Animation veteran Tom Minton wrote some eloquent words about John Dorman who passed away last week. I met him only once, and after reading Tom’s words, regret not having had the chance to know him better. Here is Tom’s beautiful remembrance:
In addition to being a prolific and experienced creative talent, John Dorman was a near-mythic character with an epic sense of the absurd. He was much more than a storyboard artist or art director, as anyone who worked for him in the early to mid 1980’s can attest. He was especially adept at helping gifted people (even a few legends) once their industry had hung them out to dry. In 1983 he paid a talented young storyboard apprentice named Dan Riba two hundred bucks over weekly union scale just because he knew that beginning wage was not enough to live on.
I witnessed examples of John’s boundless energy, craziness and generosity of spirit over and over while working in his Ruby Spears storyboard/development unit. The recently-publicized 1980’s Jack Kirby development paintings now being hawked by Ruby-Spears and the Kroffts were all done under Joe Ruby’s and John’s supervision. Jim Woodring, Duncan Marjoribanks, Kathy Altieri, James Gallego, Kenny Thompkins, Ted Blackman, Tim Burgard, Rick Hoberg, Steve Swaja, Noreen Beasley, Teresa Birch, Brian Burr Chin, Keith Tucker, David Silverman, Alfredo Alcala, Thom Enriquez, Kurt Conner, Bob Kline, Dan Riba, Doug Wildey, Gil Kane and Jack Kirby and me (please correct if I’ve forgotten anyone) were all staffers in John’s legendary Los Angeles Bastards crew at one point or another.
John defined ‘intense’ and could be tough to please but ultimately took the people he believed in more seriously than he did himself. Through it all, John couldn’t help but speak truth to power, even when it cost him dearly. Those who dealt with John in his decline didn’t experience the real person and judged him harshly. People tended to either love or loathe John but they did not tend to forget him. At his best, he also defined ‘courageous.’