The celebrated Mr. K pays a BIRTHDAY TRIBUTE to one of comics’ greatest inkers (and a damn fine penciller, to boot)…


Murphy Anderson (July 9, 1926 – October 22, 2015) was a Southern gentleman with a booming voice and talent to match. He was one of the outstanding stylists of the Silver and Bronze Ages and he was the inker half of two legendary Hall of Fame artistic duos — Carmine Infantino and Anderson and “Swanderson,” i.e., Curt Swan and Anderson. Three, if you count Anderson and Anderson, which really was the pair to be beat.

Born in Asheville, North Carolina, Murphy moved to New York after a brief flirtation with college to seek work in comics and he found it first at Fiction House before taking over the Buck Rogers syndicated newspaper strip from 1947 to 1949. He returned to comics, finding work at Ziff-Davis, Atlas Comics, St. Johns Publications, and, of course, DC, where he would spend most of the rest of his professional career.

And, yes, I did pay birthday tribute to Murphy last year with MY 13 FAVORITE MURPHY ANDERSON BLACK AND WHITE ILLUSTRATIONS but seeing as he was so prolific and important to DC (and me!) he could handle another look, at another segment of his work.

Here then, MY 13 FAVORITE MURPHY ANDERSON COVERS (along with pub dates):

Strange Adventures #18 (March 1952). Full of pulpy goodness, Murphy’s cover for the Captain Comet story “The World of the Flying Men” would have been at home on any 1930s or ‘40s sci-fi pulp magazine.

Strange Adventures #21 (June 1952). If covers used to be the bait publishers used to hook the readers at the newsstand, this Anderson beauty for “The Monster That Fished for Men” must have caught more than its limit. (See what I did there?)

The Flash #123 (September 1961). Two great names that went great together: Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson. Murphy’s tight ink style brought Carmine’s sketchy pencil lines (and, let’s face it, his sometimes sketchy anatomy too) without losing the flow of the penciller’s loose, elegant figures. “The Flash of Two Worlds” is a classic and, as the title of the column says, one of all-time favorites.

Strange Adventures #133 (October 1961). I’m not going to quibble over the science of a dinosaur invisible to the naked eye, yet which still bends light around itself to cast a shadow. Mine is not to reason why, mine is just to suspend my disbelief and believe a dinosaur can fly, or something like that.

Mystery in Space #82 (March 1963). I mean, just look at it: Infantino & Anderson at the top of their game!

The Atom #17 (February-March 1965). While less ballyhooed than his collaborations with Carmine, Murphy’s inks over Gil Kane were equally lovely, adding heft to Gil’s lithe drawing. I have no recollection of this image from the ‘60s, but as soon as I came across it while researching this column, it became an instant favorite.

Mystery in Space #89 (February 1964). Joe Kubert may have been the original artist of the Silver Age revival of Hawkman, but Murphy went on to make the character his own. I’m guessing you can figure out why from this cover for “The Super-Motorized Menace.”

The Flash #147 (September 1964). During a run of some of the best superhero comic-book covers ever (“I feel like I’m turning into a puppet!” – “The Day the Flash Weighed 1,000 Pounds!” – Kid Flash’s new costume intro) Infantino and Anderson pay homage to their earlier historic “The Flash of Two Worlds!”

Hawkman #5 (December 1964/January 1965). Backgrounds?! Murphy don’t need to show you no stinkin’ backgrounds!

Detective Comics #365 (July 1967). “The House the Joker Built” by Infantino and Anderson, surely one of the most beautifully insane Batman covers ever!

Superman #220 (October 1969). “Who Stole My Super-Powers?” Who cares?? Murphy inks an old friend, the Flash, this time penciled by Curt Swan.

Superman #238 (June 1971). Another Swanderson classic, this a cover from the all-too-brief period they served as the regular team on Superman when Julie Schwartz first took over editing the title. (UPDATE from Dan: Oops! Y’all pointed out that it’s Infantino and Anderson. It says so right there on the cover! Thanks for keeping us honest!)

Superman #263 (April 1973). I’d like to have seen more Neal Adams inked by Murphy. “Adamderson?”


— PAUL KUPPERBERG: My 13 Favorite MURPHY ANDERSON Black and White Illustrations. Click here.

— 13 COVERS: A MURPHY ANDERSON Birthday Celebration — 2020 EDITION. Click here.

Sure, you know PAUL KUPPERBERG as the prolific writer of over a thousand comic books for such characters and series as Superman, Aquaman, Doom Patrol, Vigilante, Life with Archie, Bart Simpson, Scooby-Doo, and dozens more for DC Comics, Archie Comics, Bongo Comics, and others, and that he is also the creator of the series Arion, Lord of Atlantis, Checkmate and Takion, and is a former editor for DC, Weekly World News, and WWE Kids Magazine. But Paul is also the author of numerous books, including the superhero novel JSA: Ragnarok and the comics industry-based murder mystery, The Same Old Story, not to mention (but we will anyway) Paul Kupperberg’s Illustrated Guide to Writing ComicsI Never Write for the Money, But I Always Turn in the Manuscript for a CheckDirect Comments: Comic Book Creators in their Own WordsThe Unpublished Comic Book Scripts of Paul Kupperberg and Son of the Unpublished Comic Book Scripts of Paul Kupperberg. You can follow Paul at and at

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Superman 238 is actually pencilled by Infantino. Look at the pose of Superman’s outstretched hand. That’s pure Carmine style…

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  2. Happy birthday to the late Mr. Anderson. I wonder what his pencils would’ve been like if John Byrne inked over them.

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  3. Carmine wanted to dump Swan. Schwartz held firm.

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