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November 19, 2010

Reginald Pitt, 1929-2010


According to a full and vigorous obituary written by Mark Juddery for the Sydney Morning-Herald which is by far the most important repository of information on its subject matter, Reginald Pitt, an Australian cartoonist best known for his collaborations with his late brother Stanley in the tradition of classic adventure comic strips, has died.

imageBorn to a family of 11 in a suburb of Sydney in 1929, Pitt grew up making comics with his older brother Stanley John Pitt. They began their collaborations at almost exactly the same time the government banned foreign comic books in a way that kickstarted what was for a time a very successful domestic industry. Pitt's first professional work was drawing backgrounds and contributing written material to his brother's strip Silver Starr In The Flame World. In 1949 the brothers Pitt created the comic book character Yarmak for Young's Merchandising. The younger brother was responsible for co-writing the feature (with Frank Ashley), lettering and panel layouts, while the older brother provided the dynamic figure work in the style of Alex Raymond that distinguished the work at the time and continues to drive fan interest.

The Pitts continued their collaboration even after the elder began to solicit work from North America and the younger began to take on graphic design assignments. Mark Juddery notes a full-page comic strip from the early 1960s based on the science fiction classic The Stars My Destination that fell prey to legal snafus, communication difficulties and formatting issues, becoming one of the great "lost" works in strip history (the pages were printed in a 2001 collection). Its full story is told here, including Reginald's involvement in the writing, design and background drawing of the feature, and how the brothers' work was delayed and then partly funded by an accident Reginald had in a taxi cab and the compensation he then received from same. In the 1970s, Reginald joined his older brother in overseas work for DC and Gold Key. His credits include Witching Hour, Boris Karloff Tales Of Mystery and Twilight Zone.

Pitt retired in the 1990s. He suffered a quadruple bypass four years ago and lived out the remainder of his days in a convalescent community.

He is survived by a daughter, a sister and a brother. Stanley Pitt preceded his brother in death, passing away in 2002.

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