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Ben Oda
Ben Oda
Aliases:
Birth:December 21, 1915
Place of Birth:
Death:November, 1984
Place of Death:
Nationality:American
Gender:Male
Occupation:Artist/Letterer
Marital Status:Married
Relations:Nishi Oda (wife)

Ben Oda is a Japanese-American comic strip letterer and graphic artist.

Biographical information

Ben Oda was born December 21, 1915 to a Japanese-American family. During World War II, he served as a paratrooper in the American military. After the war he entered into the field of comics.[1] The timing was perfect. By the late 1940s, many comic studios and companies had opted not to letter their publications in-house and turned instead to hiring freelance letterers. Ben Oda helped to fill the void and quickly became one of the most notable names in lettering during the era, beside the likes of Gaspar Saladino and Sam Rosen.[2]

His career was prolific, lettering thousands of comics and comic strips over the course of his career. Some of the more famous comic strips he lettered included Apartment 3-G, Big Ben Bolt, Dondi, The Dropouts, Flash Gordon, Little Orphan Annie, Mary Perkins, On Stage, Rip Kirby and The Spirit[3]. He was also letterer for the Chicago Tribune and King Features Syndicate, on series such as Prince Valiant, Little Orphan Annie, The Phantom and many others.Cite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag.

In the 1970s and 1980s, Oda became a noted part of DC Comics, working on stories with characters such as Superman, Legion of Super-heroes, and Bat-man, titles such as Action Comics, Adventure Comics, The Brave and the Bold and many other anthology titles. He provided letters for some of the great artists of the period, Jack Kirby, Joe Simon,[4] and Jim Aparo, as well as working for former The Twilight Zone comic alum and then-DC-editor, Joe Orlando.[5]

Legacy

Joe Simon once revealed that Ben's wife, Michi, also did lettering [6] and it is said that other family members continued on in the industry.[7] In fact, the Odaballoon font, was created by Ben Oda's family, is a tribute freeware typeface in the style of his lettering. [1]

Ben Oda was also responsible for helping other notable talents get their start in the field. He gave instruction to Bill Yoshida, a fellow member of his all-Japanese bowling league. Yoshida went on to serve as letterer for Archie Comics and other companies.[1] Oda also encouraged artist Mike Ploog to get his start in comics by introducing him at Warren Publishing and collaborating on a few stories with him.[8]

Recently, some of his work turned up on newstands once again, with the publication of the 2006 relaunch of DC Comics' Justice League of America. The issue featured a flashback to a 1970s issue of the Justice League which featured artwork by Dick Dillin and lettering by Ben Oda.[4] Other previous work by Oda continues to be released in a reprint format, especially the work done for DC and EC.

Awards and honors

Bibliography

Brief comic book bibliography

Apple Press

  • Blazing Combat: World War I and World War II (1994)
  • Blazing Combat: Vietnam and Korea (1993)

Ballantine Books

  • Brothers Mad (1958-1960)

Bonanza

  • Comix: A History of Comic Books in America (1971)

Carroll & Graf

  • Mammoth Book of Best War Comics (2007)

Charlton Comics

  • Phantom, The (1969)

Crown Publishers

  • Batman From the Thirties to the Seventies #73-168439 (1981)
  • Superman From the Thirties to the Eighties (1983)

Dark Horse Comics

  • New Two-Fisted Tales, The (1993)

