Dwight Graydon "Gray" Morrow (March 7, 1934 – November 6, 2001) was an American illustrator of comics and paperback books. He is co-creator of the Marvel Comics muck-monster the Man-Thing and of DC Comics Old West vigilante El Diablo.
|Born||Dwight Graydon Morrow|
March 7, 1934
Fort Wayne, Indiana
|Died||November 6, 2001 (aged 67)|
|Tarzan, Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, The Illustrated Roger Zelazny|
|Awards||Nominated for Hugo Award in 1966, 1967, and 1968|
Gray Morrow was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he attended North Side High School. He recalled in 1973 that, "Comic art was certainly the first artform I remember being impressed with ... [T]hose gorgeous gory newsstand spreads ..." After serving as editor of his high-school yearbook, for which he did cartoons and illustration, and working a number of odd jobs including "soda jerk, street repairman, tie designer, exercise boy on the race track circuit, etc.," he enrolled in the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts in Chicago, Illinois, in late summer 1954, studying two nights a week for three months under Jerry Warshaw for "the total of my entire formal art training." His first formal commission "was something like a bank ad or a tie design when I was still in my teens." He joined the city's Feldkamp-Malloy art studio, later being fired. Feeling encouraged by a meeting with comic-strip artist Allen Saunders, Morrow submitted strip samples to various syndicates with no luck.
Undaunted, he moved to New York City in winter 1955 and by the following spring had met fellow young comics artists Al Williamson, Angelo Torres, and Wally Wood. He sold his first comic-book story, a romance tale, to Toby Press, which went out of business before it could be published. Morrow next did two stories for another company — a Western with original characters and an adaptation of pulp-fiction writer Robert E. Howard's "The Tower of the Elephant", but this company, too, went defunct. He then worked for Williamson and Wood doing backgrounds and layouts, and through Williamson began contributing to Atlas Comics, the 1950s iteration of Marvel Comics, drawing several supernatural-fantasy stories plus at least four Westerns and one war story on titles cover-dated July 1956 to June 1957.
Gray illustrated several stories for EC Comics in the 1950s, including horror, suspense and science fiction. He later did covers and stories for the company's New Trend comics and Picto-Fiction magazines.
In late 1956, Morrow was drafted into the U.S. Army. Stationed at Incheon and Wolmido Island, South Korea, with Fox Company, he did "illustrations and paintings for the officers' club, day rooms, insignias on helmets for their parades ... you know, anything and everything. That was my official duty." After being discharged in 1958, "My friend Angelo Torres took me around to a couple of his clients, one being 'Classics' [i.e., the Gilberton Company, publisher of the Classics Illustrated comic-book series of literary adaptations], and I was given a script. One thing led to another and I was soon working on a regular basis.
Prior to his Gilberton stint, Morrow contributed to one of the first black-and-white horror-comics magazines, the Joe Simon-edited Eerie Tales #1 (Nov. 1959) from Hastings Associates, penciling and inking two four-page stories by an unknown writer, "The Stalker" and "Burn!"
In the early 1960s, Morrow anonymously illustrated three literary adaptations for Classics Illustrated: The Octopus by Frank Norris (#159, Nov. 1960); Master of the World by Jules Verne (#163, July 1961); and The Queen's Necklace by Alexandre Dumas (#165, Jan. 1962), which he said he penciled and inked at the rate of "eight pages a day ... as fast as I've ever been able to go" since "I'd moved to California and needed those checks badly." Morrow also supplied drawings for chapters in Classics Illustrated Special Issue #159A, Rockets, Jets and Missiles (Dec. 1960), and in 13 World Around Us issues ranging from Prehistoric Animals (Nov. 1959) to Famous Teens (May 1961). One of those, #W28, Whaling (Dec. 1960), resulted in unexpected controversy when he accurately depicted African-American whalers:
[T]he page rate [at Gilberton in general] wasn't much for the accuracy and authenticity they expected, but it was a challenge to 'do it right.' Roberta and Len Cole were demanding but genial editors. One job I do remember ... something about whaling, got me in dutch [i.e. trouble] with Roberta. My research indicated that many of the whalers were black — so that's what I drew. She had a fit and insisted they all be redrawn to 'avoid controversy.'
