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R.I.P. George Tuska, 1916-2009

Iron Man #18

Iron Man #18

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.

George Tuska

George Tuska

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.

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Comments

10 Comments

R.I.P. indeed. He was one of my favorites from my youth.

Here’s to Tuska and the other old gents who all but (or literally) passed away at their drawing tables. They died with their spurs on.

A life very well-lived.

This is so sad.

Only the other day I was commenting on one of the Blogs about George’s retirement and his accomplishments.

He really was an important part of American comics history.

The Bullpen in heaven is becoming one heck of a place!

God speed George.
(”j)

The above cover (Iron Man #71) was not drawn by George Tuska.

George Tuska was always THE Iron Man artist for me. He was also one of the few mainstream comic book artists that populated his drawings with black people and later, the first black superhero comic; Luke Cage. That may seem to be a strange thing to say but, in the 70’s it was unusual to see any positive images of black people in any media.

As a black boy, fascinated with comics, that was very important for me, even though some of his images veered towards caricature.

RIP George Tuska

Thanks … the cover has been changed.

Thanks Mark. Man is my face red.

Wow–married for over 60 years, lived till 93, massively long career as an artist, drawing until the week before he died, three kids, five grandkids, however many grandchildren. We should all be so lucky.

SORELY underappreciated, even in your prime…
Thank you, George, for all you have done. You are truly missed.
We, all of us, hope that your family is doing well in this difficult time.

George Tuska was the best Iron Man artist ever. RIP

I first met George and his wife on the convention circuit some years back, he was part of a group of golden age artists that would group together at various cons, so not only did I get to meet him but other notable comic legends like Marty Nodell(Green Lantern), and Harry Lampert(Flash).
Mr. Tuska was a genuinely nice man and a top professional, he gave me a fair and honest critique of my work when I was first showing it around, both he and his wife Dorothy were showed me nothing but kindness.
I am the proud owner of two IRON-MAN pieces he did, one , a huge piece with ole’ shellhead going up against Titanium Man, two fantastic pieces froma man that could still produce top quality art even in his late 80’s(the time he did the commissions).
I can only hope that someday, GOD willing that my body of work would be a quarter the length of his and be remembered as fondly.
The comics buisness has lot yet another talented creator and an invalueable piece of it’s history. :(

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