Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Today in Comics History, June 28: Happy birthday, Mike Royer!

A very happy birthday today to comics artist and inker Mike Royer, who's worked on a big range of titles for an awful lot of publishers. He's done stories in Donald Duck, Walt Disney's Comics and Stories, Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, Detective Comics, 1st Issue Special, Weird Mystery Tales, and more, plus definitive work inking Russ Manning (Tarzan, Korak, Magnus: Robot Fighter, Star Wars)...

from Mighty Marvel Calendar 1979 (Marvel, 1977)

...but Mike's perhaps best known for his extensive work inking comics by Jack Kirby, to which we can thank Vince Colletta for ticking off the King of Comics for erasing his pencils (and being a jerk to him about it). Here's how Kirby's story of getting Royer on board was told in the Tom Scioli bio-graphic novel:

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

Not that there weren't bumps in the relationship...

...but once their collaboration got smoothed out, it really clicked. Royer inked the lion's share of Kirby's 1970s-1980s output, including (inhale) Kamandi, Justice Inc., Mister Miracle, The Demon, Jimmy Olsen, Forever People, The New Gods, The Hunger Dogs, Dingbats of Danger Street, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Eternals, OMAC, Black Panther, What If? #11, Devil Dinosaur, Machine Man, Captain America, Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, Silver Star, and more (exhale!). Kirby considered Royer his favorite inker of his work.

Happy birthday, Mike!


Dave said...

When I was a kid (like 16), I met Mike and spent HOURS in his studio, watching him ink, reading the penciled pages as they came in, and probably making a general nuisance of myself.

Hoe and why he put up with me, I have no idea, but he's a hell of a guy.

ten-cent media said...

I have to give it to Royer - he did keep up with Jack and did the lettering as well. Keep in mind when referring to Vinnie, though, Royer wasn't handed 22 pages on Friday that needed to be inked by Monday AND which took precedence over anything else he was inking. That was the situation at both Marvel and DC. Also, a bit of minutiae for comic book historians, Jack didn't fire Vince. He gave him an ultimatum which Colletta told him what he could do with. Their parting was amicable and both men continued to shoulder heavy loads of artwork for years to come.