George Tuska (George Tuska)

George Tuska

George Tuska’s first work for the future Marvel Comics came in 1949, when Marvel’s predecessor company, Timely Comics, was transitioning to its 1950s iteration, Atlas Comics. His first confirmed credit is the seven-page story “Justice Has a Heart” in Casey – Crime Photographer # 1 (Aug. 1949). He quickly went on to draw in an abundance of genres for Atlas, including crime fiction (in titles including Crime Can’t Win, Crime Exposed, Private Eye, Justice, Amazing Detective Cases, and All True Crime Cases Comics); military fiction(Men in Action, War Combat, Man Comics, Battlefield, and Battle); horror (Adventures into Weird Worlds, Adventures into Terror, Mystic, Menace, and Strange Tales); and, particularly, Westerns (Black Rider, Gunsmoke Western, Kid Colt, Outlaw, Red Warrior, Texas Kid, Two-Gun Kid, Western Outlaws & Sheriffs, Wild Western, and many others) through 1957, while also occasionally contributing to Lev Gleason and St. John Publications. Simultaneously at first, from 1954 to 1959, Tuska took over as writer-artist for the failing adventure comic strip Scorchy Smith, supplying “eye-catching drawings and interesting plots, but it was too late”. The strip would end in 1961. George Tuska by then had moved on to the long-running science-fiction comic strip Buck Rogers, on which he was the final artist, drawing both the daily and Sunday strip from April 1959 to 1965, and the daily only from then through 1967, when both the daily and the Sunday were canceled. Near the cancellation of the daily Buck Rogers strip, Tuska again found a freelance home at what was by now Marvel Comics, then in the full breadth of what historians and fans call the Silver Age of Comic Books. “I called [editor-in-chief] Stan [Lee] and he said, ‘Come on up’, Tuska recalled in the mid-2000s. His first Marvel story, a “Tales of the Watcher” feature in Tales of Suspense #58 (Nov. 1964), included a special introduction by Lee, hailing the return of the Golden Age great.

George Tuska became a Marvel mainstay, penciling and occasionally inking other artists on series as diverse as Ghost Rider, Sub-Mariner, and The X-Men. His signature series became Iron Man, on which he enjoyed a nearly 10-year, sometimes briefly interrupted, run from issue #5 (Sept. 1968) to #106 (Jan. 1978). He and writer Archie Goodwin created the Controller as an antagonist in Iron Man #12 (April 1969). Comics historian Les Daniels noted that when Goodwin, Tuska and inker Billy Graham launched Luke Cage, Hero for Hire in 1972, “it was the first Marvel comic to take its title from a black character.” Shanna the She-Devil was created by Carole Seuling, Steve Gerber, and Tuska in the eponymous first issue of that character’s own series. He was one of the artists on the licensed movie tie-in series Planet of the Apes. Due to Marvel not having the likeness rights for Charlton Heston, the star of the film, one of the lawyers at 20th Century Fox insisted on changes to Tuska’s art. Editor Roy Thomas believed that Tuska “just made a handsome looking guy, but it didn’t look like Heston…you can’t argue. If somebody says it looks like Charlton Heston and they’re worried he’s gonna sue, you can’t say ‘no’ because they just weren’t going to give the approval.”

Later, for DC Comics, George Tuska drew characters including Superman, Superboy, and Challengers of the Unknown. He had a five-year run drawing The World’s Greatest Superheroes comic strip from 1978–1982, inked by Vince Colletta. By this time, his health had become a handicap; Jim Shooter, who scripted an issue of Daredevil penciled by Tuska in 1977, recalled that, “George Tuska was at the end of his brilliant career, he was mostly deaf, communication was difficult, and though he showed occasional flashes of the chops that made him a big name artist in his day, I don’t think his work on Daredevil was anywhere near his best.” Tuska drew DC’s Masters of the Universe limited series in 1982. Retired from active comics work as of the 2000s, Tuska lived in Manchester Township, New Jersey with his wife Dorothy (“Dot”), where he did commissioned art. The couple had three children, Barbara, Kathy and Robert. George Tuska died in 2009 “near the stroke of midnight between October 15 and October 16,” officially on the latter date. His last published comic-book art was one of four variant covers for Dynamite Entertainment’s Masquerade #2 (March 2009).

Born

  • April, 26, 1916
  • USA
  • Hartford, Connecticut

Died

  • October, 16, 2009
  • USA
  • Manchester Township, New Jersey

Cause of Death

  • stroke

579 profile views