|Born||France Edward Herron
|Died||1966 (aged 47–48)|
Ed "France" Herron
France E. Herron
|Notable works||Captain Marvel Jr.
France Edward Herron (1918–Sept. 1966) was an American comic book writer and editor active in the 1940s-1960s, mainly for DC Comics. He is credited with co-creating Captain Marvel Jr. and the Red Skull, as well as such characters as Cave Carson, Nighthawk, and Mr. Scarlet and Pinky the Whiz Kid. Herron spent the bulk of his time in the comics industry writing for such characters as Green Arrow, Superman, and the Western character Tomahawk.
Early life and career
Herron got his start in comics while still a teenager, with the Harry "A" Chesler "packaging" studio in 1937, writing and editing for such Centaur Comics titles as Star Comics and Star Ranger Funnies. In 1939, Herron joined Fox Features Syndicate, where he first met Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. In 1940–1941, Simon and Kirby hired Herron to write stories for their new creation Captain America, published by the Marvel Comics forerunner Timely Comics; in Captain America Comics #7 (Oct. 1941), Herron and artist Kirby co-created the Red Skull.
Also beginning in 1940, and continuing throughout the decade, Herron wrote various features for the publisher Quality Comics. From 1940–1944 Herron wrote the Captain Midnight strip for the Chicago Sun Syndicate.
Herron joined Fawcett Comics in 1940, eventually becoming the company's executive editor by 1942. With artist Mac Raboy, he created Captain Marvel Jr. in Whiz Comics #25 (Dec. 1941), and with Jack Kirby he created Mr. Scarlet and Pinky the Whiz Kid in Wow Comics #1 (Dec. 1940). (It was in the Mr. Scarlet story in Wow Comics #1 that the name "Gotham City" first appeared in the comics. Comics historian Greg Theakston notes that this pre-dates its name as such in DC Comics' Batman #4.) During this period, Herron wrote for such Fawcett titles as Captain Marvel Adventures and Captain Marvel Jr..
World War II
Herron joined the U.S. Army in 1942, where he wrote for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes during his tour of duty. While at Stars and Stripes, Herron met artist Curt Swan, who later became the definitive Superman artist. According to Swan, it was Herron who first directed him to DC Comics.
Herron began writing for DC Comics in 1947, initially on Green Arrow stories in such titles as Adventure Comics and World's Finest Comics. Herron was Green Arrow's lead writer throughout the 1950s, staying with the character until 1963. Other superhero titles Herron worked on included Superman, which he wrote many stories for throughout the 1950s, and Challengers of the Unknown, which Herron was the lead writer for from 1959 until 1966. He also wrote a number of Batman and Robin stories for Detective Comics and Batman in the mid-1950s and mid-1960s. In fact, Herron was one of the lead writers on Batman during the overhaul of the character and the introduction of his "New Look."
Throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, Herron partnered with artist Fred Ray as the creative team on DC's Tomahawk. (He also wrote Tomahawk stories which appeared in World's Finest Comics during this period.) In the mid-1950s, Herron wrote the features Pow Wow Smith and Nighthawk for DC's Western Comics omnibus; he continued to write spot stories for the title until 1961.
With artist Dick Sprang, Herron co-created Firefly in Detective Comics #184 (June 1952). He co-created Batman of Zur-En-Arrh in Batman #113 (Aug. 1958); and with artist Lee Elias, Herron co-created Clock King in World's Finest Comics #111 (Aug. 1960). With artist Bruno Premiani, Herron co-created Cave Carson in The Brave and the Bold #31 (Aug. 1960).
DC cleaned house of much of its writing staff in 1965, and in 1966 Herron had moved to Harvey Comics, hired by his old associate Joe Simon. During that year, Herron was the lead writer for the publisher's short-lived Harvey Thriller superhero line, working on characters like Dynamite Joe, Glowing Gladiator, Jack Q. Frost, and Lone Tiger, for such titles as Robot Parade and Spyman.
Syndicated newspaper strips
In addition to his work in the comic book field, Herron wrote syndicated newspaper comic strips for Columbia Features. Beginning in 1955, he wrote the daily strips Davy Crockett, Frontiersman and Nero Wolfe — staying on the Davy Crocket strip until 1959, when he became the writer of the Bat Masterson and Rip Tide strips, jobs he kept until his death in 1966.
Herron died in September 1966.
- "France E. Herron – From Beyond The Unknown #12-16," The Pharmakon Times (Oct. 16, 2010).
- Gabilliet, Jean-Paul; Beaty, Bart; and Nguyen, Nick. Of Comics and Men: a Cultural History of American Comic Books (Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2010), p. 182.
- Social Security Death Index.
- Herron entry, Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999.
- Kirby, Jack, interviewed by Bruce Hamilton in Rocket's Blast ComiCollector #81 (1971).
- Zeno, Eddie, et al. Curt Swan: A Life in Comics (Vanguard Press, 2002).
- Hughes, Bob. "Who Inked CURT SWAN on Superman?," Who's Whose in DC Comics (Jan. 2, 2010).
- Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archive vol. 2 (featuring Batman #168–171 and Detective Comics #334–339) (DC Comics, 2006).