Comic strip and comic book cartoonist Batton Lash has passed away.
BATTON A. LASH (né Vito Marangi)
October 29, 1953 – January 12, 2019
Wife Jackie Estrada has announced the news:
He’s gone. Batton Lash, the love of my life, my husband of nearly 25 years, left us this morning at 11:00. The brain cancer that he had so valiantly fought for the last two years suddenly recurred in November and was very aggressive. He died in our home accompanied by friends, family, and caregivers.
Batton began his career in the 1970s as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. His career involved advertising/commercial accounts and comic books among a number of publications and agencies.
In September 1979 he began his Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre comic strip for the weekly Brooklyn Paper.
The characters were created by cartoonist Batton Lash, who in 1979 was charged with the task of producing a weekly comic strip for a Brooklyn paper called The Brooklyn Paper. Reflecting that its readers included a lot of lawyers (circulation was excellent in Brooklyn’s court district), he decided on lawyers as a theme — lawyers who specialize in cases with supernatural elements, such as cross-examining The Bride of Frankenstein in a divorce proceeding, and representing an infernal creature whose civil rights are violated by a vampire slayer. Alanna Wolff and Jeff Byrd first appeared in that year’s Sept. 19 issue.
Batton also did other cartooning and illustrating work for the paper:
In 1979 Brooklyn Paper Publications asked him to create a comic strip and Lash came up with “Wolff & Byrd, Counselors of the Macabre,” which ran in The Brooklyn Paper until 1996 and in The National Law Journal from 1983 to 1997. He also did editorial cartoons for The Brooklyn Paper off and on for a 12-year period, did courtroom graphics for two cases, and prepared charts for The New York Daily News advertising department for sales meetings and in-house presentations.
Between The Brooklyn Paper and The National Law Journal it would run as a comic strip for nearly 20 years. During and after that time the creation would be also published in comic book formats.
I never got The Brooklyn Paper but I do remember the strip running in the Comics Buyer’s Guide.
In 2009 Batton began a collaboration with James D. Hudnall on the Obama Nation web comic.
One thought on “Batton Lash – RIP”
I’m devastated. Batton was one of my first professional friends in comics — we met at my first Fred Greenberg convention as a guest at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York in 1989 or ’90. He was always supportive, friendly and approachable, and I’ve always considered him a good friend. I will miss him.
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