DC Comics

  • Action Comics (1969-1970,1977-1985)
  • Adventure Comics (1968-1981)
  • All-Out War (1980)
  • All-Star Comics (1976-1978)
  • All-Star Squadron (1982)
  • Amazing World of DC Comics (1976)
  • Arak, Son of Thunder (1982)
  • Art of Walter Simonson, The (1988)
  • Atom and Hawkman (1969)
  • Batman (1976-1985)
  • Batman and Other DC Classics (1989)
  • Batman and the Outsiders (1984)
  • Batman Family (1977-1978)
  • Batman: Strange Apparitions (1999)
  • Batman: The Strange Deaths of Batman (2009)
  • Best of DC, The (1980-1986)
  • Black Lightning (1977-1978)
  • Brave and the Bold, The (1978-1981)
  • Cancelled Comic Cavalcade (1978)
  • Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew (1982-1983)
  • Challengers of the Unknown (1969, 1978)
  • Challengers of the Unknown Archives (2003)
  • Christmas with the Super-Heroes (1988)
  • Claw the Unconquered (1975, 1978)
  • Complete Frank Miller, The (1988)
  • Crisis on Multiple Earths (2004)
  • Daring New Adventures of Supergirl, The (1982-1983)
  • Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love (1971-1972)
  • DC Comics Presents (1978-1985)
  • DC Sampler (1983)
  • DC Special (1976)
  • DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest (1980-1981)
  • DC Special Series (1977-1980)
  • DC Superstars (1977-1978)
  • Detective Comics (1976-1985)
  • Doorway to Nightmare (1978)
  • Essential Showcase 1956-1959 (1992)
  • Firestorm (1978)
  • Flash, The (1978-1985)
  • Freedom Fighters (1976-1978)
  • Fury of Firestorm, The (1983, 1985)
  • G.I. Combat (1975, 1977-1981, 1985)
  • Ghosts (1976, 1978-1979, 1981)
  • Greatest 1950s Stories Ever Told (1990)
  • Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told #1 (1988)
  • Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told #2 (1992)
  • Greatest Joker Stories Ever Told (1988)
  • Green Arrow (1983)
  • Green Lantern (1977-1985)
  • Hawk and Dove (1968-1969)
  • House of Mystery (1978, 1980-1983)
  • House of Secrets (1978)
  • Huntress: Darknight Daughter (2006)
  • Immortal Doctor Fate, The (1985)
  • Isis (1976-1978)
  • Jack Kirby's New Gods (1997)
  • Joker, The (1976)
  • Jonah Hex (1978-1981, 1983)
  • Justice League of America (1971-1985)
  • Karate Kid (1976-1978)
  • Kobra (1976-1977)
  • Krypton Chronicles (1981)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes Archives, The (1998-2001)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes, The (1980-1982)
  • Limited Collector's Edition #C-49 (1972)
  • Madame Xanadu (1981)
  • Man-Bat (1975-1976)
  • Manhunter: The Special Edition (1999)
  • Masters of the Universe (1982)
  • Men of War (1978-1980)
  • Metal Men (1977)
  • Mister Miracle (1977-1978)
  • Mr. District Attorney (1957)
  • Mystery In Space (1980-1981)
  • New Adventures of Superboy, The (1980-1984)
  • New Gods (1972, 1977-1978)
  • New Teen Titans Annual, The (1982, 1983-1986)
  • New Teen Titans Archives, The (2006-2008)
  • New Teen Titans, The (1980-1984)
  • New Teen Titans, The (IBM) (1983)
  • New Teen Titans, The (Keebler Co) (1983)
  • New Teen Titans: The Judas Contract, The (1988)
  • Omega Men Annual (1984)
  • Omega Men (1985)
  • Our Army At War (1976)
  • Our Fighting Forces (1975)
  • Phantom Zone (1982)
  • Plastic Man (1976-1977)
  • Power Lords (1983-1984)
  • Ragman (1977)
  • Richard Dragon, Kung Fu Fighter (1975-1976)
  • Robotech Defenders (1985)
  • Saga of Swamp Thing, The (1982-1983)
  • Sandman, The (1975)
  • Secret Society of Super-Villains (1976-1978)
  • Secrets of the Haunted House (1978, 1980, 1981)
  • Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes (1981)
  • Sgt. Rock (1977, 1980)
  • Sgt. Rock Special (1989)
  • Shade, the Changing Man (1978)
  • Shadow of the Batman (1986)
  • Shadow War of Hawkman (1985)
  • Shazam! (1976-1978)
  • Showcase (1957-1958, 1977-1978)
  • Showcase Presents Challengers of the Unknown (2006)
  • Showcase Presents: Enemy Ace (2008)
  • Showcase Presents: Teen Titans (2007)
  • Spanner's Galaxy (1985)
  • Star Hunters (1977)
  • Star Spangled War Stories (1976)
  • Steel, the Indestructible Man (1978)
  • Strange Sports Stories (1973-1974)
  • Super Friends (1977-1981)
  • Super Friends! (2001)
  • Super Powers (1984)
  • Super-Team Family (1977-1978)
  • Superboy (1971-1975, 1977)
  • Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977-1979)
  • Superboy Spectacular (1980)
  • Supergirl (1972-1974, 1983-1984)
  • Superman (1977-1984)
  • Superman/Batman: Saga of the Super Sons (2007)
  • Superman Annual (1984)
  • Superman Family, The (1974-1982)
  • Superman in the Seventies (2000)
  • Superman Movie Special, The (1983)
  • Superman Special (1984)
  • Superman: Back in Action (2007)
  • Tales of the Green Lantern Corps (1981)
  • Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes (1984-1985, 1987)
  • Tales of the New Teen Titans (1982)
  • Tales of the Teen Titans (1984-1986)
  • Tales of the Teen Titans Annual (1984)
  • Teen Titans (1969-1973, 1976-1978)
  • Time Warp (1979-1980)
  • Unexpected, The (1980-1981)
  • Unknown Soldier (1980)
  • Warlord (1977-1984)
  • Weird Mystery Tales (1972-1973)
  • Weird War Tales (1971, 1978-1981)
  • Weird Western Tales (1973, 1975-1977, 1979-1980)
  • Will Eisner's The Spirit Archives (2007-2008)
  • Wonder Woman (1977-1985)
  • World of Krypton (1979)
  • World's Finest Comics (1977-1984)
  • Wrath of the Spectre (1988)
  • Zatanna Special (1987)

