Chris Ryall pays tribute to the acclaimed artist, who turns 71…


Legendary inker Terry Austin has helped create some of the greatest, most beloved comics of all time. No matter whose pencils Terry embellished, he made them better: John Byrne, Frank Miller, Rick Leonardi, Brent Anderson, Dave Cockrum, Paul Smith, Michael Golden, Marshall Rogers, Howard Chaykin, George Perez, June Brigman, Walter Simonson… you name the artist and no matter how good their pencils have been, Terry’s finishes have made them better. Don’t just take my word for it — Terry has also won numerous awards for his amazing body of work, too.

So it’d be easy to celebrate Terry’s 71st birthday — he was born Aug. 23, 1952 — by selecting a handful of pages and covers, and using those to illustrate the point of how stellar are his inks. (The only real difficulty would be in narrowing the list to just 13 pieces.) But Terry is often celebrated for his inking. Less discussed are his writing chops (he delivered some really fun work as writer on Power Pack and Cloak and Dagger, as well as the Star Wars: Splinter in the Mind’s Eye graphic novel adaptation).

Cover by Hugh Fleming

But what I want to do here to celebrate Terry’s birthday is salute Terry Austin the complete artist. Throughout his time in comics, Terry has pencilled and inked a number of great covers, as well as some fun one-page gag strips, portfolio images, and more. So below are 13 GREAT IMAGES PENCILLED AND INKED BY TERRY AUSTIN.

Many of these are from the archives, but Terry has recently been sharing with me a few dozen images he’s done over the last few years — just for fun, and they sure deliver that. So I’ll close out the 13 images with a couple of those, and then, to break my own rule, the final image pays tribute both to Terry and another amazing artist whose birthday falls a few days from now. Happy birthday to you, Terry! And on behalf of comic fans from across the decades, thanks for all the amazing work past, present, and still to come.

Marvel Fanfare #18 Portfolio Title Page. Marvel’s now-defunct title Marvel Fanfare was a great showcase of talent, whether it be through inventory stories they banked but never found another outlet for, new stories, or pin-ups and portfolio pieces from various artists. Issue #18 contained a portfolio of images that Terry penciled and inked, starting with this look at the good (well, bad) Doctor himself.

What If? #34 Pinup. Terry contributed a few gag strips in Marvel’s all-humor issue of What If?, none more charming than this I Love Lucy parody (although his Blondie and Dagwood parody was also a lot of fun).

Pinup From Amazing High Adventure #1. Marvel’s short-lived series of non-superhero adventure tales featured some great stuff. This Terry pinup from the first issue is notable not just for the art but also its great lighting.

X-Men 123, Uncanny X-Men 142, Uncanny X-Men 143. Terry inked a good number of covers during his time on X-Men, but he also contributed three full covers, too: a playful one featuring Arcade (#123), a distinctly not playful one in the form of “Days of Future Past,” Part 2 (#142), and then the cover for the concluding issue of the Byrne/Austin run (#143).

Star-Lord: The Special Edition #1. The Claremont/Byrne/Austin Star-Lord stories from Marvel Premiere magazine were collected and re-issued in a single comic-sized issue, and Terry created both the front and back cover for that one.

The Adventures of Indiana Jones #1. Marvel’s Indiana Jones comic in the early-1980s sure got off to a good start, thanks in part to Terry’s first-issue cover (and his inks on the first two issues and an equally beautiful inking job over Howard Chaykin’s pencils on Issue #6, too).

More Marvel Fanfare #18 Portfolio Pages. A couple additional images from the Terry portfolio in Marvel Fanfare, both displaying a nice blend of traditional superhero style in the human characters, and with the non-human characters, more of a cartoony bent that Terry would bring to bear on comics like Sonic in years to come.

Crime Detective Comics #7 Homage and the Ultimate Brave and the Bold Crossover. I’ve been chatting with Terry about the following two images. Both are recent, drawn over the past year, and show a fully playful and fun approach to not only the characters but also through the logos, captions, balloons, and other typography, too. The original inspiration for Terry’s Crime Detective Comics image, Issue #7 of that Golden Age Hillman series, is included here as well.

Dan Zolnerowich

Superman #400 Pinup. Finally, I know I said this would only be a celebration of Terry’s work as penciller and inker but any and all comic-book rules should be bent on the King’s behalf. So because Jack Kirby is also celebrating a birthday a few days hence (August 28), please enjoy this pairing of Kirby and Austin as a celebration of both guys and their immortal contributions to comics.


— 13 COVERS: A TERRY AUSTIN Birthday Celebration — 2022 Edition. Click here.

— DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: Marvel to Re-Release X-MEN #141 and #142 As Facsimile Editions. Click here.

Chris Ryall is the co-owner/publisher of Image Comics imprint Syzygy Publishing. His latest series is Tales of Syzpense, out now.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Happy birthday to Terry Austin. I especially enjoy that Jack Kirby Superman pinup that Austin inked.

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    • Happy belated Terry!
      Love those X- Men covers!

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  2. You should have included some plates from the Terry Austin portfolio where other artists inked his drawings! Great stuff!

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