Biography of Irvin I. Steinberg


Richard Steinberg was kind enough to send me the following:

I spoke to Charles Cuidera, Sr. on Sunday, July 8 - his son was gracious enough to provide me with his address and telephone number. I was gratified to learn that Mr. Cuidera did indeed know my father, Irvin Steinberg, and in fact hired him personally early in 1953 (a year earlier than I assumed) when Mr. Cuidera was art director for Quality. He told me that my father worked on a number of Blackhawk stories (1953-54) as a penciller, and that Reed Crandall or Cuidera himself did the inks for these stories. He also informed me that he occasionally met with my father to discuss the scripts, and how the stories should be realized visually. Mr. Cuidera also stated that it was possible that my father may have done a cover or two for Blackhawk, as I have a printer's proof for issue #69 (10/53), although this was not certain. Mr. Cuidera also informed me that my father did pencils for G.I. Combat stories, and extensive work for romance comics (titles unspecified) for Quality as well. Mr. Cuidera confirmed that my father also did covers as well as feature stories for T-Man and Web of Evil, both titles being Quality publications. I asked Mr. Cuidera if he knew the circumstances leading to my father's departure from the comic book field, and he replied that circulation was declining for many of these titles and that he was forced to lay off my father and many others working for Quality at the end of 1954 - this was not his choice, but a directive from above. Mr. Cuidera called my father "One of the top artists" and stated in no uncertain terms that he only hired the best. While he was unable to provide me with specifics as to precisely what stories for Blackhawk (and other titles) my father actually worked on, Mr. Cuidera's recollections were, for me, extremely welcome and valuable, as I learned more about my father's contribution to comics, and I share all of this with you. More information about my father, if you want it: He was also the principal artist for Hopalong Cassidy comic books when they were published by Fawcett, doing all the line-drawn covers from at least issue #4 through #12, and he did nearly all the feature stories from issue #4 (possibly from issue #2, actually) through Fawcett's last issue (#85). He also worked on Captain Marvel from 1944-53, and was probably a member of the Jack Binder studio during some of this era. I suspect he also worked on Captain Midnight comics, and he did the cover for Spy Smasher #4 (late 1941) just before he went into the army. He also did work on Crack Western for Quality, and I think he may have done some stories for Lash LaRue along with Hopalong when they were both published by Fawcett, but I would have to see these comics again to confirm this.

My father was born in New York City (lower east side) in 1916, and died in 1993. After high school, he attended the National Academy of Design on a scholarship, and then enrolled in Cooper Union for further study. He apparently got into the comic book field shortly after finishing school, his career being interrupted by military service. He returned to Fawcett in 1944, and did a tremendous amount of work in comic books for the next ten years. When conditions made it impossible for him to continue, he switched to a different type of commercial art, but the happiest (and most lucrative) time of his life was when he was working in comics. Had he lived a bit longer, into the Internet era, I believe he would have received a great deal of accolades and would be having the time of his life going to comic book conventions, schmoozing with other surviving Golden Age artists and the like. Alas, this was not to be.


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