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1943 Phoenix Press
1951-07 Popular Teenagers
1945-06 Suspense Comics
1952-03 Crime Fighting
1948-08 Suspense Comics
1954-09 Ghostly Weird
1949-07 Gangster Comic
1957-10 Pursued
1949 Paperback Book
1959 Classics Illus.
1950 Paperback Book
1967-02 World Rod & Gun












(1918 - 1995)

L. B. Cole was born Leonard "Lenny" Hildebrandt Cohen on August 28, 1918 in the Bronx, New York City. His father, William F. Cohen, was born in 1893 in NYC of Austrian Jewish ancestry. His mother, Jean Fisher, was born in 1896 in NYC of Russian Jewish ancestry. His parents married in 1917. He was their only child. The newlyweds lived in the Bronx at 1053 Southern Boulevard, at the home of the widowed maternal grandmother, Yetta Fisher, born in 1873 in Russia. Also living at the same apartment were four of the bride's younger sisters, Freda Fisher (b.1898), Nellie Fisher (b.1902), Della Fisher (b.1906), and Annabelle Fisher (b.1908), which meant that little Lenny was raised in a home with a mother, grandmother, and four aunts, while his father worked as a salesman of men's clothing.

In 1924 the Cohen Family left the Bronx and moved to 515 West 168th Street, in the Washington Heights section of Uppermost Manhattan, where Lenny attended the local public school.

In June of 1931 Leonard H. Cohen, age twelve, completed the eighth grade of public school. At that time the marriage of his parents ended unhappily in divorce. Instead of dividing custody between his parents, Lenny went to live with his widowed paternal grandfather, Charles J. Cohen (b.1864), in an apartment at 300 West 106th Street. His grandfather was the owner of a successful cigar factory in Brooklyn.

When the summer of 1931 was over, instead of returning to school, Lenny entered the workforce. His first job was at his grandfather's cigar factory, where he eventually became interested in a career as a designer of labels and packaging.

On September 16, 1932 his mother married her second husband, Harold Henigson, a stock broker born in 1902 in NYC of Russian Jewish ancestry. Mrs. Jean Fisher Henigson lived with her new husband at 245 West 107th Street, which was only one block from Lenny's new home at his grandfather's apartment on 106th Street.

According to the artist, his mother, Jean Fisher (Cohen) Henigson, earned extra income as a freelance commercial artist, and had work published in The New York Journal American.

In 1934 Lenny's father changed his name from William F. Cohen to William F. Cole, after that legal process, Leonard Hildebrandt Cohen, age fifteen, became Leonard Brandt Cole.

In 1936 Lenny left his grandfather's cigar factory to join the art staff at the company that printed their cigar box labels. During his next three years with the Consolidated Lithographing Corporation at 1013 Grand Street in Brooklyn, Lenny received a formative apprenticeship in the graphic design of advertising, labels and posters, in which the main criteria is visual impact.

On June 4, 1939 Leonard Brandt Cole, age twenty, married Blanche Ellen Miller, the twenty-two-year-old divorced daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Samuel Martin. The newlyweds moved to 6229 84th Street in Flushing, Queens, NY.

In 1940 the U.S. Census recorded Leonard Cole, age twenty-one, as a "commercial artist," who lived with his widowed and retired grandfather, Charles J. Cohen, age seventy-five, at 300 West 106th Street.

In 1942 L. B. Cole painted book covers for Phoenix Press, an erotic publishing company affiliated with Harry Donenfeld and Paul Sampliner. Another artist who worked for this company at that time was Charles L. McCann.

In 1943 L. B. Cole began to work for Louis Goodman Ferstadt (1901-1954), an older artist with a long career in newspapers. The Ferstadt Art Studio, at 45 Astor Place, supplied artwork for comic books produced by Ace Publications, such as Super-Mystery Comics, Lightning Comics, and Four Favorites. The owners of that company were Warren A. Angel and A. A. Wyn.

During WWII Leonard Brandt Cole could not pass the physical exam for service in the military. As more experienced artists were drafted, the publishing industry struggled to fill the void, and L. B. Cole became increasingly productive.

In 1944 L. B. Cole joined the staff of Continental Magazines at 220 West 42nd Street, which produced Suspense Comics and Terrific Comics. The business was owned by Frank Z. Temerson. Other staff members included Chris Schaare, Charles Quinlan, and Rae Herman.

On April 24, 1945 the artist's grandfather, Charles J. Cohen, died at the age of eighty-one.

On December 1, 1946 L. B. Cole and his wife, Blanche Helen (Miller) Cole, had a daughter, Jean Ellen Cole.

In 1949 L. B. Cole bought from Novelty Press the right to use the characters that appeared in Blue Bolt Comics, after which he founded Star Publications to continue production.

During the 1950s L. B. Cole painted covers for digests and paperback novels. His work was published by Superior Publications, which was owned by Robert W. Farrell.

By 1954 the publishing industry of pulps and comic books was rocked by political scandal, self-censorship, and diminishing sales, which resulted from the growing popularity of television. As the industry shrank, many artists and publishers looked for new sources of income.

In 1955 L. B. Cole stopped production of Star Publications.

In 1959 and 1960 L. B. Cole contributed to Classics Illustrated Junior.

In 1962 L. B. Cole became an art editor at Dell Publications.

In 1966 L. B. Cole was the art editor of a short-lived sporting magazine, World Rod & Gun, which was produced by Ace Publications as a knockoff of a more successful magazine, American Rod & Gun, from Fiction House Publications.

In his final years L. B. Cole enjoyed rediscovery by comic book fans, who celebrated his life's work with honors, tributes, and awards.

In 1990 L. B. Cole contributed illustrations to a fanzine of 3-D Exotic Beauties.

L. B. Cole died at the age of seventy-seven in Flushing, Queens, NY, on December 5, 1995.

                             © David Saunders 2017

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