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R.I.P. Dick Ayers

One of the last remaining artists from the earliest days of the Marvel Age of Comics, Dick Ayers passed away yesterday, a few days past his 90th birthday.

After his co-creator, Jack Kirby, Dick Ayers was likely THE artist most associated with Nick Fury and his Howling Commandoes.

In addition, Ayers inked Kirby on the earliest Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. stories in Strange Tales…

And after introducing Hydra a little (and showing that it was Tony Stark who called Fury here)…

In honor of Ayers’ passing, I think it makes sense to share some pages he drew of the Commandoes reacting to Nick Fury’s death (of course, Nick is not really dead)…

furydead1

furydead2

furydead3

furydead4

furydead5

furydead6

Ayers was right up there with Joe Kubert, Russ Heath, Alex Toth, Irv Novick and Jack Kirby as one of the greatest war comic artists of all-time.

He’ll be greatly missed.

20 Comments

damn…. i was just reading sgt fury today…

david fullam

May 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Farewell.

90 is a good run but still he will be missed

I’ll always remember his fine work with John Severin on SGT FURY AND HIS HOWLING COMMANDOS.

That issue of Strange Tales is one of my favorite comics ever. Lee and Kirby were cranking out fresh innovations with damn near every panel. Ayers humanizes the cast really nicely. It makes them distinct from the Space Gods that Kirby was inventing elsewhere.

I was fortunate enough to meet Dick Ayers several times over the years. He was a really good guy.

http://benjaminherman.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/dick-ayers-1924-2014/

Mike Loughlin

May 6, 2014 at 6:21 am

I was fortunate enough to meet Dick Ayers at a convention a few years ago. Ben’s right, he was super nice.

I had him sign my copy of Essential FF vol. 1 (I love his inks over Kirby, incidentally). I also had a copy of Tomb of Dracula magazine #3. He started looking through it, and his family got excited. “I remember when you drew this!,” etc. They didn’t have their own copy so I told them to keep it. Mr. Ayers drew me a sketch in the FF book (a little devil, signed “To Mike, Enjoy horror comics!”).

Thanks for all the great artwork, Mr. Ayers. You will be missed.

@Mike Loughlin: Great story, thanks for sharing!

Other than his work inked by Severin in Sgt. Fury, which is justifiably his most famous, my favorite Ayers work is his run on Scalphunter in Weird Western Tales (inked mainly by Luis Rodriguez), where he really strongly responded to the harder-edged material and adopted a grittier style. Really nice stuff.

I really enjoyed his original run on the western Ghost Rider (both original runs, the Rex Fury and Carter Slade books). A tremendous artist, for sure.

A fantastic artist, RIP.

Purple Hayes

May 6, 2014 at 9:42 am

I was introduced to Dick Ayers art in the early 90s when he was drawing Femforce at AC (Americomics.) I always loved his art work and enjoyed how much he had changed since drawing The Avengers in the 60s.
Living to 90 years old is a great run, and it sounds like he had a loving family to enjoy it with. My heart goes out to them during this difficult time.

I’ve been spending the past few weeks reading Ayers’ Strange Tales Human Torch stories and being surprised at how strong his pencils were. Up until last week I only knew him as an inker and was pleasantly surprised. His pencils and inks were the only good part of those Strange Tales stories and made them worth reading. He and Chic Stone are almost as important a part of early Marvel as Lee, Kirby and Ditko in my eyes.

I was introduced to Dick Ayers art in the early 90s when he was drawing Femforce at AC (Americomics.) I always loved his art work and enjoyed how much he had changed since drawing The Avengers in the 60s.

He was pencilling into the 90s? Good to know, I’ll search that out!

He and Chic Stone are almost as important a part of early Marvel as Lee, Kirby and Ditko in my eyes.

Do I think guys like Ayers, Stone and Don Heck get criminally underrated by fans? Of course. But I think it’s still a major leap to say that they were almost as important as that triumvirate.

He was pencilling into the 90s? Good to know, I’ll search that out!

@T. Dick Ayers did some very nice work on Femforce. The inking by publisher Bill Black was a really good fir for Ayers’ penciling. Here’s one of their covers: http://www.comics.org/issue/214451/cover/4/

AC Comics has a whole heap of Femforce back issues for sale through their website, http://www.accomics.com/

Ayers even drew a few brand new Ghost Rider stories for AC, although the character was re-titled The Haunted Horseman: http://www.comics.org/issue/328711/cover/4/

Hope this info helps!

Do I think guys like Ayers, Stone and Don Heck get criminally underrated by fans? Of course. But I think it’s still a major leap to say that they were almost as important as that triumvirate.

When I say early Marvel, I’m talking like REALLY early, like the first 1-3 years. I always feel like if they relied more on people like Paul Reinman and Geo Bell instead of Chic Stone and Dick Ayers as their primary inkers it would have scared away more people. but yeah, you’re right, I may be overstating a bit.

Travis Pelkie

May 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I just got the Sgt Fury Essential book 1 not long ago, so I’ll have to take a look in tribute.

CSBG always does nice with memorial tributes like this.

Just wish you didn’t have to do them so often, y’know?

Verwenden Sie Ihr Türschloss Riegel oder Kette immer in der Nacht,nike free, bevor Sie um zu Bett gehen oder wenn Sie Lust auf ein Nickerchen. versuchen Sie zu buchen,nike free, die auf dem zweiten ist.brIhrerseits müssen sie nicht unterstreichen, dass es in Europa, Brennstoff Preise durch das Dach sind und Fluggesellschaften sind schmerzend finanziell. Charter-Fluggesellschaften bieten eine mögliche Lösung. waldreichen alpine Wälder und jede Menge Bäume zu gehen, S

I sadly only own his work that was reprinted in these :

ALL NEW OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE A TO Z 6
ALL NEW OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE A TO Z UPDATE 1
AMAZING HEROES SWIMSUIT SPECIAL 3
MARVEL PETS HANDBOOK
OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE A TO Z UPDATE 1

I’ve read how nice he was and he will be missed.

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