The Who's Who of American Comic Books is a database designed to document the careers of people who have contributed to or supported the publication of original material in U.S. comic books in the years 1928-99. It is not a checklist, but rather a resume of a person's creative career. Each resume covers not only a person's comics career, but as much information as could be located about his/her other creative and professional work in advertising, prose, TV, animation, syndication, and other sister fields and professions. The scope of the Who's Who includes anyone known to have contributed directly to or supported the field of original U.S. comic books.
The goal is to cover the careers of people creating original American comic books, but there is one exception. Since the 1970s, the works of many foreign comics artists and writers have received wide distribution in the United States. These contributions have greatly influenced the American industry. Many of these artists and writers have gone on to create original material directly for U.S. audiences. The Who's Who attempts to document this major development by including their careers in this database.
Many reprints have appeared in abundance since this project began. Some of the more notable of these collections and reprints have been included here in order to give a feel for how a creator's work has been received and remembered. No effort was made to serve the function of a complete checklist.
The database also attempts to cover the small press and alternative publishers of comic books that have received distribution in the United States. Many new modes of distribution have complicated this task, but the coverage here catches the most prominent contributions in these areas, as well as some vanity productions with very limited print runs.
The Who's Who has an unusual structure for a database. Instead of containing just one kind of record with many different fields, it contains many different kinds of records with just a few fields. A basic search on any key words will yield all records containing those terms. [See the tips page to learn how to use more advanced search techniques.] The results of searches will initially be sorted by name and subject as they might appear in a biographical directory. All the relevant data appear in four fields:
People are generally listed under their most common name used in the field of comics. In many instances, this is not their formal legal name. Where a person might be known under various names, a cross-reference is provided. If more than one person has the same name, different numerals are affixed to the end of their names in this field in order to distinguish them and keep their credits separate. These numerals (1, 2, 3, etc.) generally reflect the order in which these individuals made their appearance in comics. If a name you are looking for does not return in a search, try searching on just the last name only or variant spellings.
The commonly known names of various comics publishing groups (1928-99) are also listed. Under the publisher, one will find a list of titles published.
This is pretty self-explanatory. For non-comics records, it simply identifies the field of endeavor or the general medium of the work listed in the credit field. For comics credits, the record category identifies the publishing group to which the credit is attached. The latter is an umbrella term that groups together various imprints that have a linkage that most readers would be able to perceive as continuity of editorial content. It is, at times, a somewhat arbitrary but useful classification scheme. No effort was made to try to distinguish all the countless changes in ownership, the multiple imprints and publishing names that have been used in this industry. These distinctions are beyond the scope of this database; however, some of this detailed information is attached as a note to the end of the CREDIT field.
This field will vary in format depending on the type of record, but for most non-comics items it contains the following:
In the case of work in comic books, the CREDIT field includes:
Other abbreviations may be combinations of the above are fairly standard and hopefully obvious.
The years that an individualís work appeared may span a variety of years and are recorded in the CREDIT field. The TENURE breaks down these years as 2-digit numbers.
For example, 1945-47/57-60/80+ becomes > 45 46 47 57 58 59 60 80 81 82 83.
1940s becomes > 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49.
Notice that although some dates may be uncertain, the tenure record leaves open the possibility that the credit extends beyond the known dates. This can be useful if one remembers that only the years given in the CREDIT field are the most reliable to date. If you can add more specific information, please provide feedback
** Comics credits are recorded by feature or strip except in the case of graphic albums and anthology-genre titles with no running feature. Some features. like Batman, may have appeared in many different titles. Don't confuse Batman (the feature) with the comic of that title. Magazine titles and albums are marked with a tilde (~).
** Names of comic books and comics features are capitalized to stand out from non-comics credits. Comics publishing groups and imprints are also all in caps.
**The slash, as in '(wr/pen/ink/)' or '(wr/lay/)', etc., should be read as 'and/or'. Some creators enjoyed doing one or more creative jobs in a given period.
**A person's career is, in most cases, recorded only with a resolution of a year, and all years refer to 'cover dates' unless otherwise noted. Actual creation dates are usually 6 months or more earlier. Some works were held in inventory for years before appearing. Materials reprinted or published from inventory are noted, where known. Be aware that dates here are not the dates of creation of a work, but publication dates. The same caveat applies to work in animation and other fields as well.
**No effort was made to designate co-authorship or other collaborations. In short, '(wr/)' may stand for co-writer, and any art credits whatsoever may be collaborative.
**For more detailed information, the reader should consult one of the checklists or master databases such as The Grand Comic-Book Database at http://www.comics.org
The first edition of the Who's Who, which appeared as a 4-volume set back in the mid-1970s, was co-edited by Hames Ware, as knowledgeable an art identifier as one will find anywhere. His massive contributions to the first edition are included herein as well.
My own efforts for this project included collecting and microfilming over one-half million comic book pages and contacting many hundreds of pros, asking them to fill out a questionnaire. Over the years, pros have gotten better at providing accurate data on their careers. Seeing their own work in print jogged the memories of the earlier pioneers. Unlike younger artists, many of these older artists did not collect their published work or get their art returned, so they had to rediscover their work when meeting with collectors and fans.
It was usually the case that writers kept better records of their work in comics than artists, presumably to insure that they finally received payment. While a number of us can spot art styles and identify artists, writer identifications are still the special province of Martin O'Hearn, who has repeatedly demonstrated great skill in accurately identifying the style of writers. His efforts were of great assistance to us.
Unfortunately, the first computer I used to record data had only 32K of RAM and severely restricted storage space, so I was not able to record all the sources and details that Hames and I relied upon over the decades of our separate and joint efforts. Suffice it to say, we had the help of scores of fans, along with the collections and expertise of Jim Vadeboncoeur Jr., Alberto Becattini, Steven Rowe, Ron Goulart, Craig Delich, Michael Barrier, Tim Barnes, Robin Snyder, Tim Stroup, Daniel Stevenson, R.C. Harvey, Bob Hughes, Bob Beerbohm, Mike Tiefenbacher, Michael Gilbert, Dr. Michael Vassallo and many, many others. I am indebted to all of Fandom for generous help from many quarters. I also am indebted to hundreds of pros who took the time to fill out my questionnaires and answer follow-up questions. When a pro helped fill in his career resume for me, I have noted this at the bottom of his/her listing. Most were working from memory and didn't have as many resources on hand as I did, but their additions were very valuable. Too many of these talented professionals are no longer with us, except in the works they created for our enjoyment. This database is my tribute to them.
I am delighted now to have the computer memory to be able to record those who have more recently helped with this project. You will see the names of Jim Amash, Bill Schelly, Mike Feldman, Ray Bottorff and many other knowledgeable and helpful people sprinkled throughout this update. They and a number of others, especially members of APA-I and the Grand Comic-Book Database continue to gather valuable data, which they have kindly shared with these old eyes. A stroke affecting my vision has cut into my ability to pursue this work as I used to, but I am still adding hundreds of new records each week and consolidating and revising old records. I enjoy getting data, and I can use every additional pairs of eyes that I can get. So, let me hear from you.
The search engine for this database was created by Richard Hughes of England, and is maintained through the courtesy of Lance (Doc) Boucher. Both have been an immense help to me in making this web site a reality.
The future of Jerry's Who's Who is undecided following his death on November 23, 2006. An announcement will be made in due course.