In the end, the problematic chapter, "The Long Voyage", retained what one comics historian called "a respectable number of African-American whalemen." Morrow, however, recalled, "[T]hey had me make them all white. I had to change their features."
Concurrently, Morrow also illustrated entries in the Bobbs-Merrill juvenile book series "Childhood of Famous Americans", continuing with that publisher after Gilberton ceased production of new titles. Morrow's art appears in Henry Clay: Young Kentucky Orator (1963), Douglas MacArthur: Young Protector and other entries. Some, including Crispus Attucks, Black Leader of Colonial Patriots, Teddy Roosevelt, Young Rough Rider, and Abner Doubleday: Young Baseball Pioneer, were reprinted by successor publishers in the 1980s and 1990s.
Morrow next began a three-year association with Warren Publishing's line of black-and-white horror-comics magazines in 1964, starting with the six-page story "Bewitched!," written by Larry Ivie, in Creepy #1, and contributed over a dozen stories to that magazine and its sister publication Eerie, as well as to the war-comics magazine Blazing Combat, through 1967. He also painted four horror covers for Warren. For competitor Skywald Publications, he drew the eight-page "The Skin And Bones Syndrome" for Psycho #1 (Jan. 1971), and co-created the muck-monster Man-Thing, with writers Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, in Marvel Comics' first entry into the adult-oriented comics-magazine market, the black-and-white Savage Tales #1 (May 1971).
By 1970, Morrow was married to Betty Morrow, who wrote a story he drew, "The Journey", in the early independent comic witzend #7 (1970). That same year he returned to color comics, drawing several supernatural-fantasy stories for DC Comics' Witching Hour, House of Secrets and House of Mystery, as well as a smattering of romance and superhero tales. He also drew Western stories, and with writer Robert Kanigher co-created the Old West vigilante El Diablo in All-Star Western #2 (Oct. 1970). He did a small amount of work for Marvel during this time, with the cover and a romance story for My Love #14 (Nov. 1971), a Man-Thing cover and story in Adventure into Fear #10 (Oct. 1972), two "Gullivar Jones, Warrior of Mars" stories in Creatures on the Loose #20-21 (Nov. 1972 - Jan. 1973), and virtually his only Marvel superhero story, a 10-page Falcon feature in Captain America #144 (Dec. 1971).
By 1973, Morrow had served as an uncredited ghost artist or art assistant on the syndicated comic strips Rip Kirby by John Prentice, Secret Agent X-9 by Al Williamson and Big Ben Bolt by John Cullen Murphy. He took over the Buck Rogers strip in 1979 and the Tarzan Sunday strip from 1983 to 2001. He recalled trying out for Prince Valiant, saying he provided a sample "when [strip creator] Hal Foster decided to go into semi-retirement. It was done in August and published in October or November of '71. It was done as a sample when Foster interviewed [me] and a couple of others (Wally Wood and John Cullen Murphy) to take over."
Through 1974 and early 1975, he edited and frequently drew stories for Archie Comics' imprint of non-teen-humor titles, Red Circle Comics, including Chilling Adventures in Sorcery, its successor Red Circle Sorcery, and the single-issue The Super Cops, based on two real-life New York City Police Department detectives. Following this, he specialized in covers and stories for such black-and-white Marvel magazines as Masters of Terror, Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction and Marvel Preview. Afterward, through 1976, he was art director of Charlton Comics' black-and-white magazine Space: 1999, based on the TV series of that name. Active in the early independent comics of the 1970s, Morrow contributed mostly spot illustrations, covers and pinups rather than stories to titles including publisher David Jablin's Imagination #1 (1971); Mark Feldman's I'll Be Damned #4 (1971); John Carbonaro's Phase #1 (Sept. 1971); Doug Murray & Richard Garrison Heritage #1A and 1B (1972); and Gary Berman & Adam Malin's Infinity #2, 3B, 4-5 (1970?-1973).
In 1978, he began publishing, in Heavy Metal magazine, a series of stories that would be collected in 2012 as chapters of the sword and sorcery graphic novel Orion. Likewise, his Playboy feature "Amora", which he both wrote and drew, was collected as Heritage presents ... Amora, from the Forest Park, Georgia publisher Heritage in 1971. He illustrated and colored each of the several Roger Zelazny stories that the author self-adapted for the 96-page graphic short-story collection The Illustrated Roger Zelazny, produced by Byron Preiss Enterprizes and published by Baronet Publishing in February 1979.
