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Guide to the Chase Craig Collection, 1924-1980
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Overview of the Collection
  • Biographical Information:
  • Access Terms
  • Administrative Information
  • Arrangement of Materials:
  • Scope and Contents

  • Overview of the Collection

    Collection Title: Chase Craig Collection
    Dates: 1924-1980
    Identification: SC/CCC
    Creator: Craig, Chase, 1910-2002
    Physical Description: 16.26 linear feet
    Language of Materials: English
    Repository: Special Collections
    Abstract: W. Chase Craig (1910-2002) illustrated, wrote and produced comic books from the mid 1930's until his retirement from Western Printing and Lithography in 1975. Craig wrote and drew the first issues of Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, and Merrie Melodies for Western Printing and Lithography. Western's Los Angeles office issued comics based on Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz, MGM, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Hanna-Barbera characters, and popular TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s.

    Biographical Information:

    W. Chase Craig (1910-2002) illustrated, wrote, and produced comic books from the mid 1930s until his retirement from Western Printing and Lithography in 1975. He graduated from the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in 1934, and soon started working for the Christian Science Monitor, where he drew the Little Chauncey cartoon. The following year he moved to Hollywood, CA where he started as assistant animator on Oswald Rabbit for Walter Lantz. In the mid to late 1930s, Craig worked for Tex Avery, then moved to the Los Angeles Daily News to help on the Charlie McCarthy newspaper strip. He developed and sold the syndicated strip, Odd Bodkins, joining Western Publishing soon after. In 1942, Craig enlisted in the US Navy. During the war he worked at the Navy's "Vine Street Press" drawing illustrations for aviator training manuals. In 1950, he became an editor at Western Printing and Lithography, rising to Managing Editor and Executive Editor.
    Western started a line of comic books that they would produce and print, and that Dell Publishing would publish. Craig wrote and drew the first issues of Bugs Bunny, Looney Tunes, and Merrie Melodies for the company. Western's Los Angeles office issued comics based on Walt Disney Studios, Walter Lantz, MGM, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Hanna-Barbera characters, and popular TV shows of the 1950s and 1960s. Dell split off from Western in 1962, and Western became the parent company of Gold Key and Whitman comics. Gold Key comics licensed many characters from Warner Bros., Disney, and Walter Lantz. The Whitman logo occasionally appears on some issues of Gold Key titles. Western ceased publishing comics in 1984.

    Access Terms

    This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.

    Genre/Form of Material:

    Paper records

    Topical Term:

    Comic books, strips, etc. -- United States

    Administrative Information



    Processing Information:

    Tony Gardner

    Conditions Governing Use:

    Copyright for unpublished materials authored or otherwise produced by the creator(s) of this collection has not been transferred to California State University, Northridge. Copyright status for other materials is unknown. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

    Conditions Governing Access:

    The collection is open for research use.

    Preferred Citation:

    For information about citing items in this collection consult the appropriate style manual, or see the Citing Archival Materials  guide.

    Related Materials:

    Arrangement of Materials:

    Series I: Dell Comics, 1939-1960
    Series II: Gold Key and Marvel Comics, 1949-1980
    Series III: Personal, 1939-1979
    Series IV: Oversized Materials, 1924-1941

    Scope and Contents

    The Chase Craig Collection documents the career of Chase Craig, an illustrator, writer, editor, and producer of comic books. The bulk of the collection consists of comic books produced while Craig worked for Western Publishing from 1939-1975. This includes comics published by the Dell Publishing Company's Dell Comics and Western Publishing imprints, Gold Key Comics, and Whitman Comics. It also contains a small number of Marvel Comics published in the late 1970s, as well as several aviation training manuals Craig illustrated for the US Navy during World War II, and some personal items from Craig's career. The collection includes comic books, large feature comics, premiums from cold cereal boxes, correspondence, scrapbooks, sketches, newspaper clippings, window display ads, training manuals, editorial cartoons, and comic strips, and is organized into four major series: Dell Comics (1939-1960), Gold Key and Marvel Comics (1944-1980), Personal (1924-1979), and Oversized Materials (1924-1941).
    Series I,Dell Comics, consists of premiums from cold cereal boxes, one shots, large feature comics, four-color comics, bimonthlies, and quarterlies issued primarily by the Dell Publishing Company, with a few issued by Famous Funnies and Eastern Color. Included are several bound compilations such as "Walt Disney's Comics and Stories," "New Funnies," and "Four Color Comics." This series contains issues featuring Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Andy Panda, Woody Woodpecker, and The Cisco Kid, among others. It also includes many issues from individual series such as Popeye, Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies, Tom and Jerry, and the first twelve issues of Dell's original "Felix the Cat" comics from 1948-1950. Materials are filed alphabetically by title.
    Series II, Gold Key and Marvel Comics, contains Gold Key and Marvel comics published between 1944 and 1980, with the bulk of the material published in the 1960s and 1970s. The series includes Gold Key and Whitman series titles such as The Adventures of Mighty Mouse, Fat Albert, Flash Gordon, The Pink Panther, Star Trek, Tarzan of the Apes, Tom and Jerry, Space Family Robinson, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, and the Road Runner, among others. The series also contains several titles licensed from Hanna-Barbera for Marvel Comics, including The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, and Yogi Bear. Materials are roughly grouped by publisher and filed in loose alphabetical order by title.
    Series III, Personal, contains scrapbooks, comic strip art, window display cartoons, production artwork, and correspondence from 1924-1979. This includes newspaper clippings of comic strips that Craig created throughout his career such as Little Chauncey, Hollywood Hams, and Odd Bodkins. The series also contains correspondence concerning the rights to the name and ideas behind the science-fiction comic book series, "Space Family Robinson," the television show, "Lost in Space," and several aviation training manuals from the Vine Street Press featuring Craig's illustrations. Additionally, there are some sketches and rough drafts of comics including several stories of The Pink Panther drawn in pencil. Materials are filed alphabetically by title.
    Series IV, Oversized Materials, consists of items that require special storage because of their size. This includes scrapbooks of Odd Bodkins clippings and some of Craig's first published drawings, artwork, comic strips, animation sheets, newspaper clippings, and a 1978 Hanna-Barbera calendar. Materials are filed alphabetically by title.