Al Hartley

Henry Allan Hartley[1] (October 25, 1921 – May 27, 2003)[2] known professionally as Al Hartley, was an American comic book writer-artist known for his work on Archie Comics, Atlas Comics (the 1950s precursor of Marvel Comics), and many Christian comics. He received an Inkpot Award at the 1980 San Diego Comic-Con.

Hartley was the son of Congressman Frederick Allan Hartley, Jr., a New Jersey Republican remembered in history for the Taft-Hartley Act.

Al Hartley
Al Hartley
BornHenry Allan Hartley
October 25, 1921
Kearny, New Jersey
DiedMay 27, 2003 (aged 81)
Fort Myers, Florida
Area(s)Writer, Artist
Notable works
Patsy Walker
AwardsInkpot Award, 1980


Early life and career

Al Hartley was born in Kearny, New Jersey,[3] the son of Hazel Hartley[4] and Congressman Frederick Allan Hartley, Jr. (Republican from New Jersey), co-author of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.[3] He had a brother, Jack, and a sister, Lorraine.[1] Their father, Hartley said, "encouraged me. He knew I wanted to draw from the time I could hold a crayon.... My father wanted me to pursue my own dreams and never attempted to steer me in any other direction."[5] Hartley drew for the local newspaper while still in high school,[6] and studied at the Art Students League of New York.[7] He began selling humorous spot illustrations to magazines, and drew a Western comic-book story about Tecumseh for the publisher Street & Smith before the U.S. joined World War II, after which he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps and flew 20 missions as a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber pilot in Europe.[8]

On his return, he became a commercial artist and made the rounds of comic-book publishers, quickly getting work with publisher Ned Pines' Standard Comics and its imprints Better Publications and Nedor Publishing.[6] There he drew his first known credited work, the backup feature "Roger Dodger" in Exciting Comics #51–67 (Sept. 1946 – May 1949).[9] Hartley also did humor one- and two-pagers for the publisher's America's Best Comics #20–28 (Dec. 1946 – Nov. 1948), as well as the feature "Zippie" in The Fighting Yank, and pieces for Startling Comics and Wonder Comics.[9]

During this time he also did the backup features "Debbie" and "Teen Tales" in Michel Publications' Cookie, The Funniest Kid in Town; and "Peg" for ACG's The Kilroys. As well, his work appeared in the titles All Romances, Dotty, Dotty and Her Boyfriends, and Vicky for A. A. Wyn, Inc.'s Ace Comics.[9]

Patsy (and Hedy)

In 1949, Hartley began freelancing for editor Stan Lee at Timely Comics, the progenitor of Marvel Comics. Hartley recalled,

I'd developed enough of a reputation that it wasn't difficult to get a job at Timely in 1949. Stan Lee knew my work and hired me. When I started working with Stan, he wrote most of my stories, although I later wrote all of my own stories. We did all kinds of genres: war, Westerns, detective, science-fiction — you name it. ... We’d take a theme, and I’d illustrate the story. There were no typed scripts, just a very loose plot line. It was my job to draw the story with as much excitement, surprise, and suspense as I could. Then, Stan would write the dialogue [in the manner of what would be called the "Marvel Method"]. It's hard to put a time frame on it, but I'd guess we started working that way in the mid-1950s.[6]

As Timely segued into Atlas Comics, Marvel's 1950s predecessor, Hartley made his mark with a more than decade-long run on the Patsy Walker teen-girl titles. With writer-editor Lee, Hartley chronicled the redheaded high schooler's lightly comic adventures in her namesake series (which ran through 1964) and in its spin-offs, Patsy and Hedy (which ran through 1967) and the single-issue A Date with Patsy (Sept. 1957). Well into the Marvel era, Hartley also drew the "Special Queen Size Annual" publication Patsy Walker's Fashion Parade #1 (1966).[9] Walker eventually would be integrated into mainstream Marvel Universe continuity in the 1970s as the supernatural superheroine Hellcat long after Hartley had left the character.

