Gene Colan began working in comics in 1944. He came into prominence in the 1960s as part of the Marvel Silver Age crew, drawing Daredevil, Dr. Strange, Sub-Mariner, Captain America, and other titles before going on to famed runs on Tomb of Dracula and Howard the Duck. In the 1980s, Gene worked on a number of titles at DC, including Night Force and Nathaniel Dusk.
Jack Cole was one of the most innovative cartoonists in the history of comics. In addition to creating Plastic Man, he gave a distinctive look to superhero, crime, and horror series for Harry A. Chesler, Busy Arnold, MLJ, and other Golden Age publishers. He eventually left comics in the early 1950s to draw “Females by Cole” for Playboy, and a syndicated comic strip, Betsy and Me.
One of the most versatile cover artists in the history of comics, Leonard Brandt Cole worked in a wide range of styles and in just about every genre, from funny animals to romance to war as well as science fiction and horror. His striking colors and appealing (if sometimes bizarre) designs have made Golden Age comics with his covers highly collectible.
In the late 1960s Richard Corben published his own underground comic book, Fantagor, and contributed to the underground magazines Slow Death and Skull. In the 1970s he drew regularly for Eerie, Creepy, and Vampirella. But it was his color stories in Heavy Metal that brought him a huge fan following, with such series as “Bloodstar,” “Mutantworld,” and “Den.” Since then he had done work for Marvel, DC, IDW, and most notably Dark Horse, drawing the Eisner Award–winning Hellboy.
Johnny Craig is best known for his work on the horror and crime titles at EC Comics in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Although he created some of the most notorious and gory covers for such titles as Vault of Horror and Crime Suspenstories, aficionados laud him for this well-crafted crime stories, which he both wrote and drew, in Shock Suspenstories, Crime Suspenstories, and Extra.
Reed Crandall started with the Eisner/Iger Studio, where he worked primarily on titles for Quality Comics, including Hit, Crack, Smash, and Uncle Sam (which became Blackhawk), where he drew such features as “The Ray,” “Dollman,” and “Firebrand.” In the late 1940s Crandall began working at EC, drawing everything from horror and suspense to science fiction. In the 1960s he produced a series of highly acclaimed stories for Warren’s Creepy and Eerie.
Roy Crane was a major innovator of the adventure strip with his creations Wash Tubbs, Captain Easy, and Buz Sawyer. His use of chiaroscuro and his storytelling techniques have influenced countless artists in both comics strips and comic books.
Immortalized in the film Crumb, the legendary underground cartoonist Robert Crumb created lasting cultural icons in the form of Mr. Natural, Fritz the Cat, and “Keep on Truckin’.” Today he continues to turn out his idiosyncratic and beautifully drawn work from his home in France, which he shares with wife, cartoonist Aline Kominsky.
Howard Cruse first appeared on the national comics scene with his underground strip Barefootz in 1972. In 1979 he began editing Gay Comix, an anthology featuring comix by openly gay and lesbian cartoonists. In 1983 Cruse introduced his comic strip Wendel to the pages of The Advocate, the national gay newsmagazine, where it appeared regularly until 1989. His 1995 graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby (published by Paradox Press) won Eisner and Harvey Awards and went on to be translated into numerous languages around the world; it was republished by Vertigo in 2010, and a 25th anniversary edition was published in 2020 by FirstSecond. Howard passed away in November 2019.
Perhaps best known for his wild and vivid art for the early MAD, Jack Davis was also a staple of EC’s horror and war titles, from Vault of Horror and Tales from the Crypt to Two-Fisted Tales. He went on to a career as a commercial illustrator, creating movie posters as well as covers for record albums and for such magazines as Time and TV Guide.
Dan DeCarlo defined the “house style” at Archie Comics with his rendition of the teen characters, especially the “gals.” In his 40+ years as an Archie freelancer, Dan also created Josie (of Josie and the Pussycats fame) and co-created Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
In 1897 Rudolph Dirks‘ editor at the New York Journal asked him to create a strip that could compete with the popularity of The Yellow Kid by Outcault, which was published in a rival newspaper, The New York World. Dirks came up with The Katzenjammer Kids, which was one of the first strips to use a permanent cast, a frame sequence, and speech balloons. Dirks took the strip to the New York World under the title Hans und Fritz, later renamed The Captain and the Kids.
The reclusive and enigmatic Steve Ditko co-created Spider-Man with Stan Lee and was an integral part of Marvel’s Silver Age in the 1960s, where he also co-created the psychedelic Dr. Strange. At DC, he created The Creeper, Hawk and Dove, The Question, and other titles. His distinctive style on Dr. Strange and numerous horror and SF books for other companies (especially Charlton) influenced hundreds of artists.
Arnold Drake was a writer best known for creating Deadman and Doom Patrol for DC Comics. He also wrote issues of Marvel Comics’ X-Men in the 1960s and created The Guardians of the Galaxy with artist Gene Colan. Drake is also notable for co-creating It Rhymes with Lust (with Matt Baker), perhaps the first American graphic novel ever published, in 1953.
After freelancing on mystery, war, and space titles for DC and Atlas during the 1950s, Mort Drucker found his way to MAD magazine, where he has specialized in movie and television satires and parodies for over 50 years. Drucker has also done work in commercial art, doing animation for television, movie posters, and covers and illustrations for magazines.