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Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Comic Art Legend: Jesse Marsh
Born in Monrovia, California in 1907, little is known of Jesse Marsh's early life, though he joined Disney's Animation Studio at age thirty two doing breakdown animation on film classics such as Pinocchio and Fantasia. After a two year stint in WWII, he returned to Disney as a storyboard artist and idea man on various Donald Duck and Pluto cartoons among other features. While still at Disney, art director Tom McKimson at Western Printing encouraged Marsh to draw comics in his spare time, with his first assignment a Gene Autry cowboy book in 1945. Numerous children's books and comics soon followed until Marsh was fortunate enough to be chosen to do a Tarzan one-shot in February of 1947. Marsh's moody style inspired by Milton Caniff and Noel Sickles helped promote Burroughs ape-man for the next fifteen years on that blockbuster title. Best known for his one hundred sixty one issues of Tarzan he illustrated, the artist also worked on many of Western's licensed properties like Rex Allen, The Range Rider, Annie Oakly, and Jonny Mack Brown, just to name a few. Even though he produced thousands of pages over his twenty years at Western Printing, he also found time to work on Walt Disney's syndicated Treasury of Classic Tales Sunday page drawing Davy Crockett and Nikki, Wild Dog of the North. Drawing countless other projects such as Zorro for the foreign markets and ghosting the Flintstones were on his board in 1965, before diabetes caused his retirement due to failing eyesight. Now wanting to paint at his leisure, the artist unfortunately passed away within a year in 1965.