A Belated Birthday Celebration Of The Great Ramona Fradon
Ramona Fradon is one of the great living legends of comics, a creator with an instantly recognizable style who has worked on some of DC Comics' best-loved series -- and co-created a few classic characters along the way. Her crisp, lyrical line has elevated every book she's touched over her six-and-a-half decades in the business, and her work continues to influence and inspire creators to this day.
Fradon graduated from Parsons School Of Design in 1950, and began working at DC almost immediately, pencilling the Shining Knight backup story in Adventure Comics #165 – and when that feature was replaced by Aquaman two issues later, Fradon found her first signature character.
Fradon's elegant style was a perfect fit for the oceanic environs of Atlantis, and she would stick with the series through the turn of the next decade, bringing the Sea King into the Silver Age, and designing and introducing Aqualad and other characters along the way.
Fradon stepped away from the comics in the early '60s when her first child was born. She returned to DC for a few months in 1965 -- and co-created a new character called Metamorpho in that brief time -- and finally re-entered the industry full-time in the mid '70s, turning out a couple of fill-in issues for Marvel, working on a well-loved run on Plastic Man, and drawing nearly every issue of the successful Super Friends tie-in series.
In 1980, Fradon moved into the world of daily newspaper comics, replacing creator Dale Messick as the artist on Brenda Starr, Reporter; and though she retired from that strip in 1995, she has remained active since, pencilling occasional stories and covers, producing the picture book The Dinosaur That Got Tired Of Being Extinct, and providing art for a story in First Second's acclaimed Fairy Tale Comics collection. Fradon remains a popular presence in Artist's Alleys at conventions around the country, sketching, signing, and greeting her fans with smiles, stories, and endless grace.
Fradon's work is deceptively simple, with a number of defining elements – she's a master of perspective, often placing the reader slightly below the horizon, looking up at the scene; her skill at depicting body language and facial expressions is unequaled; and her pages and covers are rendered with an expert sense of composition. Her design for Metamorpho is both memorable and totally unique, imbued with all the liquid, breezy, and down-to-earth qualities that an elemental hero could require. And in a time when women were almost non-existent in the industry, she established herself as a first-rate stylist and a one-of-a-kind creator.
To mark the occasion of her recent birthday, we've compiled a small gallery of her art, and assembled a few friends to join us in celebrating her life and work.