Wayne Boring by Michael Netzer
June 5, 1905|
|Died||February 20, 1987
Pompano Beach, Florida
|Awards||Will Eisner Hall of Fame 2007|
Wayne Boring (June 5, 1905–February 20, 1987) was an American comic book artist best known for his work on Superman from the late 1940s to 1950s. He occasionally used the pseudonym Jack Harmon.
Early life and career
Boring attended the Minnesota School of Art and the Chicago Art Institute. In 1937, he began "ghosting" (drawing for hire without credit) on such comic-book features as Slam Bradley and Doctor Occult for the Jerry Siegel-Joe Shuster studio. In 1938, Siegel and Shuster's character Superman was published in Action Comics #1, for the DC Comics predecessor National Allied Publications, and Boring became a ghost on the soon spun off Superman comic strip, eventually becoming the credited artist.
Superman comic books
In 1942, the by-then-named National Comics hired Boring as a staff artist, teaming him as penciler the following year with inker Stan Kaye. The two would work together for nearly 20 years. In 1948, following Siegel and Shuster's departure from the company over a Superman rights lawsuit, Mort Weisinger, new editor of the Superman line, brought in Boring as well as Al Plastino and Curt Swan. During this mid-1940s period, he often signed his work for rival Novelty Press' Blue Bolt Comics as Jack Harmon.
Boring's "Superman Covers Atom Bomb Test!" cover for Action Comics #101 (Oct. 1946) was an early example of nuclear weapons in popular culture. A more detailed origin story for Superman by Boring and writer Bill Finger was presented in Superman #53 (July 1948) to mark the character's tenth anniversary. Boring co-created the Fortress of Solitude in Action Comics #241 (June 1958) with writer Jerry Coleman and Bizarro World in Action Comics #263 (April 1960) with Otto Binder.
Boring was the primary Superman comic-book penciller through the 1950s. Swan succeeded him the following decade, though Boring returned for sporadic guest appearances in the early 1960s and then again in late 1966 and early 1967. As one critic wrote of Boring's 1950s Superman art, "Comics legend Wayne Boring played a major role in visually defining the most well known super-hero in the world during the peak of Superman's popularity. As another writer echoed, "Boring's bravura brushwork defined many of its key elements and made Superman look more powerful and imposing, now standing a heroic nine heads tall, and brought a fresh realism, a sleek sci-fi vision and a greater seriousness of tone.
Boring was let go from DC in 1967, along with other artists from the 1930s and 1940s period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. From 1968 to 1972, Boring ghosted backgrounds for Hal Foster's Prince Valiant Sunday comic strip, and took over the art on writer Sam Leff's 1961–71 United Feature Syndicate strip Davy Jones. Afterward, Boring did a small amount of work on Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel, then left the field to semi-retire as a bank security guard, though he would continue to draw commissioned work. He briefly returned to DC to pencil some stories in All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984), Superman #402 (Dec. 1984), and Action Comics #561 and 572 (Nov. 1984 and Oct. 1985). In 1985, DC Comics named Boring as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great.
Boring died of a heart attack, following a brief comeback announced in one of his last published works, penciling a Golden Age Superman story written by Roy Thomas and inked by Jerry Ordway in Secret Origins #1 (April 1986). His final work was All-Star Squadron #64 (Dec. 1986) a recreation of Superman #19. He was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2007.