The teen-humor heroine gets serious in Patsy Walker #116 (Aug. 1964). Cover art by Hartley

Also for Atlas, Hartley co-created Leopard Girl with writer Don Rico in Jungle Action, and drew such features as "The Black Rider" in Wild Western, and "Cliff Mason, White Hunter" in Jungle Tales. Hartley drew as well for the horror/suspense titles Mystic, Spellbound, Strange Tales, Adventures into Terror, and Mystery Tales, among many other Atlas books.[9]

Silver Age of Comic Books

For Marvel in the 1960s, Hartley drew a single superhero comic: an episode of the Norse god superhero feature "Thor" in Journey into Mystery #90. He recalled that "superheroes weren't really my forte. I don't recall the circumstances that led me to draw that story. At that stage of the game, I was mostly doing work that I was more comfortable with, mostly teenage and humor stories."[10] Harley dabbled in Marvel scripting on two stories: the "Iron Man" feature in Tales of Suspense #68 (Aug. 1965), and the last "Giant-Man" feature, in Tales to Astonish #69 (July 1965).[9]

Among Marvel miscellanea, Hartley drew the 1961–63 series Linda Carter, Student Nurse, which began as a humor comic then became a romance with issue #2.[9] After fellow Atlas artist Joe Maneely was killed in an accident in 1958, Hartley succeeded him on writer Stan Lee's syndicated comic strip Mrs. Lyon's Cubs.[3] Hartley had done a short-lived gag-panel cartoon, Suburbia, the year before.[4]

As well, he said, "There was one point in the early 1960s when I was Stan's assistant for about two months. I didn't feel comfortable in that position, so I went back to freelancing. As Stan's assistant, frankly, I did everything I normally did, and did some of the things that Stan did. I edited and wrote stories. I don't recall doing art corrections on anyone else's work."[11]

Christian comics

In 1967, feeling "sterile, numb, and filled with fear", Hartley became a born again Christian, as did his wife, Hermine, with whom he had a daughter, Alana,[3] and two sons,[4] one named Fred.[3] At the time, he was among several artists who drew the black-and-white, "nudie cutie" secret-agent feature "Pussycat" that ran in some of Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's men's magazines; Hartley told the publisher he couldn't continue.[3]

The Hartley written-and-drawn Archie's One Way (Spire Christian Comics). Reissued at different price points, 1972 to circa 1977. This 39¢ version is from 1973.

He began writing and drawing for Archie Comics, infusing some of the stories with his Christian beliefs. At one point he was directed to cut back. "I knew God was in control, so I respected my publisher's position and naturally complied".[3] He later received a call from publisher Fleming H. Revell, for whom he then freelanced a comic-book adaptation of David Wilkerson's The Cross and the Switchblade in 1972, quickly followed by adaptations of God's Smuggler by the pseudonymous Brother Andrew and The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. Inspired, Hartley helped launch the Spire Christian Comics line, and pitched Archie president John L. Goldwater to let him license the Archie guys 'n' gals. The Jewish Goldwater, himself religious, agreed, and Spire went on to release 59 comics – at least 19 of them Archie titles, along with six Bible stories, 12 biography adaptations, four other book or movie adaptations (including Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika), and nine children's comics.

Comics writer Kathleen Webb wrote,

It was Al's 'Betty's Diary' stories that intrigued me the most. He wrote a lot of them for the Betty & Me books in the early 1970s. ... Al's way of handling Betty as she shared her thoughts in her diary was with insight, humor and care. He never 'preached' in those pages; he just had Betty share her feelings, good and bad. His other Betty & Me stories were also written well, tackling Betty's relationship with Archie carefully, never making Betty out to be so much the 'sore loser' as the 'never-give-up-gal'.[4]

Book illustration

Hartley wrote a 1977 memoir, Come Meet My Friend! (New Life Ventures) (F. H. Revell, ISBN 0-8007-9001-4), and a 1997 inspirational hardcover, It Takes a Family: How to Create Hope and Celebrate Your Future (Barbour Publishing, # ISBN 1-55748-946-7).