Dell Comics

  • Four Color (1956-1957, 1960-1962)
  • Guerilla War (1965)
  • Movie Classic (1966)
  • The Twilight Zone (1962)

EC Comics

  • Frontline Combat (1951-1954)
  • Two-Fisted Tales (1951-1955)
  • Weird Science (1951)

Egmont Magazines

  • Super Heroes, The (1981)

Federal Comics

  • Adventure #2 (1985)
  • Superman #11 (1982-1984)

Gemstone

  • EC Archives: Two-Fisted Tales (2007)
  • EC Sampler: Free Comic Book Day (2008)
  • Frontline Combat (1995-1999)
  • Two-Fisted Tales (1994-1998)

Gold Key Comics

  • Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery (1963-1972, 1978-1979)
  • Boris Karloff Thriller (1962-1963)
  • G-8 and His Battle Aces (1966)
  • Grimm's Ghost Stories (1974)
  • Mystery Comics Digest (1972-1975)
  • Phantom, The (1962-1965)
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not (1965-1971, 1978-1979)
  • The Twilight Zone (1962-1973, 1977, 1982)

Gold Star Publications

  • Eerie (1972)

Hillman Comics

  • Airboy Comics #7 (1947)
  • Real Clue Crime Stories (1947)

K.G. Murray

  • Bumper Batcomic (1977-1979)
  • Bumper Western Album (1979-1980)
  • Cyborg (1982-1986)
  • Doomsday Album (1979, 1981)
  • Haunted Tales (1975-1978)
  • Lois Lane Comic (1976)
  • Mighty Comic (1976)
  • Super Adventure Comic (1973-1975)
  • Superman Presents Tip Top Comic Monthly (1969-1971)
  • Superman Supacomic (1969-1970)

King

  • Phantom, The (1966-1967)

Kitchen Sink Press

  • Spirit, The (1977-1981, 1985, 1988, 1990-1991)

Prize Comics

  • Fighting American (1954)
  • Justice Traps the Guilty (1953)

Pure Imagination

  • Complete Jack Kirby, The (1998, 2002)

Pyramid Books

  • Christopher Lee's Treasury of Terror (1966)

Russ Cochran

  • Two-Fisted Tales (1992-1994)
  • Weird Science (1993-1994)

Superior Publishers Limited

  • Frontline Combat (1952)

Tempo Books

  • Justice League of America #14533 (1977)

Warner Books

  • Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told (1989)

Warren Publishing

  • Blazing Combat (1965-1966)
  • Creepy (1964-1969, 1973, 1975)
  • Creepy Annual (1971)
  • Creepy Yearbook 1968 (1967)
  • Eerie (1966-1972)
  • Eerie (ashcan) (1965)
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland (1965, 1968)
  • Vampirella (1973)

Wham-O

  • Wham-O Giant Comics (1967)

See also: Grand Comics Database: Ben Oda) for individual issue information.

Notes and references

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wikipedia contributors. "Ben Oda." Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Version: March 4, 2009. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  2. Todd Klein. "Lettering: How it all began." Comic Book Lettering, Version: August 15. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  3. Jim Keefe. "John Cullen Murphy." Keefe Studios, January 2000. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Brian Hayes. "[1]." The Hayfamzone Blog, Version: October 7, 2006. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  5. Adventure Comics #441: Ben Oda's lettering was pasted over all of Jim's original balloons and captions. Aparo had lettered, pencilled, and inked the entire job, but after his part was done, editor Joe Orlando had, for some unknown reason, rejected Paul Levitz's script, and had David Michelinie rewrite the entire comic. Oda then lettered the new script and pasted it over Aparo's work. -- M W Gallaher. "Hidden Words in Aquaman?". Jim Aparo Fan Club Blog, Version: January 5, 2009. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  6. Harry Mendryk. "Ben Oda." Jack Kirby Museum, Version: February 4, 2007. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  7. Dylan Williams with Andrea Giberti. "One Lost Story After Another." [www.meskin.net/indexhome.html The Life And Art Of Mort Meskin]. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.
  8. Jon B. Cooke. "The Man Called Ploog." Comic Book Artist #2, TwoMorrows Publishing. May 31, 1998. Retrieved: July 10, 2009.

References

  • Andrew Helfer (June, 1985), "Ben Oda Remembered", Superman (408): p. 1

External links

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