In addition to comics, Morrow in the 1960s and 1970s was an illustrator for many science-fiction magazines, with examples of his work gracing most of the covers of the American version of the Perry Rhodan paperback-book series. He also did the illustrations for the original Galaxy Science Fiction publication of the Hugo-winning novella Soldier, Ask Not by Gordon R. Dickson. Additionally, he drew for satirical-humor magazine National Lampoon
In the 1980s, he wrote and drew Pacific Comics' three-issue Edge of Chaos (July 1983 - Jan. 1984), a science-fiction retelling of the story of the Greek gods. Through the decade he did sporadic but diverse work for Marvel and DC, ranging from stories of Lois Lane to those of Mark Hazzard: Merc, as well as horror and science-fiction stories for Eclipse Comics; satirical humor for Cracked; "The Sex Vampires from Outer Space" and other stories for the same publisher's black-and-white comics magazine Monsters Attack; and Marvel Graphic Novel: Dreamwalker (1989), a 63-page superhero/espionage thriller written by actors Miguel Ferrer and Bill Mumy. He drew the comics adaptations of the Sheena and Supergirl movies in 1984. Morrow briefly drew DC's Spectre series in 1988.
The following decade, continuing his trend of wide-ranging work, he drew the superhero feature "Powerline", by writers D. G. Chichester and Margaret Clark, in several issues of the Marvel/Epic Comics anthology A Shadowline Saga: Critical Mass; inked Michael Davis Lawrence on writer Mike Grell's DC Comics miniseries Shado: Song of the Dragon #1-4; contributed to DC's "The Big Book of ..." trade paperback line of non-fiction vignettes on a variety of topics; drew the Historical Souvenir Co.'s 40-page, non-fiction Epic Battles of the Civil War #2 - Shiloh (1998); drew children's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers adventurers for Hamilton Comics and adult-oriented stories for Penthouse Comix; and did work for such independent comics publishers as Aardwolf Publishing, Dark Horse Comics and NBM, and the underground comix publisher Rip Off Press. His last new work was his posthumously published contribution, with four other artists, to the 10-page story "Letters From a Broken Apple", written by Neil Kleid, in Alternative Comics' benefit one-shot 9-11 Emergency Relief (Jan. 2002).
He was living in Kunkletown, Pennsylvania, and suffering from Parkinson's Disease when he died November 6, 2001, apparently from a gunshot wound. He was survived by his later wife, Pocho Morrow.
Morrow was nominated for the Hugo Award for best professional artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968. In 2005, he was posthumously inducted into the Oklahoma Cartoonists Associates Hall of Fame in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, located in the Toy and Action Figure Museum.
Savage Tales ... was more notable for the debut of Marvel's mindless swamp monster, the Man-Thing, in an origin story written by Gerry Conway and illustrated by Gray Morrow.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
When the Supergirl movie made its US premiere on November 21, 1984, the only comic book on the stands in support of it was a one-shot adaptation written by Joey Cavalieri and drawn by Gray Morrow.
Notable events of 1972 in comics. See also List of years in comics.Big Ben Bolt
Big Ben Bolt is a comic strip that was syndicated from the 1950s to the 1970s. It was drawn by John Cullen Murphy, written by Elliot Caplin, and distributed by King Features Syndicate. The strip followed the adventures of boxer and journalist Ben Bolt.El Diablo (comics)
El Diablo is a name shared by several fictional characters published by DC Comics: Lazarus Lane, Rafael Sandoval and Chato Santana.Friday Foster (film)
Friday Foster is a 1975 American blaxploitation film written and directed by Arthur Marks and starring Pam Grier in the title role. Yaphet Kotto, Eartha Kitt, Scatman Crothers and Carl Weathers co-starred. It was an adaptation of the 1970-74 eponymous syndicated newspaper comic strip, scripted by Jim Lawrence and illustrated by Jorge Longarón and Gray Morrow. This was Grier's final film with American International Pictures. The tagline on the film's poster is "Wham! Bam! Here comes Pam!"Heroes Against Hunger
Heroes Against Hunger is a 1986 all-star benefit comic book for African famine relief and recovery. Published by DC Comics in the form of a "comic jam," or exquisite corpse, the book starred Superman and Batman. Spearheaded by Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson, all proceeds from the comic went to hunger relief in Africa.Heroes for Hope
Heroes for Hope: Starring the X-Men is a 1985 Marvel comic book designed to raise awareness about hunger in Africa. Proceeds from the comic went to the American Friends Service Committee, to assist in their work on behalf of African famine relief and recovery. Published in the form of a "comic jam," or exquisite corpse, the book featured an all-star lineup of comics creators as well as a few notable authors from outside the comic book industry, such as Stephen King, George R. R. Martin, and Edward Bryant. It also saw a rare Alan Moore Marvel Comics credit outside his early Marvel UK work.