Personal life

Hartley and his wife of 61 years, Hermine, had two children, Fred and Alana.[1] Hartley died May 27, 2003, aged 81, at Health Park Medical Center in Fort Myers, Florida.[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Henry Allan Hartley, 81, son of Congressman, sister in Lebanon Borough". New Jersey Hills Media Group. June 11, 2003. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved February 23, 2016.
  2. ^ Henry A. Hartley at the United States Social Security Death Index via Retrieved on February 23, 2016. Additionally at
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Christian Comics Pioneers: Al Hartley". Christian Comics International. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Obituary: Al Hartley, 1922–2003". The Comics Journal #254 via The Comics Reporter. June 30, 2003. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Note: Gives erroneously birth year of 1922. See Social Security Death Index citation.
  5. ^ Hartley in Amash, Jim (August 2006). "'The Lord Gave Me The Opportunity To Do What I Wanted'" (PDF). Alter Ego. 3 (61). pp. 75–76. Archived (PDF) from the original on April 8, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
  6. ^ a b c Hartley, Alter Ego, p. 76
  7. ^ Al Hartley at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010.
  8. ^ Hartley, Alter Ego, p. 75
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Al Hartley at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ Hartley, Alter Ego, p. 77
  11. ^ Hartley, Alter Ego, pp. 76–77

External links

2003 in comics

Notable events of 2003 in comics. See also List of years in comics.

Don Heck

Donald L. "Don" Heck (January 2, 1929 – February 23, 1995) was an American comics artist best known for co-creating the Marvel Comics character Iron Man, and for his long run penciling the Marvel superhero-team series The Avengers during the 1960s Silver Age of comic books.

Don Rico

Donato Francisco Rico II (September 26, 1912 – March 27, 1985) was an American paperback novelist, screenwriter, wood engraver and comic book writer-artist, who co-created the Marvel Comics characters Jann of the Jungle with artist Arthur Peddy, Leopard Girl with artist Al Hartley, and Lorna the Jungle Girl with an artist generally considered to be Werner Roth. His pen names include Dan Rico, Donella St. Michaels, Donna Richards, Joseph Milton, and N. Korok.

Fred A. Hartley Jr.

Fred Allan Hartley Jr. (February 22, 1902 – May 11, 1969) was an American Republican Party politician from New Jersey. Hartley served ten terms in the United States House of Representatives where he represented the New Jersey's 8th and New Jersey's 10th congressional districts. He is by far best known for being the House of Representatives sponsor of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1947.

Girl Comics

Girl Comics is the name of two comic-book series published by Marvel Comics and its forerunners, Timely Comics and Atlas Comics. The first, debuting in 1949, ran 35 issues, changing its title to Girl Confessions with issue #13 (March 1952). The second was a three-issue limited series published in 2010.

Hansi, the Girl who Loved the Swastika

Hansi: The Girl who Loved the Swastika is an American one-shot comic book, published in 1973 by Spire Christian Comics and drawn by Al Hartley. It is a story set in Nazi Germany in 1938 that condemns Nazism and Communism and promotes the Bible. It is based on the real-life story of Maria Anne Hirschmann.

Hartley (surname)

Hartley is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Adele Hartley, Edinburgh film festival organiser

Aidan Hartley (born 1965), British journalist

A. J. Hartley, British-born New York Times-bestselling author and Shakespearean dramaturg

Al Hartley (1921–2003), American comic book writer

Sir Andreas de Harcla, or Andrew Harclay, 1st Earl of Carlisle (c. 1270 – 1323)

A. N. Hartley (1902–1994), English dog breeder

Alex Hartley (born 1963), British artist

Alfred Hartley (1879–1918), English cricketer

Ann Hartley (born 1942), former New Zealand member of parliament

Anne Jane Hartley, birth name of the actress Ann Gilbert

Anthony Hartley (1925–2000), British writer and critic

Arthur Hartley (1889–1960), British civil engineer

Bill Hartley (activist) (1930–2006), Australian political activist

Bill Hartley (writer/presenter) (1911–1970), British broadcaster and writer, presented Motoring and the Motorist for the BBC

Bill Hartley (athlete) (born 1950), English former athlete

Blythe Hartley (born 1982), Canadian Olympic diver

Bob Hartley (born 1960), Canadian National Hockey League coach

Brendon Hartley (born 1989), New Zealand racing car driver

Bria Hartley (born 1992), American basketball player

Charles Hartley (disambiguation)

Charles Augustus Hartley (1825–1915), British, Victorian-era engineer

David Hartley (disambiguation)

David Hartley (computer scientist), (born 1937)

David Hartley (cricketer) (born 1963), former English cricketer

David Hartley (figure skater), British figure skater

David Hartley (musician), known for working with Sting

David Hartley (philosopher) (1705–1757), English philosopher and psychologist

David Hartley (politician), former member of the Ohio House of Representatives

David Hartley (rugby league), English rugby league footballer of the 1960s and 1970s

