|Born||Wayne Wright Howard|
March 29, 1949
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||December 9, 2007 (aged 58)|
Derby, Connecticut, U.S.
|Midnight Tales (Charlton Comics)|
|Spouse(s)||Carol (Zavednak) Howard|
Wayne Wright Howard (March 29, 1949 – December 9, 2007) was an African-American comic book artist. He is best known for his work in the 1970s at Charlton Comics, where he became American comic books' first series creator known to be credited on covers, with the horror anthology Midnight Tales announcing "Created by Wayne Howard" on each issue — "a declaration perhaps unique in the industry at the time".
Early life and career
Wayne Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Sherman and June (Monroe) Howard. He attended Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He contributed to comics fanzines in the mid-1960s, and had a poem published in Fantastic Four #22 (Jan. 1964) for which the editor declared him "Poet Laureate of Yancy Street," before becoming an art assistant at the Long Island, New York, studio of influential comics artist Wally Wood circa 1969.
Howard made his credited comics debut as a penciler and inker with writer Marv Wolfman's three-page story "Cain's True Case Files: Grave Results" in DC Comics' House of Mystery #182 (Oct. 1969). He contributed to later issues, as well as to Major Publications' black-and-white horror-comics magazine Web of Horror #1 (Dec. 1969).
That story marked his first collaboration with Nicola Cuti, a writer and eventual friend who soon afterward became managing editor of Charlton Comics, a Derby, Connecticut, publisher whose comic-book line was traditionally low-paying but allowed its writers and artists great creative freedom. Howard began freelancing for Charlton with the story "A Winner's Curse" in the horror anthology Ghost Manor #4 (April 1972). Over the next five years, up through the cover and two stories of Haunted #32 (Oct. 1977), Howard, with a style strongly reminiscent of his mentor Wood, penciled / inked roughly 200 covers and stories — primarily for such supernatural series as the aforementioned and Ghostly Haunts, Ghostly Tales, The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves, and an issue each of Beyond the Grave and Creepy Things, and of the gothic horror romance anthology Haunted Love. With writer Cuti, he contributed the backup feature "Travis: The Dragon Killer" in the cult-hit superhero series E-Man #3 (June 1974).
Charlton writer-editor Cuti described Howard's credit for the horror anthology Midnight Tales being granted since "it was his idea, his concept, his everything". This ranged from the horror host Professor Coffin, The Midnight Philosopher, and his niece, Arachne — who in a twist on the horror-host convention would themselves star in a story each issue — to the notion of having each issue be themed: "One time it would be blob monsters, and I wrote three stories about blob monsters, and another time it was vampires ... and that sort of thing". Howard penciled and inked every cover and virtually every story, and occasionally scripted a tale. The three-issue reprint series Prof. Coffin #19-21 (Oct. 1985 - Feb. 1986) retains the "created by" credit.
The critic Mark Andrew observed of Midnight Tales,
Old dude and his sexy niece traipse across the countryside, bumping into oddball characters who invariably have a story to tell. ... Sadly, since Charlton didn't want to do anything that'd offend your average 9-year-old, you can feel this book fighting against the uber-restrictive comics code. Kinda sad, really. What is good, however, are the artists in this book, easily the equal of anyone workin' at Marvel or DC at the time. You got Wayne Howard ... probably the most deft practitioner of the Wally Wood school ever.
Other work and later career
Howard seldom ventured to other publishers. He penciled a story in Gold Key's TV-series tie-in The Twilight Zone #46 (Nov. 1972), and inked one story each for Warren Publishing's black-and-white magazines Creepy and Eerie. He inked the horror-host pages of DC's House of Mystery #256-257 (Feb.-April 1978) plus a story each in Weird War Tales #53 (May 1977) and Secrets of Haunted House #13 (Sept. 1978), and the sword-and-sorcery title Warlord #64 (Dec. 1982), his last known original comics work. His only major-publisher penciling was a story in DC's Weird Mystery Tales #4 (Feb. 1973).
For the industry leader Marvel Comics, he inked Rich Buckler's cover and Ross Andru's pencil art adapting Harry Bates' short story "Farewell to the Master" in the science-fiction anthology Worlds Unknown #3 (Sept. 1973); Gil Kane's Spider-Man / Sub-Mariner story in Marvel Team-Up #14 (Oct. 1973); Val Mayerik's "Thongor! Warrior of Lost Lemuria" feature in Creatures on the Loose #26 (Nov. 1973); and a Syd Shores story in the black-and-white comics magazine Haunt of Horror #4 (Nov. 1974).
George Wildman, Charlton Comics' editor during the 1970s, described the artist as, "sort of shy. Easy come, easy go", and said Howard had married the sister of one of Wildman's early secretaries. Howard's friend and frequent collaborator Nicola Cuti said the artist, a heavy smoker, "always wore the same outfit: a white shirt, a kind of tan bush jacket, black hat, black pants and black tie. ...I was over at his apartment, and he opened up his closet, and there were 20 white shirts, 20 bush jackets, 20 black pants...." The magazine Comic Book Artist in 2001 attempted to contact Howard for an issue devoted to Charlton Comics, and reported that while he "apparently still resides in Connecticut", "a third party indicated the artist/writer had no interest in delving into the past".
- "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V318-1MF : accessed 01 Mar 2013), Wayne W Howard, 9 December 2007.
- "Wayne W. Howard obituary". Ralph E. Hull Funeral Home. Archived from the original on November 21, 2010. Retrieved December 13, 2007.
- Cooke, Jon B., "Lest We Forget: Celebrating Four that Got Away": Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), p. 112
- Wayne Howard at the Lambiek Comiclopedia
- Wayne Howard at the Grand Comics Database
- Nicola Cuti interview, Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), p. 41-42
- Andrew, Mark. "Nine Things I Read This Week. A (hopefully) weekly Column", "Comics Should Be Good" (column), March 3, 2006. WebCitation archive.
- George Wildman interview, Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001), p. 24