Ellen Vartanoff, a comics educator and colorist, passed away on March 17, 2019, after a long battle with ovarian cancer. A memorial service was held in her honor this past Saturday, March 23, at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church in Aspen Hill, MD.
Vartanoff was an active member in early Marvel fandom and eventually went on to work professionally for both Marvel and DC Comics as a colorist, including issues of “Captain Marvel” written by her brother-in-law, Scott Edelman. She also contributed art to two fan-developed books inspired by Edgar Rice Burroughs (creator of the Tarzan and Barsoom series): “Edgar Rice Burroughs in the Second Century” and “The Mucker/Return of the Mucker.”
An art show of cartoons she curated in Rockville, MD, including those from her own collection, was positively reviewed by The Washington Post in 1997.
In addition, Vartanoff taught cartooning to artists in the Baltimore area for a number of years. She remained active in the local community as a long-time member of the Potomac River Science Fiction Society, the Silver Spring Science Fiction Society, as well as Knossos, the Washington branch of the Mythopoeic Society, and the Panthans, the Washington branch of the Burroughs Bibliophiles.
She is survived by her nephew and caregiver, Trevor Vartanoff, her sister Irene Vartnaoff and brother-in-law Scott Edelman, along with countless friends and loved ones within the comic books community. You can read some of their remembrances here, here, and here.