Hames Ware – RIP

Artist and comics historian and comic art identifier Hames Ware has passed away.

AUGUST 20, 1943 – SEPTEMBER 5, 2018

From Karen Green’s September 6 Facebook post:

In June, I went to Arkansas to meet with Hames Ware, a genius of Golden Age comics research and co-editor of THE WHO’S WHO OF AMERICAN COMIC BOOKS. We spent a few days together, walking and talking about everything you could imagine. He was in some pain from his cancer, but he was pretty functional.

We had a couple of phone conversations after that, during one of which he recited the entire James Whitcomb Riley poem “Little Orphant Annie” for my benefit. He’d spent a great deal of his life doing radio voiceovers, and he could do wonderful character voices.

In mid-August, I returned to Little Rock to pack up Hames’ astonishing treasure trove of research materials and ship them to Columbia. His condition was much worse; he was mostly confined to a recliner. But his spirits were as genial and cheerful as ever.

His sister, who has been taking care of him, believed he was really keeping himself going for my visit, and for his 75th birthday, which was August 20, the day after I left.

We texted back and forth; the last I heard from him was August 26.

His sister texted me yesterday to let me know that Hames passed away in the morning. As she put it, he’s with their parents and brother now.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had the chance to get to know this kind-hearted and brilliant man. I will miss him more than I can say.

Hames was co-editor and cover credited of the 1970s compilation and publication of the Who’s Who of American Comic Books. When the information was updated and put online Jerry Bails said in the acknowledgements:
The first edition of the Who’s Who, which appeared as a 4-volume set back in the mid-1970s, was co-edited by Hames Ware, as knowledgeable an art identifier as one will find anywhere. His massive contributions to the first edition are included herein as well.



Later Hames would team with Paul Leiffer to compile The Comic Strip Project, an uncompleted list of comic strips and comic strip creators.


above: a page from Hames’ research, via Karen Green


Both the Who’s Who and the Comic Strip Project are most valuable resources.



Hames artwork can be viewed at his Drawings by Hames site.

2 thoughts on “Hames Ware – RIP

  1. So long Hames. It has been such a pleasure to get to know you these past 15 years, to hang out with you and Mike and eat catfish and get to know classic animation.

    You were such a warm, friendly, kind, generous soul. I loved and was always amazed by your knowledge of voice actors and your attention to detail on the contributors to comics and animation.

    The world was a better place for your presence.

  2. Hames has always been the only person that I could never call on the phone without my slipping into a ridiculous cartoony voice. He was a professional at voices and I couldn’t help but want to emulate him. My attempts were usually pathetic but Hames would always laugh and play along. It was that playfulness that set him apart. That and a lifelong character trait that I call true integrity.
    I first met Hames through my sister Rhonda’s friendship with him in high school when I was only 16. I learned quickly that he was something very special. Not everyone you visit throws you a script when you walk in the door, or assigns you a “character” and then immediately flips on the tape recorder. Of course, I wasn’t the only one; if you were a friend of Hames, you were on tape, my friend. In a few minutes you would be transformed into Trooper Cooper or Aunt Mary; or bumbling around in Ye Old Curiosity Shop or hanging out with jailbirds in my favorite skit called Pigs in the Pen. Scores of us would get sucked in and create hours of intimate magic in Hames’ Pine Bluff attic.
    Hames was the actual “star of the show” but his real happiness showed when he was encouraging all of us amateur actors to shine. I didn’t realize it at the time but he was planting seeds in his friends that would bloom either sooner or later. His arty voodoo might best be demonstrated in the title of his favorite song, I’ll Put a Spell on You, by Screaming Jay Hawkins.
    For myself, the pursuit of a creative life in the arts and the spiritual meaning of it wouldn’t occur for many years, and quite honestly, I didn’t fully realize how deeply Hames had affected my aspirations until last week. So, I’ll take this moment, Hames, to thank you for all of that; and to ask forgiveness for my inattention.
    There was much more to come in Hames’ professional life that I won’t attempt to list. In short, his many talents and generosity would be recognized not only by his friends, but also gain international recognition.
    Today, I live faraway and I must admit to being jealous of local folks who were able to share more of Hames’ adult life. Time and distance are formidable obstacles but when we did get together, it always felt like we had just seen each other the day before. A sign of true friendship, I’m sure. His love and inspiration I will cherish forever.

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