Ok, we need to get one thing straight. I am not the Joe Staton who played first base for the Detroit Tigers in the early 70s. I’m the other one. He is 6’3″. I’m 5’6″. I’m the short one. That’s the easiest way to tell us apart.
I’ve been in New York for over forty years (excepting three years when I was in Chicago, pretending to be an art director for the lost and lamented First Comics), but I am originally a Southerner. I was born in North Carolina, grew up in Tennessee (where I shook hands with Albert Gore, Sr. and Davy Crockett — or at least Fess Parker) and went to college in Kentucky. This part of the world is called the Mid-South. You can’t fool me about barbeque. I know my barbeque.
I’ve been making my living drawing comic books for over forty years. I started working for Charlton Comics April 19, 1971. Nicola Cuti and I did E-Man and Michael Mauser at Charlton. No matter whatever else I do, that’s what I usually get mentioned for. Fair enough. It was good stuff.
I did tons of stuff for DC from the mid-70s through the 90s. All-Star Squadron, Green Lantern, Guy Gardner, The Legion (yes, I know, I never did manage to tell the characters apart, especially as to who wore what boots), two different incarnations of The Huntress, The New Guardians (which wasn’t as bad as some might have you believe), Action Comics, and Batman in various versions. I got an Eisner Award in ’98 for World’s Finest: The Superman-Batman Adventure, in the animated style.
I’ve done the Gargoyles and the Rugrats and Jonny Quest and the Wild Thornberrys and the little Coppertone girl and her doggie. I’ve worked for at least 35 publishers (bet you didn’t know there were 35 publishers) and for at least 100 different editors (Archie Goodwin was the best). I drew the Classics Illustrated adaptation of The Christmas Carol. I’ve illustrated educational texts and workbooks, and storyboarded ads and animated websites. My wife Hilarie and I collaborate on medical and health comics for kids.
I have quite a history with detective and crime fiction comics, starting with Michael Mauser in the 70s. In the early 90s I did the Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger Sunday strip with Max Allan Collins. In the past few years, I’ve done the crime strip Femme Noir with Christopher Mills.
For ten years, I was the lead artist on the best-selling, most successful crime-detective book of recent memory — Scooby Doo. The detectives are all underage, one of them is a large talking dog, and the crime is almost always real-estate fraud, but, hey, it just depends on how you look at things.
In 2011, I took over drawing the adventures of the top detective of them all – Dick Tracy— with Mike Curtis writing it. My plan is to draw Tracy until 2031, when he celebrates his 100th birthday!