Wayne Boring

Wayne Boring (June 5, 1905[1] – February 20, 1987)[2] was an American comic book artist best known for his work on Superman from the late 1940s to 1950s. He occasionally used the pseudonym Jack Harmon.

Wayne Boring
Wayne Boring.jpg
Wayne Boring by Michael Netzer
Born(1905-06-05)June 5, 1905
DiedFebruary 20, 1987(1987-02-20) (aged 81)
Pompano Beach, Florida
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Pseudonym(s)Jack Harmon
Notable works
Action Comics
AwardsWill Eisner Hall of Fame 2007


Early life and careerEdit

Boring attended the Minnesota School of Art and the Chicago Art Institute. In 1937, he began "ghosting" (drawing for hire without credit) on such comic book features as Slam Bradley and Doctor Occult for the Jerry Siegel-Joe Shuster studio. In 1938, Siegel and Shuster's character Superman was published in Action Comics #1, for the DC Comics predecessor National Allied Publications, and Boring became a ghost on the soon spun off Superman comic strip, eventually becoming the credited artist.[3]

Superman comic booksEdit

In 1942, the by-then-named National Comics hired Boring as a staff artist,[4] teaming him as penciler the following year with inker Stan Kaye. The two would work together for nearly 20 years during a period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comic books. In 1948, following Siegel and Shuster's departure from the company over a Superman rights lawsuit, Mort Weisinger, the editor of the Superman line, brought in Boring as well as Al Plastino and Curt Swan. During this mid-1940s period, he often signed his work for rival Novelty Press' Blue Bolt Comics as Jack Harmon.[5]

Superboy #1 (March–April 1949). Cover art by Boring.

Boring's "Superman Covers Atom Bomb Test!" cover for Action Comics #101 (Oct. 1946) was an early example of nuclear weapons in popular culture.[6] A more detailed origin story for Superman by Boring and writer Bill Finger was presented in Superman #53 (July 1948) to mark the character's tenth anniversary.[7] Boring co-created the Fortress of Solitude in Action Comics #241 (June 1958) with writer Jerry Coleman[8] and Bizarro World in Action Comics #263 (April 1960) with Otto Binder.[9]

Boring was the primary Superman comic book penciller through the 1950s. Swan succeeded him the following decade,[10] though Boring returned for sporadic guest appearances in the early 1960s and then again in late 1966 and early 1967.[11] One critic wrote of Boring's 1950s Superman art, "Comics legend Wayne Boring played a major role in visually defining the most well known super-hero in the world during the peak of Superman's popularity."[12] Another writer echoed, "Boring's bravura brushwork defined many of its key elements and made Superman look more powerful and imposing, now standing a heroic nine heads tall, and brought a fresh realism, a sleek sci-fi vision and a greater seriousness of tone."[13]

Boring was let go from DC in 1967[13] along with many other prominent writers and artists who had made demands for health and retirement benefits.[14] From 1968 to 1972, Boring ghosted backgrounds for Hal Foster's Prince Valiant Sunday comic strip[13] and took over the art on writer Sam Leff's 1961–71 United Feature Syndicate strip Davy Jones.[15] Afterward, Boring drew three issues of Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel, then left the field to semi-retire as a bank security guard, though he would continue to draw commissioned work.[16] He briefly returned to DC to pencil some stories in All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984), Superman #402 (Dec. 1984), and Action Comics #561 and 572 (Nov. 1984 and Oct. 1985).[11]

Boring died of a heart attack,[16] following a brief comeback announced in one of his last published works, penciling a Golden Age Superman story written by Roy Thomas and inked by Jerry Ordway in Secret Origins vol. 2 #1 (April 1986).[17] His final work was All-Star Squadron #64 (Dec. 1986) a recreation of Superman #19.[18]


In 1985, DC Comics named Boring as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great.[19]

He was posthumously inducted into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 2007.[20]


Comics work (interior pencil art) includes:

DC ComicsEdit

Marvel ComicsEdit


  1. ^ Wayne Boring at the United States Social Security Death Index via FamilySearch.org. Retrieved on February 21, 2013. Archived from the original on July 18, 2015. Gives death date only as February 1987".
  2. ^ Fryer, Kim (July 1987). "Superman artist Wayne Boring dead". The Comics Journal. Fantagraphics Books (116): 23. Wayne Boring, one of the first Superman artists, died at the age of 81 on February 20 in Pompano Beach, Florida. Boring, who was born in Minnesota on June 5, 1905...
  3. ^ "Wayne Boring". Lambiek Comiclopedia. June 12, 2009. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved October 18, 2011.
  4. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). "The Superman Style Refining the Man of Steel". DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 28. ISBN 0821220764. The image of Superman that eventually became preeminent was Wayne Boring's. By 1942 the former assistant to Joe Shuster was working on his own for DC, turning out pencilled and inked pages for Action Comics and Superman.
  5. ^ Jack Harmon at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Wallace, Daniel; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1940s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. A stunning cover by Wayne Boring heralded a tale that played on the conflicted post-war zeitgeist surrounding the use of nuclear weapons.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Wallace "1940s" in Dolan, p. 59: "Superman's origin was retold—and slightly revamped—for this special tenth anniversary issue...Writer Bill Finger and penciller Wayne Boring related how Joe-El failed to save Krypton and sent his son to Earth."
  8. ^ Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 91: "Superman's Fortress of Solitude was seen for the first time. The story 'The Super-Key to Fort Superman', by writer Jerry Coleman and artist Wayne Boring, revealed the secrets of the Fortress."
  9. ^ McAvennie, Michael "1960s" in Dolan, p. 100: "Writer Otto Binder and artist Wayne Boring introduced an entire world filled with the backward beings, living amid foul, dilapidated conditions."
  10. ^ Daniels "The Superman Family Strength in Numbers", p. 118: "By 1961, Swan's new look would replace Wayne Boring's patriarchal version. Swan's Superman became definitive, and ultimately he would draw, as he says, 'more Superman stories than anybody else.'"
  11. ^ a b Wayne Boring at the Grand Comics Database
  12. ^ Vance, Michael (December 13, 2000). "Comics Legend Wayne Boring". "Suspended Animation" (column), Starland.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010.
  13. ^ a b c Gravett, Paul (December 2002). "Curt Swan: A Superman Walked Among Us". 3 (97). Comic Book Marketplace via PaulGravett.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2009. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ Barr, Mike W. (Summer 1999). "The Madames & the Girls: The DC Writers Purge of 1968". Comic Book Artist. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (5).
  15. ^ Agena, Eric. "Davy Jones, by Sam Leff and Al McWilliams". ComicStripFan.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2010.
  16. ^ a b Eury, Michael (2006). The Krypton Companion. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-893905-61-0.
  17. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 218: "The heroes of the DC Universe got a little more exposed thanks to the new ongoing effort Secret Origins, a title offering new interpretations to the backgrounds of some of comics' biggest icons. [Its] debut issue featur[ed] the origin of the first true super-hero – the Golden Age Superman – by writer Roy Thomas and illustrator Wayne Boring."
  18. ^ All-Star Squadron #67 at the Grand Comics Database
  19. ^ Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Wayne Boring Superman Remodeled" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 26 (1985), DC Comics
  20. ^ "Will Eisner Hall of Fame". San Diego Comic-Con International. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved May 17, 2014.

External linksEdit

Preceded by
Win Mortimer
Superman penciller
Succeeded by
Curt Swan
Preceded by
Al Plastino
Action Comics penciller
Succeeded by
Curt Swan
Preceded by
Al Plastino
Action Comics penciller
Succeeded by
Curt Swan