Jack Abel

Jack Abel (July 15, 1927 – March 6, 1996)[1][2] was an American comic book artist best known as an inker for leading publishers DC Comics and Marvel Comics. He was DC's primary inker on the Superman titles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and inked penciler Herb Trimpe's introduction of the popular superhero Wolverine in The Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov. 1974). He sometimes used the pseudonym Gary Michaels.

Jack Abel
Jack Abel Portrait.jpg
Jack Abel by Michael Netzer
Born(1927-07-15)July 15, 1927
DiedMarch 6, 1996(1996-03-06) (aged 68)
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Pseudonym(s)Gary Michaels
Notable works


Early life and careerEdit

Abel's published work stretches to 1951, when he penciled and inked horror stories for such anthology series as Mr. Publications' (Mike Esposito & Ross Andru's company)[3] Mister Mystery, and Atlas Comics'—the 1950s forerunner of Marvel ComicsJourney into Unknown Worlds, and Western tales in Prize Comics' aptly title Prize Comics Western. He inked science fiction, romance and war comics for Atlas, American Comics Group, Avon Comics, Harvey Comics, and Hillman Periodicals, and later in the decade became a prolific penciler for the DC war titles Our Fighting Forces, Our Army at War, Star Spangled War Stories and All-American Men of War.[4]

DC and SupermanEdit

Abel inked hundreds of DC stories, and eventually was chosen to succeed longtime "Superman family" inker George Klein as Curt Swan's embellisher on "Legion of Super-Heroes" in Adventure Comics (most issues, #369–406, June 1968–May 1971); Superman (most issues, #208–219, July 1968–Aug. 1969); "Superman" in Action Comics (#369-392, Nov. 1968–Sept. 1970), and occasional issues of Superboy.[4]

Later careerEdit

After a reshuffling at DC c. 1970, Abel went to Marvel. He had already inked Gene Colan there on a long stretch of Iron Man stories beginning with Tales of Suspense #73 (Jan. 1966), under the pseudonym "Gary Michaels".[4][5] As Colan recalled, "He did a lot of Iron Man with me. He had a very slick line, which was okay on Iron Man, of course. Iron Man was made of iron, so you want it to look like metal. But when it came to stone and dark corners and garbage [laughs], he wasn't the man for that".[6]

Later, under his own name, he would embellish Colan on some issues of Daredevil and Tomb of Dracula (including the introduction of Blade, in #10); Trimpe on The Incredible Hulk; George Tuska on Iron Man; and Paul Gulacy on Master of Kung Fu, among other work. From the mid-1970s, Abel inked not only for Marvel and again DC (including its Teen Titans and The Flash), but for the smaller companies Gold Key (Boris Karloff Tales of Mystery, Grimm's Ghost Stories, Mighty Samson, the licensed title The Twilight Zone); Charlton Comics (Ghost Manor, Ghostly Haunts, Haunted, Midnight Tales); Atlas/Seaboard (IronJaw, Morlock 2001); and Skywald Publications (The Heap, and additionally the black-and-white horror comics magazines Nightmare and Psycho).[4]

Baseball-fan Abel, who in the 1970s rented studio space at Neal Adams and Dick Giordano's Continuity Associates,[7] organized the Continuity softball team that played league games in Central Park.[8]

After suffering a serious stroke in 1981, Abel rehabilitated his paralyzed right hand to the extent that he was able to ink and draw again[9]—which he did through the rest of the 1980s, primarily for Marvel.

Comic stripsEdit

Outside comic books, Abel inked John Celardo from 1967–1969 on the syndicated comic strip Tales of the Green Beret, written by author Robin Moore.[10]


In 2016, Abel was nominated and tied for runner-up for the Inkwell Awards Special Recognition Award.[11]


  1. ^ Jack Abel at the United States Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch.org. Retrieved February 15, 2013. Archived 2015-07-18 at WebCite from the original on July 18, 2015.
  2. ^ Jack Abel at the Lambiek Comiclopedia. Archived 2009-11-25 at WebCite November 24, 2009.
  3. ^ Lovece, Frank (October 25, 2010). "Long Island Comic Book Artist Mike Esposito Dead at 83". Newsday. Archived from the original on December 7, 2010. Retrieved October 25, 2010. (Requires subscription) Print version: "Mike Esposito, Comic Book Artist", p. A30
  4. ^ a b c d Jack Abel at the Grand Comics Database. Archived 2011-10-24 at WebCite October 24, 2011.
  5. ^ Evanier, Mark (April 14, 2008). "Why did some artists working for Marvel in the sixties use phony names?". P.O.V. Online (column). Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  6. ^ Gene Colan interview (May 2001). "The Colan Mystique". Comic Book Artist. No. 3. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009.
  7. ^ "Bob McLeod". (interview) Adelaide Comics and Books. 2003. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009.
  8. ^ Gale, Ken. Ken Gale's Pages: The Fandom Fireballs. Archived 2009-11-16 at WebCite
  9. ^ Shooter, Jim. "Bullpen Bulletins," Marvel comics cover-dated June 1982.
  10. ^ Jack Abel entry, The Comic Strip Project, "Who's Who of Comic Strip Producers", A-Part 1. WebCitation archive.
  11. ^ Inkwell Awards 2016 Winners

External linksEdit