David Hartley (the Younger) (1731–1813), Member of Parliament and son of the English philosopher

Dylan Hartley (born 1986), England rugby union player

Edmund Barron Hartley (1847–1919), British Victoria Cross recipient

Elizabeth Hartley (disambiguation)

Elizabeth Hartley (Girl Guides) (born 1906), English Girl Guide and author

Elizabeth Hartley (actress) (1751–1824), English actress

Elizabeth Hartley (archaeologist) (1947–2018), American archaeologist and museum curator

Fergal Hartley (born 1973), Irish hurler

Fred A. Hartley, Jr. (1902–1969), U.S. politician, known for sponsoring the Taft-Hartley Act

Gene Hartley (1926–1993), American racecar driver

Grover Hartley (1888–1964), American baseball player

Hal Hartley (born 1959), American film director

Herman Otto Hartley (1912–1980), German-American statistician

J. R. Hartley, a fictional character and an author's pseudonym

Jess Hartley (born 1967), American author and writer

Jesse Hartley (1780–1860), British civil engineer

John Hartley (disambiguation), several people including:

John Hartley (poet) (1839–1915), English poet

John Anderson Hartley (1844–1896), Australian educationalist

John Hartley (tennis) (1849–1935), English clergyman who won Wimbledon

John Hartley (cricketer) (1874–1963), English cricketer, played for Oxford and Sussex

Jonathan Scott Hartley (1845–1912), American sculptor

Julia Hartley-Brewer, British journalist

Justin Hartley (born 1977), American actor

Keef Hartley (born 1944), British musician

L. P. Hartley (1895–1972), British author

Linda Hartley-Clark (born 1966), Australian actress

Lindsay Hartley (born 1978), American singer and actress

Mariette Hartley (born 1940), American actress

Marsden Hartley (1877–1943), American artist

Matthieu Hartley (born 1960), English musician

Mike Hartley (born 1961), American former baseball player

Nina Hartley (born 1959), adult-film actress

Oliver C. Hartley (1823–1859), American lawyer

Paul Hartley (born 1976), Scottish footballer

Peter Hartley (cricketer) (born 1960), English former cricketer

Peter Hartley (footballer) (born 1988), English footballer

Ralph Hartley (1888–1970), American electronics researcher

Richard Hartley (born 1944), British composer

Robert Hartley (born 1915), British stage, film and television actor

Steven Hartley (born 1960), British actor

Sue Hartley, British ecologist

Thomas Hartley (1748–1800), American lawyer

Vivian Hartley (1913–1963), birth name of the actress Vivien Leigh

Wallace Hartley (1878–1912), English violinist and band leader who died on the Titanic

Walter Hartley (born 1927), American composer

William Hartley (disambiguation)

William James Hartley (born 1945), former Canadian politician and restaurateur

Sir William Pickles Hartley (1846–1922), founder of the eponymous jam company in England

Inkpot Award

The Inkpot Award is an honor bestowed annually since 1974 by Comic-Con International. It is given to professionals in the fields of comic books, comic strips, animation, science fiction, and related areas of popular culture, at CCI's annual convention, commonly known as "San Diego Comic-Con". Also eligible are members of Comic-Con's Board of Directors and convention committee.

The recipients, listed below, are known primarily as comics creators, including writers; artists; letterers; colorists; editors; or publishers; unless otherwise noted.

Jungle Action

Jungle Action is the name of two American comic book series published by Marvel Comics and its 1950s precursor, Atlas Comics. The Marvel version contained the first series starring the Black Panther, the first black superhero in mainstream comics, created by the writer/artist team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #52 (July 1966).

Kearny, New Jersey

Kearny ( KAR-nee) is a town in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States and a suburb of Newark. As of the 2010 United States Census, the town's population was 40,684, reflecting an increase of 171 (+0.4%) from the 40,513 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 5,639 (+16.2%) from the 34,874 counted in the 1990 Census.Kearny is named after Civil War general Philip Kearny. It began as a township formed by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 8, 1867, from portions of Harrison Township. Portions of the township were taken on July 3, 1895, to form East Newark. Kearny was incorporated as a town on January 19, 1899, based on the results of a referendum held two days earlier. The Arlington section of town was named for Arlington Station on the Erie Railroad at the Arlington Mill plant, owned by Arlington Mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts.

