EXPIRED: 05/21/10 – Howard Post, 83, was born on the island of Manhattan, grew up in Coney Island and spent a long time isolated in a very rural part of the Bronx. No wonder he spent years making a comic strip – The Dropouts – about a pair of castaways and on a desert island.
The Dropouts ran on more than 100 newspapers from 1968 til 1982. He also drew the comics Hot Stuf’ the Little Devil, Spooky the Tuff Little Ghost, and Wendy the Good Little Witch, a bit of Casper, some Popeye and the rejected Anthro series for DC Comics.
Post was inspired by the comic strips of the Depression era. So when his father got sick, and he had to get a job to support the family, Post landed work at Paramount Studios doing basic in-betweener animation for $24 a week.
To make ends meet he started to hawk ideas to comic book shops in New York. The first publisher rejected his ideas. The second one he went to bought it and published his story. Unfortunately, the first publisher stole the idea, traced the comic strip and put it out anyway, so the same strip came out by two different publishers. It was a messy way to get introduced to the industry – but it got him noticed.
Meanwhile, a book publisher wanted to do an entire title based on the story and gave Post an $800 advance. Not bad for a 17 year old kid in the 40’s
Eventually he started doing storyboards for Paramount because they were doing a series of shows for King Features Television: Barney Google, Snuffy Smith, Krazy Kat, Beetle Bailey. He was good. So good that when Paramount’s director Seymour Kneitel died, the studio invited Post to make a presentation for the directorship. He was hired and became the director of Paramount Cartoon Studios, a place where he worked as a lackey 20 years before.
Interesting trivia: Post took the job at Paramount over an offer to write the animated movie “Yellow Submarine” for the Beatles. I guess he had had enough of the mop top, as he had already been doing the Beatles animated cartoon TV show. Instead, he recommended his friend, Jack Mendelsohn, for the Yellow Submarine job and Post moved to California to work at Paramount.
During this time he started working on a side project, the adventure comic book “Anthro.” It was a little headier than Casper and Hot Stuf’. Copies sold out L.A., Chicago, and New York. But it bombed everywhere else.”
Anthro was cancelled. Post was pissed. So he began the syndicated strip, The Dropouts out of anger. He thought “You don’t want adventure? Fine. You want funny? I’ll give you funny.” And it lasted 16 years.
More recently Post taught at New York’s School of Visual Arts.
“Teaching is less grueling than doing a strip,” he once said.
He died in Leonia, New Jersey.