Comics work (interior pencil art) includes:
- Action Comics #35–36, 121, 132, 134, 137-138, 141-142, 144, 146-147, 150-152, 158-168, 171, 173-175, 178-182, 184, 186-188, 190-192, 194-196, 198-200, 202-204, 206-207, 209-211, 215-216, 218-219, 221, 223-227, 229-241, 243, 245-246, 248, 250, 257-258, 261-264, 266-268, 275-276, 342-344, 346, 348–353, 355–357, 561, 572 (1941–1985)
- Adventure Comics #42–43, 285 (1939-1961)
- All-Star Squadron #64, Annual #3 (1984–86)
- Secret Origins (Superman) #1 (1986)
- Showcase #10 (Lois Lane) (1957)
- Silver Age 80-Page Giant #1 (2000)
- Superboy #7 (1950)
- Superman #5, 7-8, 10, 53-110, 112-115, 117, 119-122, 124-130, 132-136, 138-143, 150, 155, 189–190, 200, 229, 402 (1940–1984)
- Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #2, 4, 6-8, 10, 13 (1958–1959)
- Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #43 (1960)
- Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #12, 14, 18-19, 22 (1986)
- World's Finest Comics #14, 35–38, 44-46, 48, 50, 52-53, 59, 62-63, 65, 68-69, 181 (1944–1968)
- Astonishing #4 (1951)
- Captain Marvel #22–24 (1972–1973)
- Creatures on the Loose #19 (with Gil Kane) (1972)
- Thor #280 (1979)
- "Wayne Boring, "United States Social Security Death Index"". FamilySearch. Retrieved February 21, 2013. Wayne Boring, February 1987; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
- "U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-Current". Ancestry.com. While some sources give 1916 as a birth year, the Social Security Death Index gives 1905
- Fryer, Kim (July 1987). "Superman artist Wayne Boring dead". The Comics Journal (Fantagraphics Books) (116): 23. "Wayne Boring, one of the first Superman artists, died at the age of 81 on February 20 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Boring, who was born in Minnesota on June 5, 1905..."
- "Wayne Boring". Lambiek Comiclopedia. June 12, 2009. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
- Daniels, Les (1995). "The Superman Style Refining the Man of Steel". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. Bulfinch Press. p. 28. ISBN 0821220764. "The image of Superman that eventually became preeminent was Wayne Boring's. By 1942 the former assistant to Joe Shuster was working on his own for DC, turning out pencilled and inked pages for Action Comics and Superman."
- Jack Harmon at the Grand Comics Database
- Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "A stunning cover by Wayne Boring heralded a tale that played on the conflicted post-war zeitgeist surrounding the use of nuclear weapons."
- Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 59: "Superman's origin was retold—and slightly revamped—for this special tenth anniversary issue...Writer Bill Finger and penciller Wayne Boring related how Joe-El failed to save Krypton and sent his son to Earth."
- Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "Superman's Fortress of Solitude was seen for the first time. The story 'The Super-Key to Fort Superman', by writer Jerry Coleman and artist Wayne Boring, revealed the secrets of the Fortress."
- McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "Writer Otto Binder and artist Wayne Boring introduced an entire world filled with the backward beings, living amid foul, dilapidated conditions."
- Daniels "The Superman Family Strength in Numbers", p. 118: "By 1961, Swan's new look would replace Wayne Boring's patriarchal version. Swan's Superman became definitive, and ultimately he would draw, as he says, 'more Superman stories than anybody else.'"
- Wayne Boring at the Grand Comics Database
- Vance, Michael (December 13, 2000). "Comics Legend Wayne Boring". "Suspended Animation" (column), Starland.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010.
- Gravett, Paul (December 2002). "Curt Swan: A Superman Walked Among Us" 3 (97). Comic Book Marketplace via PaulGravett.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2009.
- Agena, Eric. "Davy Jones, by Sam Leff and Al McWilliams". ComicStripFan.com. Archived from the original on July 23, 2010.
- Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-893905-61-0.
- Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Wayne Boring Superman Remodeled" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 26 (1985), DC Comics
- Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 218: "The heroes of the DC Universe got a little more exposed thanks to the new ongoing effort Secret Origins, a title offering new interpretations to the backgrounds of some of comics' biggest icons. [Its] debut issue featur[ed] the origin of the first true super-hero – the Golden Age Superman – by writer Roy Thomas and illustrator Wayne Boring."
- All-Star Squadron #67 at the Grand Comics Database
- "Will Eisner Hall of Fame". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.