Heroes for Hope featured some memorable artist/writer and penciler/inker pairings, including Stan Lee and John Buscema; Stephen King and Bernie Wrightson; Moore and Richard Corben; Harlan Ellison, Frank Miller, and Bill Sienkiewicz; Mike Baron and Steve Rude, Howard Chaykin inked by Walt Simonson; and John Byrne and Terry Austin reuniting on the X-Men.High Sorcery
High Sorcery is a collection of fantasy short stories by American writer Andre Norton. It was first published in paperback by Ace Books in March 1970, and was reprinted by the same publisher in 1971, 1973, and 1976; a second edition, reset but otherwise unchanged, was published in paperback by Ace in March 1979, and was reprinted in 1982 and 1984. All printings of the first edition bore cover art by artist Gray Morrow, which was replaced in all printings of the second edition with new art by Steve Hickman.Jorge Longarón
Jordi Longarón i Llopart (born 1933), better known as Jorge Longarón, is a Spanish illustrator for magazines and comic strips.
Born in Barcelona, Longarón began professionally during the 1940s and 1950s. He drew the comics Arsénico Lupin in Chispa and Chan-Chu-Llo in Garabatos and also contributed to El Pequeño Mosquetero, Serenata Extra, Hazañas Belicas and Hazañas del Oeste.In 1969, for the Chicago Tribune and the New York News Syndicate, he teamed with writer Jim Lawrence to create the Friday Foster comic strip about a young female photographer. Friday Foster was launched January 18, 1970 and was syndicated until 1974, with Gray Morrow taking over the art chores in the final year. It was adapted into a feature film starring Pam Grier in 1975.Longarón has done many cover illustrations for American publications. As a fine artist, he has painted Catalan landscapes and the American Southwest. His influence can be seen in the artwork of Cliff Chiang and others.Man-Thing
The Man-Thing (Dr. Theodore "Ted" Sallis) is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by writers Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Gerry Conway and artist Gray Morrow, the character first appeared in Savage Tales #1 (May 1971), and went on to be featured in various titles and in his own series, including Adventure into Fear, which introduced the character Howard the Duck.
Steve Gerber's 39-issue run on the series is considered to be a cult classic.Man-Thing is a large, slow-moving, empathic, humanoid swamp monster living in the Florida Everglades near a Seminole reservation and the fictitious town of Citrusville in Cypress County, Florida. Conan Stevens portrayed the character in the 2005 film Man-Thing.Marvel Comics Super Special
Marvel Comics Super Special was a 41-issue series of one-shot comic-magazines published by American company Marvel Comics from 1977 to 1986. They were cover-priced $1.50 to $2.50, while regular color comics were priced 30 cents to 60 cents, Beginning with issue #5, the series' title in its postal indicia was shortened to Marvel Super Special. Covers featured the title or a variation, including Marvel Super Special, Marvel Super Special Magazine, and Marvel Weirdworld Super Special in small type, accompanied by large logos of its respective features.
These primarily included film and TV series adaptations, but also original and licensed Marvel characters, and music-related biographies and fictional adventures.
