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Mel Keefer – RIP

Comic strip artist Mel Keefer has passed away.

Melvin James (Mel) Keefer
July 2, 1926 – February 11, 2022


comic strips, comic books, animation, illustrator

From the obituary:

A native Angeleno, Mel was born to Ida and Charles Keefer, later becoming big brother to Phyllis. His West Adams childhood revolved around two passions: sports and art. He excelled in track and field and loved football. Mel possessed a precocious gift for drawing realistically, so much so that Norman Rockwell penned a complimentary letter to Mel after seeing one of his sketches.

Immediately upon graduating Los Angeles High School., Mel enlisted in the Navy. He served two years before returning to Los Angeles to attend classes at Art Center and Chouinard on the G.I. Bill. But he most credited a Santa Monica school run by cartoonist Jefferson Machamer for forging his future.

Mel’s art career was stellar. He drew for dozens of syndicated comic strips and illustrated hundreds of books, news stories and animated cartoons. In 2007, Mel was awarded the Comic-Con Lifetime Achievement Inkpot Award. Perhaps Mel’s most noteworthy contribution to the art and sports world was Mac Divot, a syndicated daily comic strip that ran in 150 newspapers for over 20 years. For that, Mel was inducted into the Southern California Sports Hall of Fame in 2014.

From 1950 on Mel was drawing comic books and comic strips.


By the mid-1950s it was more comic strips than books.

Perry Mason 1950-51


Dragnet 1953


Gene Autry 1954-55


Mac Divot 1955-73


Willis Barton, M.D. (as “Otto Graff”) 1959


Thorne McBride 1960-63


Bash Brannigan – Secret Agent (as “Stanley Ford”) 1965


Rick O’Shay 1978-81


Mel was one of the comic artists “honored” to be swiped by Roy Lichtenstein.




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