Monday, March 1, 2010

Comic Art Legend: Bill Everett

Born on May 18, 1917, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Bill Everett studied at the Vesper George School of Art, soon working on various commercial art jobs before finally landing at the Lloyd Jacquet Comic Shop in 1939. Drawing under his own name and a handful of pseudonyms the artist created some forgotten superheroes (White Streak, Amazing Man, Chameleon) for Centaur, Novelty, and others. But Everett's big break came when he created the Sub-Mariner which made his first appearance in Marvel Comics #1. As a foil to Carl Burgo's Human Torch which also came from the Jacquet shop, Bill's undersea antihero was a major overnight success with his distinct stylized look of triangular head and arched eyebrows. During the early forties, Everett created other underwater heroes and super beings (Hydroman, The Patriot, Music Master) for Eastern Color, Timely, Hillman, and Eastern, before a stint in the armed forces, but all these paled in comparison to his historic Prince Namor character.

After the war, he returned to Timely to work on Sub-Mariner and his companion book Namorita, before switching to produce a large number of horror tales for Atlas in the 1950s. After a short return to Sub-Mariner, Bill left comics for the more lucrative field of commercial art until 1964. He returned to Marvel Comics to work on a new crop of superhero titles and got the chance to once again to work on his creation and revitalize the series for a new generation. Just when Everett was making a name for himself with new readers the artist took suddenly ill and passed away on February 27, 1973. But so liked was the man by his peers, the Academy of Comic Book Arts set up a fund for indigent artists in his name to help the less fortunate.

No comments: