Sheldon “Shel” Dorf, founder of the San Diego Comic Convention, died on Tuesday 3rd November in a San Diego hospital, where he was being treated for diabetes this year. A funeral service was held for Shel on Wednesday.
Since its inception in 1970, the San Diego Comic-Con International has grown from 300 attendees to over 125,000 comic book fans from across the world.
David Glanzer, a convention spokesman, had this to say about the man:
“Shel had notable foresight in not only believing these people needed some public acknowledgment, but that this truly was an American art form that Americans knew very little about.”
During his time as a letterer, freelance artist, and convention organiser, Shel befriended many creative figures in the industry, not least of which was Jack Kirby. According to comics historian (and Kirby’s closest friend) Mark Evanier, Shel claims the rare honour of being made into a Kirby character, namely Himon, inventor of the Mother Box and Mister Miracle’s mentor in his landmark New Gods series. He also made appearances as well-meaning football player “Thudd Shelley” in Steve Canyon, a comic strip which he lettered for twelve years. He was also responsible for publishing ninety-nine issues of Dick Tracy in 1984, later collecting them as twenty-four graphic novels.
We at Bat-Shark Repellent salute Shel Dorf for his contribution to Comics. Legions of comics fans and creators alike are forever in your debt. Thank you.