At Dragon Con, Wonder Woman was celebrated, not only with the presence of George Perez, who guided DC’s relaunch of Diana almost three decades ago, but with a spotlight on the 70’s Wonder Woman artist (1976-1981)
With several DC Universe cartoons since, a show-stopping appearance in Batman vs. Superman, and a major motion picture on the horizon, Wonder Woman seems as popular as ever. Before there was Nicola Scott and Liam Sharpe, there was Mr. Delbo, who drew the Amazonian Princess during her television well-spring of popularity.
The Argentinian artist began working professionally at age 16, at the side of another experienced cartoonist. “Alex (Buck Rogers) Raymond influenced me with his anatomy, early on” says Delbo. “Later, I was influenced by Milton Caniff’s treatment of black and white.”
Delbo primarily primarily drew Gold Key comics inspired by popular television shows. Among his lengthy credits in the years since: The Monkees, Lone Ranger, Transformers, Thundercats, and an adaptation of the Beatles movie,Yellow Submarine. As for TV, one of his co-creations, the super-villain Lumberjack, became a menace on Supergirl in her first season, 2015, on CBS.
As chronicled in the book by Michael McAvennie & Hannah Dolan, "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle : Writer Martin Pasko and artist José Delbo detailed the first chronological meeting between Earth-1's modern-day Wonder Woman and her Earth-2 equivalent during World War II. When ABC-TV's popular Wonder Woman TV series was originally set during World War II, the team reflected the program. Pasko and Delbo continued in this era for the next fifteen issues.
After Lynda Carter made a star-spangled jump to CBS-TV's The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, scripter Jack C. Harris and artist José Delbo produced a story where Earth-1's Amazon helped her Golden Age counterpart apprehend the Angle Man in Wonder Woman #243, cover dated May, 1977. The death of Steve Trevor inspired Wonder Woman to leave for Paradise Island, where, in a trilogy by Gerry Conway and Delbo, Trevor returned to life, reflecting his popularity as a supporting character on the show.
During his later work at Marvel, which continued his early career predilection for licensed properties, he drew Thundercats, and later, the first seven issues of NFL Superpro.
While at Marvel, he ”really liked the Transformers, and asked for a story to draw.” He recollects beginning with issue #36, “Space Hikers.” For most of the next four years, Jose drew the Robots in Disguise, from their Generation 2 incarnations onward. His challenge was to make the robots more “human” in their movements and expressions, “not just be robotic.”
His style focused on their agility and animation. In 2013, Delbo drew an IDW Transformers Special.
Still game to draw, Delbo continues to offer his services for books and commissions. “For more information you can look at my website at www.josedelbo.com,” he says. Hopefully, through his grand daughter, we'll have even more insights from Jose, and if so, you'll see it right here at Integr8d Fix!