Sadly, Lee Messerli informed me that Joseph Messerli passed away this morning, June 23, 2010. He was born in Kingsville, Texas, in 1930.
Joe Messerli was a rare talent. Several days ago I wrote that someone should interview this interesting man, as his career spanned several important decades and venues in cartooning, animation and design. Mr. Messerli was one of the great unsung creative forces, a working man's cartoonist.
According to his website, Joe Messerli's career began as Charlie Plumb's assistant on the classic comic strip Ella Cinders. Throughout his mostly freelance career, he worked on a myriad of comic books. Messerli designed the iconic Twilight Zone logo and illustrated the famous Bonanza credits.
Joe Messerli attended the Chouinard Art Institute from 1954 to 1956, focusing on Fine Art, Advertising Art and Animation Art. He worked at UPA studios and the NBC Burbank Graphic Arts Department. At Cambria Studio, he worked on Clutch Cargo and other features.
Mr. Messerli worked on The Flinstones, Yogi Bear, Warner Brothers, Disney and Sesame Street characters, Dennis the Menace, Chip 'n Dale, Heathcliff, Darkwing Duck, and a plethora of other characters. He ghosted the work of four well-known artists, one being Clifford McBride on his Napoleon comic.
Patrick Owsley posted email that he swapped with Mr. Messerli about his work on The Flintstones comic strip.
Joe Messerli was part of the documentary and companion book Inside UPA and there's a write-up on the Cartoon Modern blog and Drawn!.
More detailed information about the projects Joe Messerli worked on can be found on his website.
Update: Joe Messerli writes in detail about designing the Twilight Zone logo while at UPA Studios.