Monday, April 06, 2015

Know Your Artist

Thursday Story Strip Day.

Fred Ray was a skilled artist who worked in comics (for DC) in the forties and fifties, where he became best known as the artist of many 1940s 'Superman' covers. Ray came from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. He began pencilling 'Superman' covers in 1940 and started doing the regular book later that year. But before that he did an illustrated daily feature about his hometown for the town paper, the Harrisburg Evening News. It shows his interest in Indian folklore and early American history, which he used on the strip Tomahawk in the fifties (also for DC) and in his historical work in the later years of his life. He was a consultant to the Smithsonian Institution, wrote books and booklets on American history and drew covers and interior art for magazines such as Historical Times and True Frontiers. He lived in Harrisburg all his life, where he died in 2001 at the age of 80.

Produced in 1939, The illustrated Know Your City is similar in format and execution to Frank Thorne's series The Illustrated History of Union County from many years later (published by Fantagraphics in 2006). It has never been shown since and isn't mentioned in any of Ray's biographies.

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