France Herron

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France Herron
Born France Edward Herron
July 23, 1917
Ohio
Died September 1966 (age 49)
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Editor
Pseudonym(s) Eddie Herron
Ed "France" Herron
France E. Herron
Notable works
Captain Marvel Jr.
Red Skull
Tomahawk
Green Arrow

France Edward Herron (July 23, 1917-September 1966)[1][2] 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.

Biography[edit]

Early life and career[edit]

Herron was born in 1917[1] in Ohio farm country.[3] Partially of Cherokee heritage, he grew up in West Virginia.[4]

Herron got his start in comics while still a teenager, with the Harry "A" Chesler "packaging" studio in 1937,[5] writing and editing for such Centaur Comics titles as Star Comics and Star Ranger Funnies.[6] In 1939, Herron joined Fox Features Syndicate, where he first met Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.[4] 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.[7]

Also beginning in 1940, and continuing throughout the decade, Herron wrote various features for the publisher Quality Comics.[5] From 1940–1944 Herron wrote the Captain Midnight strip for the Chicago Sun Syndicate.[5]

Fawcett Comics[edit]

Herron joined Fawcett Comics in 1940, eventually becoming the company's executive editor by 1942.[5] With artist Mac Raboy, he created Captain Marvel Jr. in Whiz Comics #25 (Dec. 1941),[8] and with Jack Kirby he created Mr. Scarlet in Wow Comics #1 (Winter 1940-1941) and Pinky the Whiz Kid in Wow Comics #4 (Spring 1942).[9] 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.[citation needed] During this period, Herron wrote for such Fawcett titles as Captain Marvel Adventures and Captain Marvel Jr..

World War II[edit]

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.[10][11]

DC Comics[edit]

Herron began writing for DC Comics in 1945,[6] 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.[6] He also wrote a number of Batman and Robin stories for Detective Comics and Batman in the mid-1950s and mid-1960s. Herron was one of the lead writers on Batman during the overhaul of the character and the introduction of his "New Look."[12] 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.[6] Herron wrote mystery comics titles including House of Mystery, Mystery in Space, Strange Adventures, and Tales of the Unexpected.[6] From 1953–1959, he wrote many stories for such DC war comics as All-American Men of War, Our Army at War, Our Fighting Forces, and Star Spangled War Stories; returning to such work in 1963-64.[5]

With artist Dick Sprang, Herron co-created Firefly in Detective Comics #184 (June 1952) and Batman of Zur-En-Arrh in Batman #113 (Aug. 1958).[13] Artist Lee Elias and 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).

Harvey Comics[edit]

In 1966 Herron 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,[6] working on characters like Dynamite Joe, Glowing Gladiator, Jack Q. Frost, and Lone Tiger, for such titles as Robot Parade and Spyman.[5]

Syndicated newspaper strips[edit]

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, which he wrote until his death in 1966.[5]

Death[edit]

Herron died in September 1966.[2]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "France Herron, September 1966". United States Social Security Death Index. n.d. Retrieved June 10, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Gabilliet, Jean-Paul; Beaty, Bart; Nguyen, Nick (2009). Of Comics and Men: A Cultural History of American Comic Books. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi. p. 182. ISBN 978-1604732672. 
  3. ^ Boltinoff, Murray, ed. (June 1964). "Biographies of Arnold Drake and France Herron". Blackhawk (DC Comics) (197). Archived from the original on November 14, 2013. Raised in Ohio farm country, he likes animals, 'even field mice.' 
  4. ^ a b Simon, Joe (2011). Joe Simon: My Life in Comics. London, United Kingdom: Titan Books. ISBN 978-1845769307. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Bails, Jerry (n.d.). "Herron, Ed". Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f France Herron at the Grand Comics Database
  7. ^ Kirby, Jack, interviewed by Bruce Hamilton in Rocket's Blast ComiCollector #81 (1971).
  8. ^ Markstein, Don (2010). "Captain Marvel Jr.". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on June 10, 2016. The first few stories were scripted by editor France Herron, who later spent decades at DC Comics. In the 1940s, Herron scripted Vigilante, in the '50s he did Batman and Tomahawk, and in the '60s he co-created Animal Man. 
  9. ^ Markstein, Don (2010). "Mr. Scarlet and Pinky". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on March 10, 2016. This origin story was written by France Herron...and drawn by no less a personage than Jack Kirby 
  10. ^ Zeno, Eddie (2002). Curt Swan A Life in Comics. Lebanon, New Jersey: Vanguard Productions . p. 10. ISBN 978-1887591409. 
  11. ^ Hughes, Bob (January 2, 2010). "Who inked Curt Swan on Superman?". DCComicsartists.com. Archived from the original on November 18, 2015. 
  12. ^ Batman: The Dynamic Duo Archives Volume 2. New York City: DC Comics. 2006. ISBN 978-1401207724. 
  13. ^ Irvine, Alex; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1950s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 88. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. In Batman #113's lead story 'Batman - Superman of Planet X' by writer Ed Herron and artist Dick Sprang, the Caped Crusader found himself transported to Zur-En-Arrh. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joseph Samachson
Tomahawk writer
1962–1968
Succeeded by
Robert Kanigher
Preceded by
Bob Haney
Blackhawk writer
1966
Succeeded by
Bob Haney