List of American comics creators

This is a list of American comics creators. Although comics have different formats, this list covers creators of comic books, graphic novels and comic strips, along with early innovators. The list presents authors with the United States as their country of origin, although they may have published or now be resident in other countries. For other countries, see List of comic creators.

List of Marvel Comics people

Marvel Comics is an American comic book company. These are some of the people (artists, editors, executives, writers) who have been associated with the company in its history, as Marvel and its predecessors, Timely Comics and Atlas Comics.

Millie the Model

Millie the Model was Marvel Comics' longest-running humor title, first published by the company's 1940s predecessor, Timely Comics, and continuing through its 1950s forerunner, Atlas Comics, to 1970s Marvel.

Night Nurse (comics)

Night Nurse is a Marvel Comics comic book series published in the early 1970s, as well as the alter ego later taken on by one of its characters, Linda Carter. Carter was one of three central characters who first appeared in Night Nurse #1 (cover-dated Nov. 1972), though she was previously the lead of another Marvel series, Linda Carter, Student Nurse, published in 1961. Carter later adopted the name "Night Nurse" for herself, and in this incarnation, first appeared in Daredevil #58 (May 2004), as a medical professional specializing in helping injured superheroes.

Patsy Walker

Hellcat (Patricia "Patsy" Walker) is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. She premiered as the star of a teen romantic-comedy series and was later integrated into Marvel superhero franchises such as the Avengers and the Defenders.

Created by Stuart Little and Ruth Atkinson, Patsy Walker first appeared in Miss America Magazine #2 (Nov. 1944), published by Marvel precursor Timely Comics, and became Hellcat in The Avengers #144 (Feb. 1976).

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a version of the character is portrayed by Rachael Taylor in Jessica Jones as a main character and in The Defenders as a recurring character.

Prince Albert (electoral district)

Prince Albert is a federal electoral district in Saskatchewan, Canada, that has been represented in the House of Commons of Canada from 1908 to 1988, and since 1997.

It is the only district which has been represented by two different Prime Ministers, (William Lyon Mackenzie King from 1926 to 1945 and John Diefenbaker from 1953 to 1979). It is also the only district where a current Prime Minister and a future Prime Minister ran against each other (Prime Minister King against John Diefenbaker, in the 1926 general election).

Spire Christian Comics

Spire Christian Comics was a line of comic books published by Fleming H. Revell starting in 1972. In 1981 Hugh Revell Barbour started his own company, Book Bargains, which soon became Barbour & Company. Barbour acquired the rights to republish many of the titles in the Spire Christian Comics line under the New Barbour Christian Comics imprint, keeping the comics in print until 1988.

Most of the Spire Comics were written and drawn by Al Hartley, who was working for Archie Comics at the time. Due to this connection, he was able to get permission to use the Archie characters in many of the comics.

Other comics were based on true stories, Christian novels, or Christian movies. Examples of this type include those based on Charles Colson's Born Again, Corrie ten Boom's The Hiding Place, and a modernized version of Charles Sheldon's 1896 novel In His Steps.

A line of comics for very young children featured young Barney Bear, who lived with his parents in a cave in Yellowstone National Park.The comics were created from 1972 and 1982 and kept in print for several years.

Tales to Astonish

Tales to Astonish is the name of two American comic book series and a one-shot comic published by Marvel Comics.

The primary title bearing that name was published from January 1959 to March 1968. It began as a science-fiction anthology that served as a showcase for such artists as Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, then featured superheroes during the period fans and historians call the Silver Age of Comic Books. It became The Incredible Hulk with issue #102 (April 1968). Its sister title was Tales of Suspense.

A second Marvel comic bearing the name, reprinting stories of the undersea ruler the Sub-Mariner, ran 14 issues from December 1979 to January 1981. A superhero one-shot followed in 1994.

Wild Western

Wild Western (originally titled Wild West) was a Western comic book series published by Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. The omnibus series published 57 issues from 1948 to 1957. Kid Colt stories were usually the lead feature and a prominent cover element throughout the series' run, while most issues also featured the Two-Gun Kid and the Black Rider. Other recurring characters included Tex Taylor, Arizona Annie, the Apache Kid, and the Ringo Kid.

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