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Frontier Western #1-10 (Feb. 1956 - August 1957).

Richard "Dick" Ayers (April 28, 1924- May 4, 2014) was an American comic book artist and cartoonist best known for his work as one of Jack Kirby's inkers during the late-1950s and 1960s period known as the Silver Age of Comics, including on some of the earliest issues of Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four, and as the signature penciler of Marvel's World War II comic Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.

Ayers was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2007.

Richard Ayers was born in Ossining, New York, the son of John Bache Ayers and Gladys Minnerly Ayers.He was in the 13th generation, he said, of the Ayers family that had settled in Newbury, Massachusetts in 1635.

Ayers published his first comic strip, Radio Ray, in the military newspaper Radio Post in 1942 while serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.Frontier Western 2

Afterward, he broke into comics with unpublished work done for Western Publishing's Dell Comics imprint. "I approached them," Ayers said in a1996 interviews. "I had a story written and drawn. They wanted to wrap a book around it.... I got into it, but Dell decided to scrap the project. ... It was an adventure thing, boy and girl; the boy wanted to be a trumpet player. The girl kept feeding the jukebox and he'd played along to Harry James or whatever sort of thing. ... It didn't make it, but it got me started where I wanted to be in the business."

Following this, In 1947, Ayers studied under Burne Hogarth in the first class of Hogarth's new institution, New York City's Cartoonists and Illustrators School (renamed the School of Visual Arts 1956). Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman, would visit the class, and Ayers eventually ventured to his nearby studio. "Next thing I knew," Ayers said in the same interview, "I was penciling a bit here and there." In a 2005 interview, Ayers elaborated that, "Joe had me pencil some of his Funnyman stories after seeing my drawings at Hogarth's evening class" and "sent me to [editor] Vin Sullivan of Magazine Enterprises." There, Sullivan "let me try the Jimmy Durante [humor] strip. I submitted my work and got the job."

Ayers went on to pencil and ink Western stories in the late 1940s for Magazine Enterprises' A-1 Comics and Trail Colt, and for Prize Comics' Prize Comics Western. With writer Ray Krank, Ayers created the horror-themed Western character Ghost Rider in Tim Holt #11 (1949). The character appeared in stories through the run of Tim Holt, Red Mask, A-1 Comics, Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders, and the 14-issue solo series The Ghost Rider (1950–1954), up through the introduction of the Comics Code. After the trademark to the character's name and motif lapsed, Marvel Comics debuted its own near-identical, horror-free version of the character in Ghost Rider #1 (Feb. 1967), by writers Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich and original Ghost Rider artist Ayers.

Ayers' hands appear onscreen as those of a cartoonist played by actor Don Briggs in "The Comic Strip Murders", a 1949 episode of the CBS television series Suspense.Frontier Western 5

In 1952, while continuing to freelance for Magazine Enterprises, Ayers began a long freelance run at Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. He drew horror stories in such titles as Adventures into Terror, Astonishing, Journey into Mystery, Journey into Unknown Worlds, Menace, Mystery Tales, Mystic, Strange Tales, and Uncanny Tales. As well, he drew the brief revival of the 1940s Golden Age of Comics superhero the Human Torch, from Marvel's 1940s predecessor Timely Comics, in Young Men # 21-24 (June 1953 - Feb. 1954). An additional, unpublished Human Torch story drawn by Ayers belatedly appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 (Sept. 1968).

During the 1950s, Ayers also drew freelance for Charlton Comics, including for the horror comic The Thing and the satirical series Eh!

Ayers first teamed with penciler Jack Kirby at Atlas shortly before the company transitioned to become Marvel Comics. As the comic-book legend's second regular Marvel inker, following Christopher Rule, Ayers would ink countless Kirby covers and stories, including on such landmark comics as most of the earliest issues of The Fantastic Four, in addition to a slew of Western and "pre-superhero Marvel" monster stories in Amazing Adventures, Journey into Mystery, Strange Tales, Tales of Suspense, and Tales to Astonish. Because creator credits were not routinely given at the time, two standard databases disagree over the duo's first published collaboration: The Grand Comics Database cites the cover of Wyatt Earp #24 (Aug. 1959), which Atlas Tales lists as inked by George Klein. Grand Comics Database tentatively lists Ayers as inker of the Kirby cover for that same month's Strange Tales #70, for which Atlas Tales credits Ayers without qualification.

Ayers himself revealed in 1996, however,

The first work I did with Jack was the cover of Wyatt Earp #25 (Oct. 1959). [Editor-in-chief] Stan Lee liked it and sent me another job, "The Martian Who Stole My Body," for Journey into Mystery #57 (Dec. 1959). I also began Sky Masters, the [syndicated] newspaper strip. There is a lot of confusion on this; people think Wally Wood inked them all, because they're signed Kirby/Wood. But that was Dave Wood, the writer [who was unrelated to artist Wally Wood]. I began Sky Masters with the 36th Sunday page; Jack's pencils, my inks, in September of 1959. I ended the Sundays in January of 1960. I also did the dailies for a period of [over] two years, from September of '59 to December of '61. These were complete inks; I was the only one doing it at the time. Of course, Wally Wood also worked on that strip, in the beginning, before me.Dick Ayers

Ayers went on to ink scores of Kirby Western and monster stories, including such much-reprinted tales as "I Created The Colossus!" (Tales of Suspense #14, Feb. 1961), "Goom! The Thing From Planet X!" (Tales of Suspense #15, March 1961), and "Fin Fang Foom!" (Strange Tales #89, Oct. 1961), as well as two stories in the first comic book formally published by the newly christened Marvel Comics, Amazing Adventures #3 (Aug. 1961).[13] As Marvel introduced its superheroes in the early 1960s, Ayers inked Kirby on the first appearances of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #27 & 35, Jan. & Sept. 1962), Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (issues #1-3, May-Sept. 1963), and the revamped Rawhide Kid (beginning with The Rawhide Kid #17, Aug. 1960); on the second and several subsequent early appearances of Thor (Journey into Mystery #84-89, Sept. 1962 - Feb. 1963), plus others; on Fantastic Four #6-20 (Sept. 1962 - Nov. 1963), and the spin-off Human Torch solo series in Strange Tales (starting with its debut in issue #101); and on some early issues of The Incredible Hulk, among other series.

Additionally, Ayers took over from Kirby as Sgt. Fury penciler with issue #8 (July 1964), beginning a 10-year run that — except for #13 (which he inked over Kirby's pencils), and five issues by other pencilers — continued virtually unbroken through #120 (with the series running Ayers reprints every-other-issue through most but not all from #79 on).

During the late 1980s, Ayers drew at least one edition of the promotional comic-book series TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids: Alec and Shanna, alternately titled The Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: Alec and Shanna, published by Archie Comics for Radio Shack. The comics worked in references to a multitude of Radio Shack products. Ayers, inked by Chic Stone, drew the cover and the 28-page main story, written by Paul Kupperberg, for The Tandy Computer Whiz Kids: The Computers that Said No to Drugs Edition (March 1985).

Ayers' work continued into the 2000s, including pencil work on The Song of Mykal in 2001, and The Uncanny Dave Cockrum... A Tribute in 2004. In 2007 he worked on Doris Danger Seeks Where Urban Creatures Creep and Stomp!, The 3-Minute Sketchbook and The Invincible Iron Man. He penciled and lettered Femforce vs The Claw in 2002 and Femforce Features: Giantess in 2004, and penciled, inked and lettered Gunslingers in 2000 and Chips Wilde: The Wild One! in 2005.

His older pencil and ink work has also appeared in archival reprints throughout the 2000s, and in the Marvel Comics reference series All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #6 (2006) and its 2007 update. In 2009, his work appeared in Marvel Mystery Handbook 70th Anniversary Special.

Ayers died at his home in White Plains, New York on May 4, 2014, less than a week after his 90th birthday.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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