Issue #7 was withdrawn after completion, and never published. Issue #8 was published in two editorially identical editions, one magazine-sized, one tabloid-sized.Mindy Newell
Mindy Newell (born October 24, 1953) is an American comic book artist and editor, best known for her work with DC Comics.Monsters Unleashed (comics)
Monsters Unleashed is the title of an American black-and-white comics magazine published by Magazine Management and two color comic-book miniseries from Marvel Comics. The first ran from 1973 to 1975. The two miniseries ran consecutively in 2017.Neil R. Jones
Neil Ronald Jones (May 29, 1909 – February 15, 1988) was an American author who worked for the state of New York. Not prolific, and little remembered today, Jones was ground-breaking in science fiction. His first story, "The Death's Head Meteor", was published in Air Wonder Stories in 1930, possibly recording the first use of "astronaut" in fiction. He also pioneered cyborg and robotic characters, and is credited with inspiring the modern idea of cryonics. Most of his stories fit into a "future history" like that of Robert A. Heinlein or Cordwainer Smith, well before either of them used this convention in their fiction.Numinus
Numinus is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in Power Pack #51 (Dec. 1989), and was created by Jon Bogdanove and Gray Morrow.Prince Valiant
Prince Valiant in the Days of King Arthur, or simply Prince Valiant, is an American comic strip created by Hal Foster in 1937. It is an epic adventure that has told a continuous story during its entire history, and the full stretch of that story now totals more than 4000 Sunday strips. Currently, the strip appears weekly in more than 300 American newspapers, according to its distributor, King Features Syndicate.
Edward, the Duke of Windsor, called Prince Valiant the "greatest contribution to English literature in the past hundred years". Generally regarded by comics historians as one of the most impressive visual creations ever syndicated, the strip is noted for its realistically rendered panoramas and the intelligent, sometimes humorous, narrative. The format does not employ word balloons. Instead, the story is narrated in captions positioned at the bottom or sides of panels. Events depicted are taken from various time periods, from the late Roman Empire to the High Middle Ages, with a few brief scenes from modern times (commenting on the "manuscript").While drawing the Tarzan comic strip, Foster wanted to do his own original newspaper feature, and he began work on a strip he called Derek, Son of Thane, later changing the title to Prince Arn. King Features manager Joseph Connelly eventually renamed it Prince Valiant. In 1936, after extensive research, Foster pitched his concept to William Randolph Hearst, who had long wanted to distribute a strip by Foster. Hearst was so impressed that he gave Foster ownership of the strip.Prince Valiant began in full-color tabloid sections on Saturday February 13, 1937. The first full page was strip #16, which appeared in the Sunday New Orleans Times Picayune. The internal dating changed from Saturday to Sunday with strip #66 (May 15, 1938). The full-page strip continued until 1971, when strip #1788 was not offered in full-page format—it was the last strip Foster drew. The strip continues today by other artists in a half-page format.Savage Tales
Savage Tales is the title of three American comics series. Two were black-and-white comics-magazine anthologies published by Marvel Comics, and the other a color comic book anthology published by Dynamite Entertainment.Star Trek (DC Comics)
From February 1984 through February 1996, DC Comics held the license to publish comic books based upon the Star Trek franchise, namely Star Trek: The Original Series (TOS) and Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG).
The main DC Comics Star Trek title was published in two series, comprising 136 issues, 9 annuals, and a number of special issues. Two series were also published based upon Star Trek: The Next Generation, plus several mini-series that linked TOS and TNG.The Dinosaur Times
The Dinosaur Times was a magazine published by the founders of The Monster Times. The magazine was established in 1993 and was published by Les Waldstein and Larry Brill. The editor was Edward Summer. Although four issues were written and designed, only three were ever published. Unlike The Monster Times, The Dinosaur Times was in full color. The publisher was CSK Publishing Co. and the magazine, targeting children 9 years old and older, was based in Saddle Brook, New Jersey. The magazine was established on a quarterly basis.Contributing writers included Don Glut, Michael Brett-Surman, Daniel Cohen, and Richard Milner. Contributing artists included Bob Walters, Brian Franczyk, and Gray Morrow.Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction
Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction was a 1970s American black-and-white, science fiction comics magazine published by Marvel Comics' parent company, Magazine Management.
The anthology title featured original stories and literary adaptations by writers and artists including Frank Brunner, Howard Chaykin, Gene Colan, Gerry Conway, Richard Corben, Bruce Jones, Gray Morrow, Denny O'Neil, Roy Thomas, and others, as well as non-fiction articles about science fiction and interviews with such authors as Alfred Bester, Frank Herbert, Larry Niven, and A. E. van Vogt, some of whom had their works adapted here.