Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Elena Steier, friend of ComicsDC, has passed away

by Mike Rhode

This has only a peripheral ComicsDC relationship, but Elena kindly brought me into the editorial cartooning auction fold years ago. There used to be an annual event selling cartoons to benefit Young DC, Cartoons & Cocktails, and Elena brought me at least once, and maybe twice as her plus one. It was held at the National Press Club and was a moderately glitzy event for cartoonists. At the time, she was working on her strip,Vampire Bed and Breakfast. Since that event ended,  I had lost track of her, and I'm sorry about that. It looks like she stopped cartooning around 2017, based on her Facebook page.

Anyway, here's an official obituary.  I've followed it up with an article from 2010 that's vanished from the Internet, but which I've now archived. Also, one of the books mentioned in it as being for sale is still available at Lulu along with three others, so I've just bought a set in honor of Elena. "Slapped Together Comics Vol. One" (2002) an anthology that she edited, doesn't seem to be available anymore, but I own a copy of that somewhere.


How a Local Cartoonist Found Her True Calling
Popular West Hartford Art League teacher Elena Steier tells her story.
By Ronni Newton | December 10, 2010
http://westhartford articles/ how-a-local- cartoonist- found-her- true-calling

"Oh my goodness – for at least 20 years!" said Elena Steier when asked how long she had been a cartoonist. "I was a late starter."

She was very young when she married husband Rod Steier, and she earned her bachelor's degree at age 28 while pregnant with her fourth child. Still uncertain of her long-term career aspirations, she took a few art classes, focusing on illustration. Eventually she started creating cartoons, which ran every week in the West Hartford News.

"Then I decided to become a teacher," said Steier, who entered the Alternate Route to Teacher Certification (ARC) program. Steier did fine in her coursework, earning her certification to teach high school English, "but I originally flunked the student teaching part of the program," she said. That unfortunate experience, and a suggestion from one of her students, became the catalyst that turned Steier's career path toward cartooning.

"I thought to myself, if I could make almost as much money as a cartoonist as I could teaching, I could make it work," laughed Steier. She knew her strength in teaching was explaining how to dissect stories, and she soon was hired to create storyboards. She did backgrounds for the "Nancy" cartoon and also worked with Mike Peters, creator of the "Mother Goose & Grimm" strip. She created a few of her own strips and political cartoons, which were distributed through weekly syndications, and also did some work for ESPN and Nickelodeon.

"Now I concentrate on cartooning," said Steier, who has seven different blogs where she can upload cartoons on a daily basis. She has her own unique and personal style, which she calls very much unschooled, and labeled it as: "Elena's version of the old-style 'Mad' cartoons." Studying the work of cartoonists Will Elder, Jack Davis, and Wally Wood also influenced the development of her style.

She uses a program called "stripShow" which allows comics to easily be uploaded to her blogs. Her popular "Goth Scouts" comic can be viewed on the site www.gothscout. com. Her other work, including current and archived editorial and political cartoons, can be found at www.greatstufforama .com, www.americanblogres, and www.queenofthecosmo

"Now I also teach," said Steier. "I love the kids, and I have figured out my own technique to get them to draw a lot. The more they draw, the better they get, and the more they want to draw."

She teaches cartooning classes on Saturday mornings through the West Hartford Art League, and some of her students' work can even be viewed at www.whaltoons. com. She encourages her students, many of whom are just 8 or 9 years old, to tell stories through their pictures. "When they're that young, they don't need to worry about style yet," she said.

Steier has also published several books, including "The Living Dawn of the Night of the Goth Scouts." That book is available at, as is "Fringe: A Cartoon History of the George Dubya Bush Years."

"It's really a good chronicle of those years and gets into stuff a lot of others wouldn't touch," said Steier, whose sarcastic creativity can't help but make you laugh, even if you don't agree with her.

When asked whose work she most enjoys reading these days, Steier said, "I really enjoy the new guys who are working on web comics." Some of her favorites are "Hanna is Not a Boy's Name" by Tessa Stone and "Kiskaloo" by Chris Sanders. She also likes W.I.T.C.H., an Italian/French superhero comic series by Elisabetta Gnone, "Bone" by Jeff Smith, and "Goon" by Eric Powell – which is being made into an animated movie.

Any career changes in the future? Not likely for Steier, who said, "This is good." 

No comments: