all artwork copyright by DC Comics, Inc.
Updated 5/12/14
With America's entrance into World War II in December 1941, the Superman feature, like the rest of the country, was changed irretrievably.  Editorially, the strip was placed into the hands of Jack Schiff, who took a much greater interest in controlling  what was published than his predecessors, Murray Boltinoff and Mort Weisinger, had done.  Jerry Siegel, Superman's creator and sole writer to that point, was drafted in early 1943.  Stories by other writers, notably Don Cameron and Bill Finger, and somewhat later, Alvin Schwartz, appeared.  The newspaper strip was taken over by Editor-In-Chief Whitney Ellsworth (later assisted by Schwartz).

Art wise,  Leo Nowak and John Sikela were both drafted, with their last stories appearing in early 1943.  Sikela was to return after the war, but Nowak went on to work in advertising and teaching.  Wayne Boring continued to produce the newspaper version, but new assistants were needed to help turn out the flow of Superman pages for the comic books.

Jerry Siegel, Jack Burnley Action 33, Pg 11 February 1941
Gardner Fox and Jack Burnley- Adventure Comics 66 September 1941
"Case of the Camera Curse"
Jack Burnley (b. 1911) was the first outside artist directly in the company's employ to work on Superman.  After working on special advertising material, he began with the story in World's Fair Comics #2.  Then he took over Action Comics from September to April 1941(28-34), after which he took over the daily comic strip. Jack was clearly a superior draughtsman to anybody who had worked on the strip before.  Thus he was often assigned to do covers, succeeding Fred Ray with Superman 19.  He left the Superman strip to work on his own comic book feature, Starman, which appeared in Adventure Comics beginning in April 1941.  From 1944-46 he penciled the Batman Sunday page and, for a time in 1944, was penciling both the Batman and Superman Sunday pages.  He left DC in 1947 to return to sports cartooning..

Fred Ray Superman's Christmas Adventure (toy store giveaway 1940
Fred Ray Superman 14 Jan, 1941.
Fred Ray (b 1922) began pencilling Superman covers with Supeman's Christmas Adventure in 1940 and began doing the regular book with Superman #9 in Fall 1940.   Probably his most famous Superman cover was the American shield and eagle cover from Superman#14.

His only complete Superman story appeared in Superman 25, "I Sustain the Wings" December 1943, written by Mort Weisinger directly for the US Military was a piece of war propaganda. 

Ray's major contribution to Superman (other than spectacular art) was a new design for the "S" symbol which has come to be synonymous with the Golden Age Superman.

Besides his Superman work, Fred also took over the art and writing on Congo Bill when it moved to Action Comics in in June 1941. 

After the war, Ray concentrated on western themed adventures, mostly Tomahawk

Mort Weisinger and Fred Ray "I Sustain the Wings" - p8 Superman 25 November, 1943
Fred Ray- "The U-Boat" Congo Bill-Action 39 August 1941
Sam Citron from Superman #22 "Meet the Squiffles" ,May 1943  by Jerry Siegel

Sam Citron - Robotman from Star Spangled Comics #13 Oct 1942 by Jerry Siegel

Sam Citron long thought to have worked on later Superman stories, has now been identified as the artist on 5 stories, all produced in a very short period of time in 1943.  The most famous of these is probably "Meet the Squiffles", a Jerry Siegel penned story about an Imp from another dimension named Ixnayalpay and his effect on Adolph Hitler.  He may possibly have also done a short stint on the daily newspaper strip. 

Citron had a unique habit of drawing Superman flying with his knee pulled up so high it almost obscured his chest symbol.  See the middle panel in the bottom tier in the example above.

A recently discovered letter from Whitney Ellsworth to Jerry Siegel, dated Nov 12, 1942 indicates Citron worked directly for DC and began ghosting Siegel's Robotman before Ellsworth moved him to Superman.  Ellsworth notes that Citron worked with Don Komisarow on that strip, although this is certainly not Komisarow's inking on the sample above.  Sam left Superman in 1943, possibly due to military service, and later went on to draw Mr. District Attorney and other crime comics for DC and later drew horror/mystery stories for the American Comics Group..

