R.I.P. George Tuska, 1916-2009
George Tuska, the Golden/Silver/Bronze Age artist whose career in comics spanned six decades, has died at the age of 93. As noted by Tom Spurgeon, The Art of George Tuska author Dewey Cassell broke the news in a Yahoo group; Cassell had relayed word of Tuska’s retirement from drawing commissions just six days ago.
Tuska was perhaps best known for his nine and a half year stint as the artist for Marvel’s Iron Man series, from September 1968’s issue #5 through January 1978’s issue #106. This was preceded by a similarly lengthy stint drawing the Buck Rogers newspaper strip from 1959-1967 and succeeded by a 15-year run on the daily The World’s Greatest Superheroes Present Superman strip, which Tuska helped launch in 1978 and drew until 1993. Tuska tackled a slew of other well-known superhero titles for Marvel during the ’60s and ’70s and DC in the ’70s and ’80s, including such Bronze Age mainstays as Ghost Rider, Luke Cage, Power Man, and The Sub-Mariner.
Tuska’s career in comics dated back to 1939, when he got his start as an assistant on the adventure strip Scorchy Smith (to which he would return later as a writer/artist). He went on to spend time in the Eisner-Iger studio, and to illustrate such classic titles as Crime Does Not Pay and Captain Marvel Adventures.
Tuska’s speed, versatility, and good-natured ability to conform to house styles, most notably Marvel’s, led some to label him “The King Of The Fill-In Issue.” But his long, varied career straddled newspaper strips and comic books and included time with virtually every major comic book publisher since the dawn of the medium–essentially, George Tuska was the 20th-century comics industry, and his work was read and enjoyed by generation after generation of heroic-fantasy fans.
The son of Russian immigrants, Tuska lived in Manchester, New Jersey and is survived by his wife of 61 years, Dorothy. According to Cassell, the couple had three children, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren.