Gardner Fox was born 108 years ago. While his career was overshadowed by others, his impact on DC Comics is felt to this very day — in extraordinary fashion.
UPDATED 5/20/19: I wrote this four years ago. I thought about doing a new version but this really holds up as it is. I tinkered with it slightly, so here you go. Man, Gardner Fox really understood comics. — Dan.
If you’re a fan of the TV shows The Flash, you can thank Gardner Fox. If you just read DC’s The Button, you can thank Gardner Fox. Then again, if you think you haven’t read a good comic since the Silver Age, you can thank Gardner Fox for that too.
Because while Siegel and Shuster gave us Superman, Kane and Finger gave us Batman, and William Moulton Marston gave us Wonder Woman, it’s Gardner Fox who gave us so much of the rest of the DC Universe.
He was responsible for co-creating the Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkman (twice over: Carter Hall and Katar Hol), the Silver Age Atom (Ray Palmer), the original Sandman, Adam Strange, Zatanna, the Justice Society, the Justice League and so much more — including the very notion of the DC Multiverse. He revived the Riddler and the Scarecrow and co-created the second — and greatest — Batgirl: Barbara Gordon. (He was also instrumental in the creation of other elements of Batman lore, such as the Batarang.)
Not as flashy as Stan Lee or as powerful as Julie Schwartz, Fox’s contribution to comics was nevertheless immense. He was a giant.
Fox was born May 20, 1911. He died in 1986. Sadly, he was forced out of DC in the late ’60s in a classic case of corporate ugliness: The company’s older writers wanted, of all things, health insurance and other benefits.
I’m scratching the surface, I know, but here are 13 COVERS of comics written by Gardner Fox. Seeing them together will blow your mind. Then consider the hundreds and hundreds of other stories I didn’t include here.
Covers and credits from the visionary Grand Comics Database.