Allan Bellman, a beloved Golden Age artist who worked at Timely and Atlas in the years before they became Marvel Comics, has passed away. He was 95 years old. Bellman war born in June of 1924 and would become one of the earliest artists to draw Captain America. Over the course of his career, he would work on numerous Timely and Atlas Comics, including All Winners Comics, Young Allies, The Human Torch, Sub Mariner Comics. As with so many of the Golden Age artists, he would go on to work on more than just superheroes, with Westerns, jungle adventures, mysteries, and of course war comics creeping into his oeuvre.
Apparently a modest man, Bellman maintained a personal website that included a history of Timely Comics, in which his name is not actually mentioned, even though many of the comics he worked on are. According to his bio, in smaller lettering at the bottom of that page, "I eventually became a staff artist at Timely during the Golden Age of comics and worked on titles such as: The Patriot, The Destroyer, The Human Torch, Jap Buster Johnson and Jet Dixon of the Space Squadron, All Winners Comics, Marvel Mystery, Sub Mariner Comics, Young Allies and so much more."
"Sad to hear of the passing of Allen Bellman," Hawkeye: Freefall's Matthew Rosenberg said on Twitter. "Rode to the airport with him and his wife after a con, and when I told him I wrote for Marvel, he lit up. He was genuinely thrilled people still loved and cared for the characters and universe he helped forge. Its an honor to carry the torch."
"Very sad to hear of the passing of comic book legend Allen Bellman," said Clerks star Brian O'Halloran. "I always made it a habit to stop by his table at the various comic cons to say hello to him and his wife. Always a pleasure to talk to and listen to his stories. He was an original."
"Years ago, when we saved the Superman House, Allen made one of the first donations," added comic writer and TV host Brad Meltzer. "He understood the value of history — and also how our industry sadly treats and overlooks its elders. Amazingly, Allen was never bitter. He was a sun, hining from his booth, thankful for this life and all that comics gave him. If I live to be that old, I pray I can have that light and excitement and thankfulness forever in me."
There are dozens more such stories online tonight, with fans and professionals pouring out their hearts. The common threads are Bellman's kindness, his optimism, his passion for storytelling, and the genuine pleasure he seemed to get out of being on the convention circuit, meeting the next generations of writers and artists and connecting with the fans, young and old, that his stories and those that followed them helped to inspire.
Our condolences go out to Mr. Bellman's family and friends.