Inkie, by Al Stahl

Al Stahl was an American animator, who worked for Terrytoons and the Fleischer Studios in the 1930s, but established his own cartoon studio, Animated Productions, Inc., in the 1950s, specializing in animated TV commercials. In between he was active drawing comics for National/DC, Fiction House, Quality Comics, including the 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit' comic books.  Stahl furthermore created the newspaper comic, 'Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective' (1945-1946).

Animation career
Alvin "Yester" Stahl was born in 1916 in Yonkers, New York, as the child of German-Jewish immigrants. His father sold furniture. In the early 1930s Stahl applied for a job as assistant-animator at Terrytoons. According to his son, Milt Stahl, Al was confronted with a huge line of job applicants and didn't want to wait. Instead he climbed inside the studio through a window, took a seat somewhere and started making drawings. When somebody noticed him there he explained that he really wanted to be an animator. Since they liked his drawings they allowed him to work for the studio for a few weeks, but without payment. After a while Stahl was hired for real. During the same decade Stahl also worked as an animator at the Fleischer Brothers Studio.

Comics career
In the mid-1930s Stahl started drawing comic books. His early work appeared in National Periodicals (nowadays DC Comics) features like 'Doubtful Dave', 'Needles', 'Oswald the Rabbit' and 'Palion and Ossa', as well as Centaur's 'Porkchops 'n' Gravy'. In 1935 the company launched a comic book series based on the animated cartoon character 'Oswald the Lucky Rabbit', who was formely owned and created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, but since 1927 by Walter Lantz. Stahl illustrated Oswald's comic books. He also published the written course, 'The American Course of Cartooning' (1934) for the American School of Cartooning in Chicago, Illinois.

In the 1940s, he worked for several companies through the Baily and Iger studios, including Fiction House ('Captain Terry Thunder'), Feature Comics ('Freddie Freckles'), Novelty ('Lee O'Lion', cartoons), and mainly Quality Comics ('Blimpy', 'Death Patrol', 'Flatfoot Burns', 'Inkie', among others). In 1943 Stahl continued Al Jaffee's comic book title 'Inferior Man' for Feature Comics.  During World War II Stahl served in the U.S. army, but managed to get out of service, by pretending to be too frightened to climb high poles. After the war Stahl drew 'Flatfoot Burns, Star Detective', which ran in newspapers from 6 May 1945 until 3 November 1946.

Return to animation, final years and death
In 1951 Stahl returned to animation and established his own studio, American Film Producers, in Broadway. He and his brother renamed it Animated Productions, Inc. in 1952.  They mainly made animated advertisements and did so until the 1990s. Among their many clients were NBC, Margo Wines, Marvel Mystery Oil, Chunkynut Candy, Rinso and the Yonkers and Roosevelt Raceways.  The studio also provided animation for the documentary 'Black Fox' (1962), a short film about Hitler's rise to power, with narration by Hollywood legend Marlène Dietrich. Al Stahl died in 1999. 

Series and books by Al Stahl in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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