Comics Greats Pay Tribute to MURPHY ANDERSON

Modern pros like Gibbons, Allred, Waid, Levitz, Jones, Marz, Hembeck and Jarrell pick their favorite Anderson covers.

UPDATED: 7/9/16: This piece originally was published when Anderson died in 2015. He was born July 9, 1926, so we’d like to show it to you again. And if you’d like to see 13 Anderson JLA covers, click here. For 13 Hawkman covers, click here.

Penciller/inker Murphy Anderson died last week at the age of 89. We paid tribute with 13 Great Hawkman Covers (click here) and 13 Great Infantino-Anderson Batman (click here) covers.

But when you’re talking about someone like Murphy Anderson, no salute would be complete without hearing from comics pros themselves. Some of comicdom’s biggest names were all too happy to share their own favorite Anderson covers:

Dave Gibbons

If it was any cover he worked on, it would be The Brave and the Bold #28, the “big bang” moment for the shared DC Universe.

Mike Sekowsky pencils. Anderson inks.

Mike Sekowsky pencils. Anderson inks.

If it was just him solo, then this Spectre cover for Showcase #61.

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His inks brought a crispness and finesse to the work of so many great Silver Age artists. Stories always seemed to gain an extra magical dimension under his painstaking hand.

Mark Waid

So many to choose from — but I think my favorite cover by Murphy is The Spectre #1. I saw that cover in old house ads for years before I finally found the comic, and it didn’t disappoint.

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Murphy was just the sweetest, greatest man to work with, and I was proud to edit the final Infantino/Anderson Flash story in Secret Origins Annual #2 — a job that still shines. I had to beg him to do it in what spare time he had — and I mean, I begged, like only a 25-year-old fanboy could — but he exceeded everyone’s expectations, as he always did.

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Paul Levitz

Hard to pick a ‘favorite’ but Strange Adventures #156 and #153 have stuck in my mind ever since I first saw them in an older friend’s box o’ comics as a 6- or 7-year-old kid discovering the medium.

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Fred Hembeck

During an era when reprints of Golden Age stories were virtually unheard of, Murphy Anderson’s cover for 1965’s Showcase #55 featuring four ’40s stalwarts — Dr. Fate, Hourman, Solomon Grundy, and a head shot of the original Green Lantern — thrilled this 12-year-old comics junkie to his very core!

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I’d eventually come to realize that comics published during the field’s nascent years were rarely as elegantly rendered as Murphy Anderson’s Silver Age takes on these classic characters, but hey, that’s OK, because we’ll always have Murph’s latter-day lovingly drawn versions.

Sandy Jarrell

I LOVE THIS

Carmine Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

Carmine Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

Mike Allred

There are few artists who have done more iconic cover images than Murphy Anderson. I love all his JLA covers and 1960s Batman covers. But if I had to pick an absolute favorite it would probably be the race between Superman and Flash on the cover of Superman #199. Such a fun idea and may have even actually started the whole trend of “geek stats”: Who’s faster? Who’s stronger? Who’s smarter? Who’d win in a fight between…?

Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

It’s a great image and packed with so many hero elite in the background. Dig it!

(Mike also did this homage a few years back … )

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Kelley Jones

Layout by Anderson, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Anderson

Layout by Anderson, pencils by Gil Kane, inks by Anderson

Everything works in this cover by Anderson … suspenseful and bizarre at the same time. Great composition and execution, the drawing is so direct.

Anderson takes what is on the surface a ludicrous idea, and presents it very seriously, making it a classic cover. I mean, it made me buy it, and talk about it, and that is always the mark of a successful cover.

I still think about it when using our laundry room sink, which has a stopper just like the one in the cover of The Atom #2!

Great artist, and even greater person… Goodbye, Murphy….

Mark Chiarello

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Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

I clearly recall seeing this cover on the newsstand when I was 7 years old.  I was (like EVERY other kid in America) mesmerized and obsessed with the Adam West Batman TV show, and therefore anything Bat-related. Infantino and Anderson’s combined efforts on the Bat-covers from that period are, for me, the apex of both artists’ careers.

Brent Schoonover

This Superman cover is just dynamic storytelling. Fantastic composition, telling a crazy story. Just a classic DC cover.

Curt Swan pencils. Anderson inks.

Curt Swan pencils. Anderson inks.

This Brave and the Bold cover, I am just in love with all the textures he does. The rendering of the ghost Flash, the cosmic background, and crashed plane, just so much going on but he makes it read so clear and fantastic. Just impressive.

Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

Infantino pencils. Anderson inks.

Ron Marz

Action Comics #583: It’s not the most iconic image Murphy Anderson ever drew, but to me, the concluding chapter of “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?” perfectly sums up an era. The classic “Swanderson” team of Superman stalwart Curt Swan and Murphy bids goodbye to the Silver Age.

Swan pencils. Anderson inks.

Swan pencils. Anderson inks.

The Alan Moore story is one of the greatest Superman tales ever, and what’s more, Murphy Anderson and Curt Swan actually appear on the cover. It’s a bittersweet image, denoting not only the passing of an era, but also in a real-world sense, a pair of classic creators being moved to the sidelines. In comics, the heroes are forever, but the creators are replaceable.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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2 Comments

    • Good and great choices all…picking a favorite Anderson cover is like picking one from Kubert or Kirby. Just too many to choose from!

      You forgot to mention he won an Inkwell Award in 2013 when he rightly joined the exclusive Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame. Here’s his bio: http://www.inkwellawards.com/?page_id=3481

      Thanks!

      Best,
      MIke

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