Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Today in Comics History, June 15: Happy birthday, Ross Andru!

Born on this day in 1927: comics artist and editor Ross Andru: you've admired his work in Amazing Spider-Man, World's Finest Comics, Metal Men, Action Comics, Atari Force, Wonder Woman, Our Army at War, Marvel Team-Up, and so many more, including Superman vs. Spider-Man! He co-created the Punisher, the Metal Men, Tarantula, Jackal, G.I. Robot, Glory Grant, Egg Fu and others!

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1976, 1977, and 1978

from DC Comics cover-dated October 1979

Long-time partners Ross and Mike Esposito founded 3 short-lived comics companies including Mikeross Publications. Here's a (fairly ridiculous) text story about how the company was founded!

from Get Lost #1 (Mikeross, March 1954), creators uncredited

Here's Ross (green shirt) and Mike (yellow shirt) on assignment with the Sea Devils as the artist for their comic book...

from Sea Devils #13 (DC, September 1963), script by Ed Herron, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito

...and being whipped into shape by Wonder Woman writer Robert Kanigher just after he's fired most of Wondy's supporting cast. Wonder Tot, we hardly knew ye!

from Wonder Woman (1942 series) #158 (DC, November 1965), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Mike Esposito, letters by Gaspar Saladino

Now that you know what he looks like in comic book form, get out your magnifying glass and find Ross Andru amongst the DC staff!

back cover of The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest #5 (DC, May 1980), pencils by Ross Andru, inks by Dick Giordano

In homage to Andru's work on Amazing Spider-Man, Bendis named the principal of Peter Parker's school after him. Annnnnnnd made him Black? Well, it's not like turning G. Willow Wilson into a white man in the Ms. Marvel series.

from Ultimate Spider-Man (2000 series) #87 (Marvel/Ultimate, February 2006), script by Brian Michael Bendis, pencils by Mark Bagley, inks by Scott Hannam, colors by Justin Ponsor, letters by Chris Eliopoulos

Following Andru's death in late 1993, a reader complained to Marvel that they hadn't eulogized him...

from Marvel Age #138 (Marvel, July 1994)

...even though Marvel had lauded him in the previous issue and in a Punisher special. Whoops! Those were the days of snail mail and printing date differences, folks.

from (top) Marvel Age #137 (Marvel, June 1994), by Steve Vraittos, and
(bottom) Marvel Age Special: Punisher Anniversary Issue one-shot (February 1994)

But it does make a little more macabre this Todd McFarlane "graveyard" of Spider-Man artists through the ages. The gag worked because at the time, all of them were still alive. Looking at it now, with three of them passed, it's a little tacky.

from Amazing Spider-Man #308 (Marvel, November 1988), script by David Michelinie, pencils and inks by Todd McFarlane, colors by Bob Sharen, letters by Rick Parker

A happy birthday to you, Ross Andru!

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