Comics historian Les Daniels: 1943-2011

According to various sources, noted comics historian and fiction writer Les Daniels was found dead of an apparent heart attack Saturday, Nov. 5. Following foot surgery a few years ago, Daniels was dependent for his week-to-week needs on a group of friends in Providence, R.I. One of the friends found Daniels’ body.

Born Oct. 27, 1943, Daniels’ first comics-related book was 1971’s Comix: A History of the Comic Book in America. This was followed in 1975 by Living in Fear: A History of Horror in the Mass Media. As Marvel and DC hit major anniversaries in the 1990s, Daniels was hired to produce histories of each company as well as such DC characters as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. In 2004, he produced The Golden Age of DC Comics: 365 Days, a day-by-day book often tying a DC image to a specific day of the month.
Daniels was also a noted horror author with a series of titles featuring the vampire Don Sebastian de Villanueva. He also edited horror anthologies in the 1970s.

His only immediate survivor is his sister, Diane Manning, a child psychologist, who told The New York Times that Daniels’ lifelong interest in comics was spurred by his mother throwing out his comics when he was 9. “Even at that age, he knew to a certainty that comic books would be his career,” she said. “Why do moms throw out comic books? I’ve been trying to figure it out all my life.”

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