Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Today in Comics History, May 18: Happy birthday, Bill Everett!

Born on this day in 1917: comics writer and artist Bill Everett, creator of Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner and Hydroman; co-creator of Daredevil, Simon Garth the Zombie, Moondragon, Stingray, Foggy Nelson, Karen Page, Battlin' Jack Murdock, Namorita, and more!

from Fantastic Four Annual #7 (Marvel, November 1969)

from Comic Book Comics #2 (Evil Twin, October 2008); script by Fred Van Lente; pencils, inks, and letters by Ryan Dunlavey

How did Everett get the idea for mighty Namor, nearly-naked nabob of Neptune? This early text story may...or may just not...tell you!

from The Human Torch (1940 series) #2 (Marvel/Timely, Fall 1940), text and art by Bill Everett

Speaking of primary sources: the 1988 maxiseries Saga of the Sub-Mariner is not only a thorough retelling and amalgamation of the history of Namor in the Marvel Universe (and by Roy Thomas, the perefct writer for this project!), it's also an excellent resource on Everett, as each issue features a well-packed text page consisting of Roy's historical research and quite a few interviews with Bill Everett. I (as you know I often do) highly recommend it!

from Saga of the Sub-Mariner #4 (Marvel, February 1989), by Roy Thomas

From the memories of Jack Kirby, a more succinct version of Namor's creation, and a panel referring to his unknown contribution to Marvel's Daredevil (Mark Evanier goes into much more detail >on his blog; scroll down to the last entry):

from Jack Kirby: The Epic Life of the King of Comics (Ten Speed, July 2020), script and art by Tom Scioli

You can find Bill within the pages of Marvel Comics too! Here, he's present (along with much of the Bullpen) when his creation is beached on the...uh, well, beach!

from Sub-Mariner (1968 series) #19 (Marvel, November 1969), script by Roy Thomas, pencils and colors by Marie Severin, inks by Johnny Craig, letters by Artie Simek

Bill (green turtleneck) narrates a tale to astonish of suspense to artist Dan Adkins (blue shirt) in this journey into mystery! What a...strange tale!

from "Believe It...Or Not!" in Chamber of Darkness #8 (Marvel, December 1970), script and inks by Bill Everett, pencils by Dan Adkins, letters by Jean Simek

And he's the real-life Golden Age guest-star (in tan suit) when Human Torch creator Carl Burgos gets poisoned by Nazis to keep him from creating anti-Hitler comic books! (PS: Carl got better.)

from "[Carl Burgos Meets the Human Torch]" in Marvel Mystery Comics #34 (Marvel/Timely, August 1942); script and pencils (and inks?) by Carl Burgos

Bill Everett passed away in 1973, so I never got an opportunity to see him at a convention or tell him how cool his work is.

from (left) Marvel Calendar 1980: The Occult World of Doctor Strange (Marvel, 1979); and
(right) from "Bullpen Bulletins" in Marvel Comics cover-dated September 1973

Here's that alluded-to salute from Subbie> #65:

from Sub-Mariner #65 (Marvel, September 1973), text by Roy Thomas (?), pencils by Marie Severin, inks by Frank Giacoia

A very happy birthday to you, Bill Everett! May your birthday go swimmingly, you daredevil!

from Saga of the Sub-Mariner #11 (Marvel, September 1989), text by Roy Thomas, art by Bill Everett and Marie Severin

1 comment:

Blam said...

I never met him either, being two years old when he passed — even younger than you, Bully. However, I'm proud to have been on the Eisner panel that inducted him and Sheldon Mayer as judges' selections into the Hall of Fame in 2000. I don't fool myself thinking it was a great contribution to the world of comics — they were likely both shoe-ins on the regular ballot or subsequent panel's choice — but still.