, pulled out a brush and dipped it in the ink. Silence. Then in a single deft stroke, Scotto moved his hand across the paper. He lifted the brush, leaving a 14" long, perfectly straight line on the paper. It played like a magic trick, but it was for real. Woody then went back to work, still grinning." 

Scotto's comic book career appeared as two brief spurts. He broke in in 1949 at Eastern Color's New Heroic Comics, Hillman and Cross Publications, on crime and western stories. He also was at Lev Gleason in 1950, Atlas in early 1951 and Charlton in 1953. This early work is completely serviceable and at home in the earthy, gritty crime comics of the era.

He then vanishes from the industry and re-emerges in 1968 at Tower Comics penciling Dynamo and then as an inker at DC Comics in the late 1970's, inking several titles including a post-Jack Kirby story of The New Gods in Adventure Comics in 1978.

And then he left the industry for the final time. Let's take a brief look at his artwork.

Cross Publications was a small publisher that only released three titles between 1949 and 1951. Two of their titles were short-lived, Uncle Milty (4 issues) in 1950 and Super Circus (5 issues) in 1951. Their only real successful on-going title was The Perfect Crime, which ran 33 issues between 1949 and 1953, at the heyday of the pre-code crime comics era. Cross had a small cadre of artists who did some of their early (and not so early) work in this title.... Doug Wildey, Bob Powell, Cal Massey, Floyd Torbert, Jim Reilley, and even a single story by Joe Maneely in issue #2 (June/50). The main artist for the company was Cal Massey, who appeared in nearly every issue (often twice!) and usually the lead story. The rest just rotated through every issue with, as mentioned, Massey and even Scotto often drawing more than one story per issue.

Scotto's appearances for Cross were:

The Perfect Crime #2,3,4,5,6,7,8,10,11,13
Super Circus #1
Uncle Milty #1

Here's a sampling....Pay no attention to the weird story page numbering. Cross numbered the pages of the entire issue, not individual stories.


The Perfect Crime #2 (Apr/50) :

A 3-page murder mystery in the style pioneered by Allen Bellman's Let's Play Detective at Timely (the answer upside down in the last panel)








Don't worry, I'll flip it for you!






The Perfect Crime #3 (June/50) :

There are two stories penciled and inked by Augie Scotto.



















Uncle Milty #1 (Dec/50) :

One story by Augie.















Super Circus #1 (Jan/51) :

Again, only one story by Augie in this entire 5-issue run.











Scotto's only work for Timely/Atlas was a single story in the generic western title Western Outlaws and Sheriffs, #65 (Feb/51). The title began with #60 (Dec/49), continuing the numbering from 2 previous issues of Best Western, #58 & #59. (Best Western received it's strange numbering by continuing the title that previously had been one of Goodman's western pulp titles, also called Best Western, whose last pulp issue # was Vol 5, #7. Get it? the next issue was a comic book that started as #58!)

Western Outlaws and Sheriffs ran 14 issues to #73 (June/52) and all issues except the very last had no continuing Timely/Atlas western characters. #73 found a place for a straggler Black Rider story by Jay Scott Pike and a non-canonical Ringo Kid story by Marion Sitton. (He was a villain in this story and not affiliated with the later Atlas western hero)


Western Outlaws and Sheriffs #65 (Feb/51) :














I've found one single additional credit at Marvel for Scotto. Strangely enough, he's credited with lettering the beautiful Syd Shores story in Marvel's western Red Wolf #6 (Mar/73). How this came to be is unknown to me. Each issue of this short series has a different letterer, from Sam Rosen to Artie Simek to Jean Izzo to Denise Vladimer to Augie Scotto to Sheldon Leferman to Charlotte Jetter. Maybe an emergency letterer was needed and Augie was on Artie's rolodex!









With a long career as a political cartoonist, I'd be interested in learning more about Mr. Scotto's non-commercial comics career. I welcome his family to contact me at the address at the top of this blog and I will gladly update this piece with additional information.

 July 5, 1980 The Day, a New London, CT.