Richard "Dick" Ayers (born April 28, 1924) is an American comic book artist and cartoonist best known for his work as one of Jack Kirby's inkers during the late-1950s and 1960s period known as the Silver Age of Comics, including on some of the earliest issues of Marvel Comics' The Fantastic Four, and as the signature penciler of Marvel's World War II comic Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos.
Ayers was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2007.
Early life and career
Born in Ossining, New York, the son of John Bache Ayers (b. January 24, 1891, Morristown, New Jersey, d. December 1967, Red Bank, New Jersey) and Gladys Minnerly Ayers (b. June 23, 1900, Glenville, New York, d. circa 1988, Red Bank, New Jersey) Dick Ayers published his first comic strip, Radio Ray, in the military newspaper Radio Post 1942, while serving in the Army Air Corps during World War II.
He entered the comic book field in 1947. In a 2005 interview, Ayers recalled his start in the industry, saying, "It was [Superman co-creator] Joe Shuster who sent me to [editor] Vin Sullivan of Magazine Enterprises. Joe had me pencil some of his Funnyman stories after seeing my drawings at Burne Hogarth's evening class" at the Cartoonists and Illustrators School in New York City. Ayers went on to pencil and ink Westsern stories in the late 1940s for Magazine Enterprises' A-1 Comics and Trail Colt, and for Prize Comics' Prize Comics Western. With writer Ray Krank, Ayers created the horror-themed Western character Ghost Rider in Tim Holt #11 (1949). The character appeared in stories through the run of Tim Holt, Red Mask, A-1 Comics, Bobby Benson's B-Bar-B Riders, and the 14-issue solo series The Ghost Rider (1950-1954), up through the introduction of the Comics Code. After the trademark to the character's name and motif lapsed, Marvel Comics debuted its own near-identical, horror-free version of the character in Ghost Rider #1 (Feb. 1967), by writers Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich and original Ghost Rider artist Ayers.
In 1952, while continuing to freelance for Magazine Enterprises, Ayers began a long freelance run at Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. He drew horror stories in such titles as Adventures into Terror, Astonishing, Journey into Mystery, Journey into Unknown Worlds, Menace, Mystery Tales, Mystic, Strange Tales, and Uncanny Tales. As well, he drew the brief revival of the 1940s Golden Age of Comics superhero the Human Torch, from Marvel's 1940s predecessor Timely Comics, in Young Men # 21-24 (June 1953 - Feb. 1954). An additional, unpublished Human Torch story drawn by Ayers belatedly appeared in Marvel Super-Heroes #16 (Sept. 1968).
During the 1950s, Ayers also drew freelance for Charlton Comics, including for the satirical series Eh!.
As of 2005, Ayers works full-time as an artist.
Characters Created By Dick Ayers