Comic Creator Spotlight: Batman artist Don Newton’s early fanzine covers

Peter Hansen is a comic art and comic collector well known for his interest in British creators and titles – but his interests extend beyond our shores. He’s recently shared some rare early art by the late American Batman artist Don Newton with fellow comic fans – covers for the short-lived 1970s fanzine, Golden Age Collector, published by the Science Fiction and Comics Association.

Born 12th November 1934, Don Newton worked for a number of US comic book publishers over a career cut tragically short, including Charlton Comics, DC Comics, and Marvel Comics. He’s best known for his work on The Phantom, Aquaman, and Batman, but also drew several Captain Marvel/Marvel Family stories.

(Newton was a fan of the character, having studied under Captain Marvel co-creator, C. C. Beck).

Golden Age Collector #3 - Cover by Don Newton
The cover of Golden Age Collector #3 as published, in colour

Peter kindly shared three Golden Age Collector covers, drawn when Newton was producing artwork for a variety of fanzines, including doing fabulous work in the Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector.

Don Newton’s cover for Rocket's Blast Comic Collector #89
Don Newton’s cover for Rocket’s Blast Comic Collector #89

Sadly, Newton died of a massive heart attack in 1984, aged 50, after dealing with months of a debilitating throat ailment. A fan of the All-Star Squadron, his last published work was for DC’s Infinity Inc., but prior to this he’d drawn issues of Green Lantern and drew first appearance of Jason Todd in Batman #357 (March 1983), the character who became the second Robin.

“I have always had a real soft spot for comic fanzines and the appearance of Don Newton onto the US fandom scene was epic,” Peter Hansen enthuses of the artist. “These are the three and only three covers for this fanzine.

“He died just as he was hitting his stride with some fabulous Green Lantern and Batman artwork,” Peter noted. “Sometimes, life isn’t fair.”

DC published Tales of the Batman: Don Newton, a hardcover collection of Newton's Batman stories, in 2011
DC published Tales of the Batman: Don Newton, a hardcover collection of Newton’s Batman stories, in 2011

Paying tribute to Don back in after his death in a “Meanwhile” column published in DC comics, fellow artist Dick Giordano, described him as “a true professional.

“He made his deadlines, was completely absorbed in his work, never complained or made excuses, and didn’t spend a lot of time on the phone either to the office or to his fellow professionals. When he had to, he phoned. Otherwise, he preferred to spend his time drawing.

“To my mind, Don’s final statement was the Green Lantern Corps story he penciled and inked that appeared in Green Lantern #181. he showed us how to do it right.

“All Don ever wanted was to be a cartoonist. He did it well. I wish he could have done it longer.”

DC published Tales of the Batman: Don Newton, a hardcover collection of Newton’s Batman stories, in 2011.

Don Newton, 12th November 1934 – 19th August 1984

• The Don Newton Fan Site offering a selection of his work and a guide to his career is currently offline, but a 2020 capture of the site is here on Wayback

Comic Art Fans: Don Newton art

MyComicShop – Golden Age Collector (1970) Guide

Wikipedia: Don Newton

Mike’s Amazing World: Don Newton story checklist

• Buy Tales of the Batman: Don Newton (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)

With thanks to Peter Hansen

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Art and Illustration, Comic Art, Cover Art, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds, Superhero Comics, US Comics

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