Born Vincenzo Francisco Gennaro Di Fago on November 28, 1914, in Yonkers, New York, Vince Fago arrived at Timely's doorstep in the McGraw Hill Building following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, causing him to leave his assistant animator job working for the Max Fleischer studio in Florida.
Fago's forte` was humor features, especially funny-animal antics necessitating frenetic panel-to panel progressions, a talent that perfectly coincided with Timely recent expansion into humor comic books with the launching of Comedy Comics, Krazy Komics, Joker Comics and Terrytoons, the latter featuring characters licensed from the Paul Terry studio. Characters Vince worked on included long runs on Dinky and Frenchy Rabbit, Floop and Skilly Boo, Posty & Lolly, and Little Lester.
These comics were a lot of fun and combined with a humor staff consisting of giants like Chad Grotkopf, Kin Platt, Al Jaffee, Moe Worthman, Pauline Loth, Ed Winarski, Ernie Hart, a young Mike Sekowsky and later Joe Beck, Milt Stein and Harvey Eisenberg, Timely's funny-animal division didn't take a back seat to any company's funny-animal comics. When Stan Lee enlisted into the army on November 9, 1942, Vince took over the editor-in-chief position and guided Timely through the war years until Stan's discharge on September 29, 1945. Vince freelanced a bit longer and left Timely, ultimately taking over the Peter Rabbit comic strip from Harrison Cady in 1948, and producing it for 10 years.
A year before Vince passed away on June 13, 2002, I had the pleasure to visit him and his wife D'Ann in their home in Bethel, Vermont. We spent a glorious day talking about Timely and paging through nearly 100 Timely funny-animal comic books I brought with me.
A full accounting of Vince's time at Timely (and my visit in July of 2001) will have to wait for a future blog post but as we arrive at the Christmas season of 2018, here are two delightful Timely Christmas stories penciled by Vince and possibly inked by his brother Al Fago, who was 10 years his senior and a wonderful artist in his own right. The Fleischer animation influence is very strong and very noticeable!
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
TERRYTOONS #4 (Jan/43): Published on November 10, 1942