In Tribute Of Dick Ayers

Dr. Doom by Dick Ayers

Bleeding Cool (via Roy Thomas) reported that the 1950s/1960s Jack Kirby-inker Dick Ayers and longtime Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos penciller passed away on May 4, shortly before what would have been his ninetieth birthday. I was fortunate enough to get the above sketch from him at the 2006 Baltimore Comic Book Show, which was an adventure all in it self.

I was in line waiting to get a sketch, and I really wanted to get one of Nick Fury. But when I was next in line, I told Dick that I wanted a sketch of Hawkeye. I felt just like Ralphie in A Christmas Story, ruining my moment with Santa Claus.

There was a brief pause.

Dick looked up at me from the table and said the following: “You do know that’s a difficult costume to draw.”

There was another awkward pause. Now I’m feeling really embarrassed.

But before I could say something, Dick said “How bout I draw Doctor Doom instead?” I nodded my head just like a confused little kid would. I then spent the next twenty to thirty minutes talking with him about what it was like working for Marvel in his day and he answered every question, even telling me a few interesting stories about Jack Kirby!

And that’s how I wound up having an awkward exchange with a comics legend (that turned itself around) and how he drew Doctor Doom for me. Thanks for the memories, Dick!


Sub-Mariner #23

Here’s some more Silver Age fun, this time in the form of a Sub-Mariner comic! This twenty third issue of his late sixties/early seventies ongoing series introduces a new villain to the Atlantean pantheon:  the human killer whale Orka!

So who exactly is this marine mammal themed super villain? Orka is a soldier in Atlantean renegade Kwang’s posse of ocean thugs. After being given the powers of a killer whale by fellow Namor hater Doctor Dorcas (probably the most unfortunate super villain name ever…I wonder if writer Roy Thomas was making a joke about a similar sounding whale body part), Orka sets out against the Sub-Mariner.

Namor can’t defeat the monster and the book ends with Orka and his killer whales going to kill Namor’s on-again/off-again cousin/love interest Dorma (yes you read that right). Can the Sub-Mariner save Dorma and stop the sea-dwelling scoundrels? Your guess is as good as mine; I don’t have the next issue!

Art in this issue is by Marie Severin, who is really one of the most underrated artists from this period at Marvel. She is definitely a master of several genres, including fantasy like this, horror comics, humor and straight up super hero work. She even pencilled Marvel’s A-Team adaptation!