Gil Turner was an American animator whose worked for various legendary cartoon studios, such as Disney, Warner Brothers, MGM, Walter Lantz, UPA, Hanna-Barbera and Format Films. He also drew comic books based on characters from these studios.
Turner was born in 1913. He worked as an iceman before starting out as an animator at the Disney Studios in January 1933. His stay was so brief that no known credits to his work there have survived. He joined the Harman-Ising Studios one year later, who would eventually evolve into Warner Brothers' animation department. Despite a small stint at Jam Handy's studio at Detroit, which specialized in industrial and promotional films he returned to Warners by 1938 where he would stay until halfway the 1940s, mainly under direction of Friz Freleng. He worked anonymously on such Looney Tunes classics as 'The Trial of Mr. Wolf' (1941), 'Rhapsody in Rivets' (1941), 'The Wabbit Who Came to Supper' (1942), 'Fresh Hare' (1942), 'Pigs In A Polka' (1943) and 'Little Red Riding Rabbit' (1944).
Around 1948 Turner joined MGM, where he was an animator on Tex Avery's 'What Price Fleadom?' (1948) and a few Barney the Bear' shorts by Preston Blair and Michael Lah. Between 1953 and 1955 he briefly worked at Walter Lantz' studio on several 'Woody Woodpecker' and 'Chilly Willy' shorts, before joining UPA for an equally brief time as a director/animator on the 'Mr. Magoo' series until the end of the decade. Turner concluded his animation career at the Hanna-Barbera Studios, where he worked on TV series like 'The Flintstones' and 'Yogi Bear'. He also directed several episodes of 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' for Format Films in the early 1960s before passing away in 1967.
Although mainly active in animation, Turner also worked as a comics artist from the mid-1940s on. Together with Jim Davis he worked freelance through the Sangor Shop for companies like Better Publications, Dearfield Comics and ACG ('Little Pancho Vanilla') and funny animal comics for Coo Coo, Giggle, Barnyard and Ha-Ha. At Dell Comics he mainly drew comics based on Warner Brothers characters like 'Bugs Bunny', 'Porky Pig' and 'Sniffles & Mary Jane', followed by stories about the MGM character 'Barney Bear'. During this same period he also scripted 'Barney' comics which were illustrated by Carl Barks. Barks, however, couldn't really identify with the characters and often rewrote dialogue and plot developments to fit his own personality. Eventually he departed from the series, leaving Turner in charge of both text and illustration. One of Turner's innovations was Barney's antagonistic neighbour Mooseface McElk.
Fox and Coon
The artist was also a regular contributor to Dell's 'Walt Disney's Comics and Stories' from 1947 on, where he was one of the original artists to create stories about the Big Bad Wolf and his good-natured son Lil' Bad Wolf. Colleagues who also drew comics about these wolves around the same time were Carl Buettner, Roger Armstrong, Harvey Eisenberg, Jack Bradbury, Ken Champin and Paul Murry. Turner drew comics starring 'Mickey Mouse', 'Bucky Bug' and 'Dumbo' too.
While Turner predominantly drew comics based on characters others created he also had two original newspaper comics of his own, namely 'Trudy' (1947-1948), 'Chico' (1948-1949) published in the teen magazine Cookie and 'Holly Wood' (1950) which could be read in the weekly Redwood Journal from California.