Funny business: Career in comics and animation started with laughter

November 2015 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, People
Bob Foster shows his portfolio of comic book sketches and  covers, including “Disney’s DuckTales”.

Bob Foster shows his portfolio of comic book sketches and
covers, including “Disney’s DuckTales”.

By Tanner Russ

Bob Foster has led a storied life. He’s worked for Hanna-Barbera Productions, Marvel Comics and Disney Studios. His list of job titles have included layout artist, writer, artist and editor. Foster has seen and done a lot in the animation and comic book business.

There were several inspirations that pushed Foster towards the life of animation and story-telling. They started, as most things do, in childhood.

“It was there early on,” Foster said. “I read the comic strips, comic books but not the superhero stuff, maybe Superman and Batman but not more than that. I really liked the funny animal comics, Disney animals, Barney Bear, Pogo, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, all that funny animal stuff really struck a chord with me.”

A family friend encouraged Foster to pursue comic book writing.

“I had some comic books that I did when I was 10 years old, and there was a friend of my mother’s who was absolutely delighted and laughed a lot at everything I did. It wasn’t that funny, but she was very encouraging,” Foster said. “I think she had a lot to do with it. ”

Foster studied at Chouinard Art Institute.

“I wanted to be a magazine illustrator,” he said. “It was serious and nobody was laughing and everybody was trying to make things perfect and it was boring.

“The guys in the classroom next to me were laughing and having a good time, looking at movies and drawing cartoons. So I snuck in there and started hanging out with them. They were going into animation.”

Foster graduated from art school with a BFA in film. After a few years in the business, he published his Myron Moose Funnies in 1970 as an underground comic book. That led to a job offer from Marvel, where he wrote and drew for Crazy Magazine and created The Evolution and History of Moosekind. That turned into working for Disney.

For Foster, it wasn’t about where he worked, it was about the people he worked with.

“Throughout my career, I’ve always gone to where the people are that I like,” Foster said. “I like the work, but you got to like the people.”

The highlight of his career was going back to where it all began.

Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories, Donald Duck, Uncle Scrooge, and DuckTales, I edited those four titles, three of them were the major influence on my childhood which led me to a career in comics and animation. To wind up working at Disney’s was, ‘Why me?’” said Foster. “To wind up editing those three titles, of all the people on the planet that could have that job, it was me. Wow. And I’m still proud of that.”

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