Happy Birthday, Murphy Anderson: A Modest Tribute To An All-Time Great
An artist who played an integral role in the superhero renaissance of the late ’50s and early ’60s, and whose line lent a smooth and elegant air to every character he touched, Murphy Anderson is one of the true living legends of the comic book business. This week sees the artist’s 88th birthday.
Anderson began his career in comics in the mid 1940s, and worked on titles for a number of different publishers over the next decade, including Timely/Atlas, Ziff Davis, Pines, and the company that would prove to be his primary home for the next four decades – National/DC Comics. In the 1950s, DC increased his assignments and he became a fixture of the company’s sci-fi and superhero titles, pencilling a number of different features and providing inks for many of the early Silver Age’s most enduring and influential stories, working over artists such as Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, and Mike Sekowsky.
While best known for his brush skills, Anderson is also one of the industry’s most spectacular pencillers and designers. He handled the art for the first 21 issues of Hawkman’s solo series, designed Adam Strange’s costume for the character’s first appearance in Showcase #17, produced a number of memorable covers and interiors for DC’s anthology titles, created the Atomic Knights with author John Broome, helmed 1966’s revival of the Spectre, and, perhaps most auspiciously, co-created Zatanna with writer Gardner Fox.
Particularly memorable is Anderson’s design for Adam Strange, which mixed the classic art deco look of Buck Rogers with 1950s space-age modernism. What emerged was something unique (if not entirely timeless) that set a new standard for sci-fi heroes of the time.
On behalf of all of us at ComicsAlliance, it’s my pleasure to wish Mr. Anderson a happy 88th birthday. Thanks for all the great work.
Some original art images via Dial B For Blog