Greg Theakston

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Greg Theakston
Greg Theakston at the Big Apple Con in November 2008
BornGreg Allen Theakston
(1953-11-21)November 21, 1953
DiedApril 22, 2019(2019-04-22) (aged 65)
Pseudonym(s)Earl P. Wooten
AwardsShel Dorf Torch Bearer's Award, 2010

Greg Allen Theakston (November 21, 1953[1] – April 22, 2019[2]) was an American comics artist and illustrator who worked for numerous publishers. He is known for his independent publications as a comics historian under his Pure Imagination imprint,[3] as well as for developing the Theakstonizing process used in comics restoration.[4] He used the pseudonym Earl P. Wooten.[5]

Early career[edit]

Greg Theakston became involved in the Detroit area fandom community, contributing to Detroit's Fantasy Fans and Comic-collector's Group on their fanzine The Fan Informer (1968–71), as well as his own publication, The Aardvark Annual (1968),[citation needed] and Titan. For much of the 1970s[4] Theakston helped organize the Detroit Triple Fan Fair, credited as one of the first conventions in the United States dedicated to comic books,[6] eventually owning it after working on a number of shows.[7]

After graduating from Redford High School in 1971, Theakston worked with artist Jim Steranko at his Supergraphics publishing company in Reading, Pennsylvania. He moved with partner Carl Lundgren to upstate New York in 1972, where he began illustrating for men's magazines,[4] including Gent, Dude and Nugget.[citation needed] He also inked samples of Jim Starlin's early pencils, which helped Starlin gain his first work for Marvel Comics in 1972.[4][8]

Illustration and comics[edit]

Theakston built his portfolio and expanded to paperbacks and magazines, including Berkley Books, Dell, Ace, DAW, Zebra, Tor, St. Martin's Press, Warner, Ballantine Books, Belmont-Tower, If and Galaxy Science Fiction.[9] He was an original member of the Crusty Bunkers, and worked closely with Neal Adams at Continuity Associates between 1972 and 1979, producing animatics, storyboards, comic art and various commercial advertising assignments.[10][11]

Among other various assignments were jobs for Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Warren Comics, New York Daily News, Archie Comics, as well as periodicals magazines including National Lampoon, The New York Times, Kitchen Sink, Playboy, TV Guide and Rolling Stone. He was a Mad illustrator for ten years and has worked regularly with numerous comics publishers on projects such as Omega Men, Super Powers, DC Comics Presents, DC's Who's Who and Planet of the Apes.[12][13]

Posters and publishing[edit]

Theakston's movie poster work include Invaders From Mars. He has seven lithographs in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art.[citation needed]

Theakston founded and operated Pure Imagination,[14] a comic book and magazine publisher since 1975. His biographical work includes an estimated 200,000 words on Jack Kirby, his long-time friend and work associate, 250,000 words on Bettie Page, numerous pieces on great comic book artists, and pop culture figures for Pure Imagination and other publishers including, Mad, Penthouse and Playboy.

Comics restoration[edit]

His name has been given to a process called "Theakstonizing", a term coined by DC editor-in-chief, Dick Giordano,[citation needed] which bleaches color from old comics pages, used in the restoration for reprinting.[4] He reconstructed over 12,000 pages of classic comic art, including work on Superman, Batman, Captain America, Green Lantern, The Flash, Porky Pig, The Spirit, The Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Archie, Dick Tracy, Torchy, Pogo and numerous collections of popular comics artists, including Jack Kirby, Alex Toth, Basil Wolverton, Steve Ditko, Frank Frazetta, Jack Cole, Lou Fine, Wallace Wood, and many others.[citation needed]


Theakston received the Shel Dorf Torch Bearer's Award in 2010 "[f]or Preserving the Flame of the Spirit of Comics and Carrying the Torch Forward in the Comic Industry."[15]


  1. ^ "Greg Theakston". Comics Buyer's Guide. F+W Media (1636): 135. December 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  2. ^ Johnston, Rich (April 23, 2019). "Comics Archivist and Publisher Greg Theakston Has Died, Aged 65". Bleeding Cool. Archived from the original on April 23, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  3. ^ Heer, Bob (24 February 2011). "Upcoming Kirby – Theakston biography". The Jack Kirby Comic Weblog. The Jack Kirby Museum. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e Morrow, John (2004). Collected Jack Kirby Collector, Vol. 4. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 97–103. ISBN 978-1-893905-32-0. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  5. ^ Garza, Matt (April 24, 2019). "Greg Theakston, Comics Historian, Publisher and Archivist, Dead at 65". Multiversity Comics. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
  6. ^ Henrickson, Eric (7 Jul 2010). "New comic convention, Detroit Fanfare, coming this fall". Geek Watch. The Detroit News. Archived from the original on August 30, 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  7. ^ Detroit Triple Fan Fair, registered as a Domestic Nonprofit Corporation on October 16, 1973, by Greg Allan Theakston (Agent) of Detroit, MI; dissolved on Oct. 1, 1978. Accessed Feb. 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Reading Room Index to the Comic Art Collection". Michigan State University Libraries. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  9. ^ "Greg Theakston SF book covers at ISFDB". ISFDB. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  10. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (October 2010). "Theakston Interview: Part 1". The Silver Age Sage. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  11. ^ Stroud, Bryan D. (November 2010). "Theakston Interview: Part 2". The Silver Age Sage. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  12. ^ "Greg Allen Theakston - 'Earl P. Wooton'". Comic Book Database. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  13. ^ "Story Search Results". Grand Comics Database. Retrieved April 23, 2019.
  14. ^ Keane, Maribeth; Quinn, Brad (18 February 2010). "Golden Age Comics: The Pages Where Captain America Could Punch Out Hitler". Pop culture interview. Collectors Weekly. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
  15. ^ "Past Winners". The Shel Dorf Awards. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved February 1, 2012.

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