Wayne Boring (1905 - 1987)

Wayne Boring (who also used the pseudonym "Jack Harmon") was born in Minnesota in 1905. His early flare for drawing led him to enroll in art schools, including the Minnesota School of Art and the Chicago Art Institute.

He began in the comic business in 1937 by ghosting detective strips by mail such as Slam Bradley, Spy and Dr.Occult for the studio of artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel, who had joined DC (then called National Periodical Publications), the year before they created the character that would be known as Superman.

Boring was one of the earliest ghosts to work on the Superman comic strip, and would eventually take it over completely. He left Shuster's shop in 1942, after he was hired by DC to work for them directly. The following year Stan Kaye started inking Boring's pencils on a regular basis, which began an historic team-up that lasted almost two decades.

In 1948, when Siegel and Shuster had quit DC and launched a copyright lawsuit against them (which they would ultimately lose), the door was swung wide open for Boring. Siegel and Shuster's departure from National also coincided closely with editor Mort Weisinger's taking control of the Superman series back from Jack Schiff.

Weisinger brought in a new team of artists (including Al Plastino and Curt Swan) to usher Superman into the next decade, the main one of which was Boring, who left the daily strip in the hands of Win Mortimer (who would also later work on the Superman comic book), and returned to drawing Superman and other comic book stories, most of which were also inked by Kaye.

(He later returned to the strip in the early '60s, without Kaye, and even did a few guest Superman comic book stories in late 1966 and early 1967.)

Also being one of the first artists to ever do a ghost job on the Superman comic itself, Boring's work soon grew so popular with the fans that he took over the character, drawing it throughout the decade of the late '40s, and '50s.

In the early '60s most Superman and Action Comics duties were handed down to new artist Swan, who would for over 20 years make his own more toned-down and realistic stamp on the book.

While Boring's '50s version of Superman was being printed, the first run of The Adventures Of Superman TV series (1951-1957) began airing, which starred George Reeves, the greatest actor who will ever portray the Man Of Steel.

Thus, for the promotion of Superman comics during that decade, Boring and Reeves proved to be a super double threat!

Boring's work is easily recognizable, being composed of well-applied influences of artists like Alex Raymond of Flash Gordon fame, meshing with his own highly stylized sci-fi oriented artwork.

He was still working at DC in 1967 when he was dismissed during an all-out purge of several "old school" artists. That purge also included George Papp (creator of Green Arrow) and Sheldon Moldoff (creator of Green Lantern).

However, he still wasn't done yet, as he embarked upon more syndicated strip work, such as ghosting backgrounds for Hal Foster's epic Prince Valiant Sunday page from 1968 until 1972, as well as ghosting Sam Leff's Davy Jones strip.

For a short period after 1972, Boring even worked at Marvel on a few titles, ironically including Captain Marvel, which had once been embroiled in a lawsuit over its resemblance to the Superman comic (Captain Marvel's publisher, Fawcett, had lost).

But eventually Boring decided that was enough, and he left the comics field entirely. In his golden years he could still be found working, though, part-time as a bank security guard, before a heart attack claimed him in 1987.

His incredible decade-plus run on the Superman comic rivals even the great 1960s decade run by Jack Kirby on Fantastic Four for Marvel comics. His style easily managed to rise above the more cartoonish look of Superman co-creator Shuster and the more calculated and conservative line work of Swan.

As a result, Boring's work on Superman still remains the best version of the most popular character in comics history. In 2007, he was inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

Source: WayneBoring.com