Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
Here is long overdue Underappreciated Artist Spotlight on the great Ruben Moreira:
Born in Puerto Rico, Ruben Moreira moved New York City as a 4 year old. Like many Golden Age artists, his first work appeared in a variety of Fiction House titles such as Planet Comics, Fight Comics and Wings Comics. In 1945, he was given the daunting task of taking over the Tarzan Sunday Page from Burne Hogarth (signing as ‘Rubimor’). In 1947, Hogarth returned to the page.
In the late 40s, Moreira worked for a number of comic book publishers, including Quality Comics and Standard/Nedor, where he turned in some nice work on the Black Terror strip.
In 1949, he began working in earnest for DC/National, co-creating the Roy Raymond TV Detective character for Detective Comics. He remained as the artist on that strip for its entire 12 year run. At the same time he worked on The Adventures of Alan Ladd.
During the early 50s, Moreira became one of the real jewels in DC’s crown. He did some phenomenal work in many of their anthology titles. Like Mort Meskin, Moreira was one of the early masters of the splash and semi-splash page. Take a look at the page above, taken from House of Mystery #7 (October, 1952). It is a perfect example of the Moreira’s innovative and compelling design.
Moreira was also a terrific storyteller, and was able to work in many genres. I am also particularly fond of his Nighthawk stories in Western Comics, and his horror/mystery work is impeccable. Take a look at how Moreira’s leads the reader through the rather complex exposition on this page from the story Tattoos of Doom from House of Mystery #8 (November, 1952). I am just blown away by that single panel showing the exploding zeppelin – no pun intended.
Moreira was also responsible for a number of DC’s most memorable covers from the 1950s. The cover to House of Secrets #1 has stuck with me from the very first time I saw it in an early edition of the Overstreet Price Guide. I can’t imagine any 10 year old boy could have passed this one up in 1956.
Many of you may know Moreira’s work from the many PSA’s he did for DC in the years leading up to his retirement. These one-pagers were full of charm and provide an insight into a much simpler time.
Ruben Moreira returned to Puerto Rico in 1958, He continued to produce some work for DC, including the co-creation of Rip Hunter, until his retirement from comics in 1962. I am not sure what he did during his post-retirement years but he passed away from cancer in 1984 a few weeks before his 62nd birthday.
For more comic talk – stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent
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