Elena Steier – RIP

Cartoonist Elena Steier has passed away.

Elena (née: Vira) Steier

February 14, 1958 – March 1, 2024

From the obituary:

Elena Vira Steier passed away peacefully, surrounded by loving family, in the early hours of March 1, 2024 after a valiantly fought battle with cancer.

Back to the obituary:

An accomplished illustrator, author, and cartoonist, Steier created several comics and strips, such as The Ramp Rats (for the Detroit Metropolitan News), The Goth Scouts (for The South Shore Monthly Newspaper) and The Vampire Bed and Breakfast (a self-published comic book). Additional works have been published as locally as the West Hartford News and as far-reaching as ABC’s Monday Night Football.

That’s the beginning of a The Goth Scouts sequence above, more of those girls and a Queen of the Cosmos sequence by Elena are presented at Toons Up.

But those were later in her career. A career that began as an assistant to Guy Gilchrist on the Nancy comic strip and editorial cartoons for a local newspaper. From a Sequential Tart interview:

ST: You’ve worked as an assistant on some syndicated comic strips. Which ones and what, exactly, does an assistant do?

ES: I assisted on Nancy for Guy Gilchrist. I did most of the backgrounds. On Nancy, that’s fairly simple. Ernie Bushmiller was a clever guy. He developed the strip with an eye for simplicity so anybody with a straight edge could do the backgrounds.

ST: How did you begin to do editorial cartoons? What do you like best about producing single panel works?

ES: I’ve been doing editorials for about ten years locally. I never planned on sticking with it for so long. I went to the local paper and beat out another guy who was hankering to do the same simply because I came in with a cartoon every week and he did not. I was really an awful cartoonist at first because I don’t have an art background. But I improved. Single panels are really tough to do because you have to put a whole story in one picture.

ST: I know most independents have a day job – since it’s hard to break even let alone live off of your works – what do you do when you are not working on your comics?

ES: I have two strips and two weekly editorial cartoons that are syndicated by DBR Media. In addition, I do a feature called the Ramp Rats for The Airport News. Nine weekly papers in Connecticut carry my local cartoons. In addition, I freelance cartooning projects, such as web animations. I do javascripting and occasionally get web design work. It pays well, but I try to avoid it.

Suzy Q, The Dinosaur Circus, and The Block were all weekly comic strips distributed by DBR Media.

Allan Holtz describes these “well executed,” “funny stuff” 2000-2003 comic strips in a review of DBR Media.

Elena was a member of the National Cartoonists Society and the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Here is the mini-AAEC profile:

Elena Steier, young whippersnapper that she is, has been drawing editorial cartoons for longer than she’s been alive. Her work has appeared locally in the nine Imprint papers of the Farmington Valley, nationally as part of DBR Media, and internationally as a guest cartoonist in the Vladivostok News. View Elena’s work on the The Center for American Blogress and The Steier Striporama. Her Goth Scouts and The Vampire Bed and Breakfast run online for your 24 hour entertainment. The Vampire Bed and Breakfast won a Xeric Grant in 2003. The Goth Scouts appears monthly in the Great South Bay Magazine.

Elena has continued drawing editorial cartoons until recently.

We send deepest sympathies to Elena’s family and friends.

The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists remember Elena. As does Mike Rhode at Comics DC.

7 thoughts on “Elena Steier – RIP

  1. Elena and I last spoke less than a year ago. She was so upbeat! Her passing is breaking my heart. May she and Rod be reunited in a better place, they made such a great couple.

    1. Thanks Mike. I meant to link to the interview above and have now done so. Elena speaks of so much more than what is excerpted here about her career and her thoughts regarding cartooning.

      1. I dropped an entire interview that disappeared from Patch into the ComicsDC page too.

  2. I met Elena only once, at the AAEC convention in Washington DC in 2007. I was excited that an actual syndicated cartoonist would be willing to take time to talk to me, and she was excited that a cartooning historian would want to talk to her. We immediately formed a mutual admiration society. We were just getting into a great conversation about DBR Media when we were notified to shuffle off to the ballroom for rubber chicken. We never reconnected because I didn’t put in the effort. I should have tried harder, and I regret it. Screw you, cancer, you suck.

  3. I first met Elena when I ran a life drawing group at U of H. When I moved on Elena took over running the group. I occasionally dropped in. Elena would bring coffee and snacks for all. Besides being one of the greatest artists I was fortunate to know, she was one of the sweetest and kindest person that I was lucky to know. – Elena, we will miss you, but not forget you.

Comments are closed.