Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dick Ayers, 1924-2014, R.I.P. -- A "Comical Wednesday" Post



(For those of you new to my blog, a "Comical Wednesday" post is a post that is about comic books, in one way or another. It does not mean that the post itself is comical, as in humorous! This one clearly is not.)

Famed comic book artist Dick Ayers has died at the age of 90.

Trying to sum up a career as long as Dick's is difficult at best. He began his comic book career in the late 1940s. He co-created a Western horror character called the Ghost Rider in the 1950s for publisher Magazine Enterprises. He was working at Marvel Comics during the 1960s and 1970s. As either a penciller or inker, Dick's art graced probably every superhero in the early Marvel Universe. He also drew plenty of Western comics for them (including an unauthorized Ghost Rider revival), but he is probably best known for his long-time service on Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos. He went on to DC Comics, then other publishers. An abbreviated biography of Dick Ayers is here, if you care to learn beyond what I've given you.




Whenever I write one of my tributes to a celebrity -- an actor or actress, a comic book creator, a singer, etc. -- who has passed on, I feel a sadness that comes from feeling that you know someone simply because their work has touched you.

In Dick Ayers' case, I'd actually met the man (and his wife, Lindy) -- and toured his home studio -- at a time when he and I were collaborating on a comic book project which was eventually unsold. Having a comic book legend illustrate my script was quite the thrill, I must tell you! (The full story of that project can be found here, here, and here! And whether or not you feel like following those links, what follows is Dick's pencilled contribution to the character's origin story. Yep, my words, illustrated by a legend!  The lettering was done by a talented artist named Ken Carson! Three pages of Dick Ayers art which has only seen print on my blog!)




And if that costume-clad super child looks a bit familiar, here's something you've probably seen before:


Dick Ayers will be sorely missed.

Thanks for your time.

21 comments:

  1. the a to z really got you back in blogland indeed. That is awesome how you got to meet and greet and have one drawn by him. Sounds like he sure worked on everything indeed.

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    1. Yeah, I'd hate to have to compile a checklist of all the books he inked or penciled.

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  2. What great drawings. I know you're thrilled to have them, but it's a shame the book wasn't published. I'm so glad you post regularly again.

    Love,
    Janie

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  3. So sorry to hear about his death. I think anyone who creates art of any kind for a living just wants to be remembered after they're gone for the great work they created. The fact that his work will be enjoyed by future generations is his legacy.

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  4. An unauthorized Ghost Rider revival... sounds a bit strange considering he was a co-creator... That's we should always be our own boss, right?

    Those three pages sure look impressive.

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    1. Well, in the early days of comics, the comic publishers kept the rights to the character, so Dick and the strip's writer were screwed in the name of "business as usual." When Marvel started their own Ghost Rider series, they didn't get permission from the original GR's publisher, Magazine Enterprises.

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    2. I know. But it sounds strange does't it? They were screwed, alright.

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    3. Yep. "Business as usual." Such practices kept Jack Kirby from becoming a multimillionaire.

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  5. oh most definitely...sgt fury...a precursor to nick fury...who is now african american but...ha....the ghost rider was cool too...more so than the newer one...

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    1. I like both Nick Fury characters, the new and the old. :)

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  6. David: Have you read any of the 3 volume set of The Dick Ayers Story (His illustrated autobiography)? I had JUST finished volume 1 the day before he died.

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    1. I'm aware of them, but haven't read them. They're on my Amazon.com Wish List. I'm looking forward to reading them someday soon, though!

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  7. This is sad David because you knew him and work with him.
    I understand he really touched you!

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  8. What a wonderful tribute to someone you not only admired, but had the privilege of working with. I'm glad for you that you were able to know him personally.

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    1. Yeah, it was SO cool to see his drawings matched to my script.

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  9. David: If you send me your mailing address again, I'll send you volume 1 of The Dick Ayers Story. I'm done with it...

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  10. Hi Silver Fox, thank you for the link to the Dick Ayers entries (and what a wonderful blog overall, I'm enjoying going through it).
    Those Ayers-penciled pages are just glorious.

    -Shar (Panelocity)

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    1. Thanks so much for your compliments, Shar. I've enjoyed jumping around on your blog, too!

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