Jack Abel


Jack Abel

Jack Abel a.k.a. Gary Michaels [ [http://povonline.com/iaq/IAQ05.htm Evanier, Mark. P.O.V. Online (column): "Why did some artists working for Marvel in the sixties use phony names?"] ] (born July 15, 1927; died March 6, 1996) [http://www.lambiek.net/artists/a/abel_jack.htm The Lambiek Comiclopedia: Jack Abel] ] is an American comic book artist best known as an inker for leading publishers DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He was DC's primary inker on the Superman titles in the late 1960s and early '70s, and inked penciler Herb Trimpe's introduction of the popular superhero Wolverine in "The Incredible Hulk" #181 (Nov. 1974).

Biography

Early life and career

Abel's published work stretches to 1951, when he penciled and inked horror stories for such anthology series as Fiction House's "Ghost", Mr. Publications' "Mister Mystery", and Atlas Comics' "Journey into Mystery". He inked Westerns, science fiction, and war comics for Atlas, American Comics Group, Harvey Comics, and Prize Comics, and later in the decade became a prolific penciler for the DC war titles "Our Fighting Forces", "Our Army at War", "Star Spangled War Stories" and "All-American Men of War".

DC and Superman

Abel inked hundreds of DC stories in his increasingly smooth, lush style, and eventually was chosen to succeed longtime "Superman family" inker George Klein as Curt Swan's embellisher on "Legion of Super-Heroes" in "Adventure Comics" (most issues, #369-406, June 1968 - May 1971); "Superman" (most issues, #208-219, July 1968 - Aug. 1969); "Superman" in "Action Comics" (#369-392, Nov. 1968 - Sept. 1970), and occasional issues of "Superboy".

Later career

After a reshuffling at DC c. 1970, Abel went to Marvel. He had already inked Gene Colan there on a long stretch of "Iron Man" stories beginning with "Tales of Suspense" #73 (Jan. 1966), under the pseudonym "Gary Michaels". Now, under his own name, he would embellish Colan on some issues of "Daredevil" and "Tomb of Dracula" (including the introduction of Blade, in #10); Trimpe on "The Incredible Hulk"; George Tuska on "Iron Man"; and Paul Gulacy on "Master of Kung Fu", among other work.

From the mid-1970s, the in-demand Abel inked not only for Marvel and again DC (including its "Teen Titans" and "The Flash"), but for the smaller companies "Gold Key" ("Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery", "Grimm’s Ghost Stories", "Mighty Samson", the licensed title "The Twilight Zone"); Charlton Comics ("Ghost Manor", "Ghostly Haunts", "Haunted", "Midnight Tales"); Atlas/Seaboard ("IronJaw", "Morlock 2001"); and Skywald Publications ("The Heap", and additionally the black-and-white horror-comics magazines "Nightmare" and "Psycho").

Baseball-fan Abel, who in the 1970s rented studio space at Neal Adams and Dick Giordano's Continuity Associates, organized the Continuity softball team that played league games in Central Park. [ [http://www.comicbookradioshow.com/fireballs.html Ken Gale's Pages: The Fandom Fireballs] ]

Years later, when in his sixties, Abel inked backgrounds for DC artist Murphy Anderson, and became a proofreader in the Marvel bullpen before being partially debilitated by a stroke.

Comic strips

Outside comic books, Abel inked John Celardo from 1967-1969 on the syndicated comic strip "Tales of the Green Beret", written by author Robin Moore. [ [http://hometown.aol.com/comicsproj/credits.html The Comic Strip Project: Credits] ]

Quotes

Gene Colan: "He did a lot of "Iron Man" with me. He had a very slick line, which was okay on "Iron Man", of course. Iron Man was made of iron, so you want it to look like metal. But when it came to stone and dark corners and garbage [laughs] , he wasn't the man for that". [Colan interview, [http://www.twomorrows.com/comicbookartist/articles/13colan.html "Comic Book Artist" #13 (May 2001)] ]

Footnotes

References

* [http://www.maelmill-insi.de/UHBMCC/ The Unofficial Handbook of Marvel Comics Creators]
* [http://www.comics.org/ The Grand Comic-Book Database]
* [http://www.comic-art.com/intervws/murphtan.htm Comic Art & Graffix Gallery: Murphy Anderson interview]
* [http://www.adelaidecomicsandbooks.com/mcleod.html Adelaide Comics and Books: Bob McLeod interview]
* "Remembering Jack Abel", "Comic Book Marketplace", vol. 2, #46 (April 1997): Reminiscences by Gene Colan, Peter David, Joe Giella, Russ Heath, Joe Kubert, Alan Kupperberg, and Steve Mitchell


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