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Battle Ground #1-20 (June 1955 - Aug. 1958).
Jack Katz (born September 27, 1927) is an American comic book artist and writer, painter and art teacher known for his graphic novel, The First Kingdom.
Katz was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Canada days after he was born. He returned to the United States when he was around eight years old. While attending the School of Industrial Arts in New York, NY, he established bonds of friendship with future comic artists Alex Toth, Alfonso Greene and Pete Morisi.
Katz's work in mainstream comics spans both the Golden and Silver Ages, and was done under a variety of pseudonyms such as Jay Hawk, Vaughn Beering, Alac Justice and David Hadley. He got his start in the industry in 1943, working on the C. C. Beck and Pete Costanza project, Bulletman. Before landing at King Features in 1946, Katz worked briefly for Jerry Iger and Ben Sangor. The time spent at Iger's shop in 1944 is notable for the young Katz's acquaintance with, and admiration for, artist Matt Baker. 'He was, in my opinion, one of the top illustrators, and a good storyteller'.
The move to King Features as a "detail man" brought Katz in contact with Hal Foster and Alex Raymond, two of the artists that inspired him most in his early years. Katz has considered Foster his "guiding light" since the age of six and believes that he laid the foundations for the graphic novel. Raymond praised Katz's illustrative style and said that working in comics was a waste of his time. Stanley Kaye, on the other hand, told Katz to stick with it: 'You're going to do something with comics'.
Katz went to work for Standard Comics (Better/Standard/Pines/Nedor Comics) in 1951, doing horror, war and some romance comics until the company went out of business. From this period comes some of the earliest work that can be identified as his, such as Adventures into Darkess #10 (June 1953). In the mid-1950s Katz landed a job with Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, working alongside Mort Meskin and Marvin Stein. Kirby taught Katz how to ink and use lighting to emphasize dramatic scenes. A slow-worker due to heavy detailing (influenced by the style of illustrator Dean Cornwell), Katz was let go and moved on to Timely Comics under Stan Lee around 1954. Katz worked on war and horror comics, as well as Westerns, but his pacing continued to cause friction. Without Lee's knowledge, Katz worked on the side for Fiction House, which slowed him down even more. In 1955 he left mainstream comics to paint and teach art, both privately and for the YMCA in New York City. His hiatus from the industry lasted fourteen years.
Impressed by Jim Steranko's Captain America, Katz entered mainstream comics for a second time in 1969 and bounced around from job to job. He first found work with Stan Lee at Marvel Comics and worked on books such as Sub-Mariner, Monsters on the Prowl and Adventure into Fear. Katz then worked on House of Secrets and romance comics for DC before moving on to write and illustrate stories for Jim Warren.
Katz got a job with Skywald Publications around 1970, where he believed that he would be able to write his own stories. While there he worked on "Zangar" (from the Jungle Adventures comic book) and is credited with the full art and script for "The Plastic Plague" from the horror comics magazine, Nightmare #14 (August 1973). Katz moved permanently to California in the early 1970s while with Skywald as an associate editor. It was there that he began writing The First Kingdom, integrating ideas into the story that he'd had since his time with Warren Publications.
Moving to California in the early 1970s led to Katz's introduction to underground comics. Through independent publishing he saw the potential to create his own story without editorial interference. The First Kingdom is a 24-issue, 768-page graphic novel that took Katz twelve years to complete, outside of writing the story. He finished two books per year, intentionally totaling twenty-four in order to mirror the number of books in Homer's Iliad and Odyssey. During Kingdom's creation, many sacrifices were made and harships endured by Katz and his wife at the time, Carolyn. For this reason, every issue is dedicated to her.
The epic was published by Comics & Comix Co. from 1974 to 1977, at which point publication was taken over by Bud Plant (a Comics & Comix co-founder) and completed in 1986. Early praise for Kingdom came from Playboy magazine and the Rocket's Blast Comicollector fanzine, but it was never a commercial success due in part to the frequency with which it came out and its adult content. Another contributing factor may have been that Kingdom was sold strictly through mail-order and specialty comic stores.
Since the Kingdom years, Katz has focused on teaching, painting and working on graphic novels. Katz currently teaches art at a community college in Albany, California. Students of his have helped publish a number of books of his works. These include an anatomy book for students (Anatomy by Jack Katz, Volume One) and two books of his sketches (Jack Katz Sketches, Vol. 1 and Jack Katz Sketches, Vol. 2). In 2009, Graphic Novel Literature published Katz's second graphic novel, Legacy. Charlie Novinskie, former president of Century Comics, helped script Legacy. Katz has three graphic novels awaiting publication, two of which are the final parts of the Kingdom trilogy: Space Explorers Club, Destiny and Cry of the City.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.