Dan Flagg, by Don Sherwood

Don Sherwood was an American cartoonist with a career that spanned six decades. A former Marine himself, he most notably created the 1960s newspaper comic 'Dan Flagg', which was an accurate portrayal and tribute to the work of the US Marines.

Sherwood came from rural New York, where he developed a passion for radio and movie entertainment. He got his first tutorials in comic art from 'Dick Tracy' creator Chester Gould, while he also studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and worked as a copy boy at the Chicago Daily News. Sherwood enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves and fought with the First Marine Division in the Korean War (1950-1953). Back in civilian life, he moved to New York, where he became a staff artist for the New York Mirror, and served as an illustrator for the comic strips 'Captain Flame' (1950s) for Al Smith Service, 'Cotton Woods' (1957-1958, succeeding Ray Gotto) for General Features and 'Will Chance' (1958-1962, with writers Norman Miller and Jim Gordon) for Columbia Features. He assisted George Wunder on 'Terry and the Pirates' in the early 1960s before developing his own creation 'Dan Flagg' in 1963.

Dan Flagg by Don Sherwood

Sherwood's Marine hero was a success upon its launch, and appeared as a weekly strip and Sunday comic in about 400 newspapers around the USA, including the New York Daily News, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Post. In the comic's final year, Sherwood was working with scriptwriter Jerry Thomas, while Archie Goodwin had helped with the writing in 1963-1964. During his five year run on the comic, Sherwood had worked with several ghost artists, including John Belfi, Angelo Torres, Larry Englehart, Doug Wildey, George Evans, Al McWilliams and Wallace Wood. It was syndicated by the McNaught Syndicate (1963-1965) and Bell-McClure (1966-1967).

Dan Flagg, by Don Sherwood

His positive portrayal of the US Marines, as well as his well-documented research, made him a respected promotor for the Marine Corps. He was even invited to lunch with President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House, along with the other military cartoonists Milton Caniff, Mort Walker, Bill Mauldin and George Wunder. However, public sentiment regarding the Vietnam War put an end to the popularity of Sherwood's comic and plans for a TV series starring Robert Taylor were cancelled.

Partridge FamilyPartridge Family

Sherwood then worked as a character designer for Hanna-Barbera and as a storyboard artist for Columbia Pictures. He also illustrated comic books for Charlton Comics in the period 1969-1976. He was present in the romance titles Career Girl Romances, Hollywood Romances, Love Diary, Teen Confessions and Teen-Age Love, and worked on comic books like 'The Partridge Family' and Lee Falk's 'The Phantom'. He returned to newspapers with his nostalgia feature 'Return With Us To...', which he made with writer Bill Owen for Copley News Service between 1978 and 1985. He made a comic adaptation of the 1940s radio program 'I Love A Mystery' for the Editors Press Service with Carlton E. Morse in the early 1980s.

Sergeant Preston of the Yukon by Don Sherwood
Sergeant Preston of the Yukon

With writer Stan Stunell, he made a comic strip based on the TV series 'Sergeant Preston of the Yukon', about a Canadian Mountie. It was syndicated by Lone Ranger Television in 1981 and 1982. He subsequently succeeded Gene Hazelton as the writer and artist of the syndicated comic strip based on Hanna-Barbera's 'The Flintstones' from 1986 to 1994. He was asked by radio and TV personality Dick Clark to make a Sunday comic adaptation of the radio program 'Dick Clark's Rock, Roll & Remember', in cooperation with Clark and writer Fred Bronson. It ran in papers like The New York Daily News and the Chicago Sun-Times in 1994 and 1995.

Don Sherwood has also drawn the 'Katy Keene' comic for Archie Comics in the mid 1980s, and produced artwork for the Roy Rogers Museum and The National Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He passed away on 6 March 2010 and was buried with full military honors at Quantico National Cemetery.

Dick Clark's Rock, Roll and Remember

Dan Flagg on Ger Apeldoorn's blog

Series and books by Don Sherwood in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:

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