Sam Citron and Charles Paris, Mr. District Attorney #2- March 1948

Sam Citron from Mr. District Attorney #1 January 1948

George Roussos from Superman 23 "Habitual Homicide" by Jerry Siegel, July 1943

Joe Samachson and George Roussos- Airwave- Detective Comics 79  "The Tenderfoot Gets Tough" Sept 1943
George Roussos (1920-2000) began his comics career in 1940, inking, lettering and doing backgrounds on Batman.  Not content to work on one strip, Roussos' inks ended up all over the place in the early forties, including Captain America.  He worked closely with Jerry Robinson, and later Mort Meskin,   He worked on Nightro, the Black Terror and the Green Hornet, as well as DC strips Airwave, Vigilante, and Johnny Quick. He also put in stints on the famous EC  horror titles and drew a huge quantity of educational and promotional comics.  He continued to work in comics up until his death, including long stints at DC and Marvel as a colorist.   Often called, "Inky", Roussos' trademarks include huge full moons, and moody night scenes.  His backgrounds often consist totally of shadows with the objects casting them only implied.  In addition to his Batman duties, George was one of the main Superman inkers during the war and for some years thereafter, his work often being mistaken for Ed Dobrotka, or Stan Kaye. His Superman pencil jobs are often mistakenly attributed to Sam Citron or Ed Dobrotka. He is currently considered the most likely artist of the Superboy stories of 1947-49.
Ira Yarbrough, Superman 30, Sept. 1944. "The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk" by Jerry Siegel. Possible layouts by Joe Shuster.
Bill Finger, Ira Yarbrough and George Roussos- "The King's Substitute" Superman 30, Sept. 1944
Ira Yarbrough (1911-83) worked closely with Joe Shuster,  sometimes over his layouts, sometimes on his own.  His work first appears in Action Comics 63 in August 1943,  in a Don Cameron written story "When Stars Collide".  Yarbrough's style was heavily comical, vaguely reminiscent of Al Capp's stuff from "L'il Abner".  It fit in with the lighter tone being pushed, possibly as an antidote to somber war news.  He was the perfect artist to be entrusted with the introduction of Mr Mxyztplk, shown here from Superman 30, September 1944.  Notice Yarbrough's unique flying stance with both of Superman's arms curled above his head. Yarbrough usually did not ink his own pencils, as editor Jack Schiff was apparently trying to bring the inking in house in order to apply a more consistent style to the strip.

George Roussos became the inker of choice in this era.
His inks tended to provide weight to Yarbrough's pencils, providing a 3 dimensional density that Yarbrough otherwise lacked.  Notice the complete different design on Superman's S symbol than in the Mxyztplk story to the left.

Alvin Schwartz, Ira Yarbrough and  Stan Kaye-  "The Death of Clark Kent" Superman 42, October 1946.
Jerry Siegel?, Ira Yarbrough and George Roussos- "The City of Hate" World' Finest 11, October 1943
Stan Kaye, on the other hand, made Yarbrough's art even more cartoony than it was already.  Whereas Roussos's rendering could seem stiff and overdone, Kaye inked with blissful abandon. Notice the skyscrapers in panel 4 were done without using a straige edge. Roussos skyscrapers on the other hand, looked like architect's drawings. Notice the use of shadows to imply windows.  Roussos' windows almost never actually had glass in them.

Jerry Siegel and Ed Dobrotka- "The Great ABC Panic"  Superman 22 May 1943, 
Whitney Ellsworth and Ed Dobrotka
Superman 29 (July -August 1944) 
Ed Dobrotka (1917-77) continued to produce artwork throughout the war, mostly pencilling.   He did about half of the solo 4 page Lois Lane stories that appeared during this time, most written by DC Editor-in-Chief Whitney Ellsworth.  These allowed him to shine forth with his gift for comical faces and caricature.  He also co-created the Toyman in Action 64, along with writer Don Cameron. Dobrotka also worked for Quality Comics where he got to indulge his comic side more uninhibitedly.

Don Cameron, Ed Dobrotka and George Roussos,  "Pranks for Profit" Superman 37, December 1945
Ed Dobrotka, Choo Choo from Modern Comics 57, January 1947

from an unpublished Pete Riss story, eventually redone in Superman 54 with art by Wayne Boring.

 Don Cameron, Pete Riss and George Roussos- "The Battle of the Atoms"

Superman 38 February 1946

 Pete Riss (1906?-62?) Riss began drawing Superman in late 1943. His earliest stories seem to indicate someone else drew the Superman figures.  When Riss took over the full art his Superman seemed anemic  compared with the muscle bound versions of Superman being pumped out by all the other ghosts.  His version of Luthor appeared absolutely skeletal.  Still, he had a good touch for Lois Lane.  The extent of Riss's work on Superman was documented by Martin O'Hearn.

Jerry Siegel, Pete Riss and Stan Kaye- "A Modern Alice in Wonderland" Superman 41 August 1946
Whitney Ellsworth and Pete Riss- Superman 42, October 1946
Riss got around.  He worked for Fawcett, Standard, Quality, Prize, Street and Smith and Marvel at various times during the forties.  His biggest claims to fame were a long run on Kid Eternity from 1946-9 as well as Hopalong Cassidy from 1948-51 .  . Riss worked on Millie the Model from 1947-9.  In the 1950's he even drew horror comics.

Pete Riss from Hit Comics 46 "The Kid Eternity Hoax" May 1947, writer unknown.

Pete Riss from Millie the Model #14

Don Cameron, Dick Sprang and Stan Kaye?- "The Quicksilver Kid"  Superman 26  January 1944
Ed Kressy and Dick Sprang (Batman and Robin) with Stan Kaye (Hitler, Tojo and Mussolini) - Batman 18 August-September 1943
Dick Sprang had been stockpiling Batman stories for almost 3 years, as the publisher was guarding against the possibility Bob Kane might me drafted.  His Batman work finally began appearing in August 1943.  Somewhere in that period Sprang must have been handed a Superman script to see what he could do.  Sprang's next solo Superman story wouldn't appear until the late 1950's.

Joe Shuster and George Roussos- "The Magician's Convention"  Action 97, June 1946, written by Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster and George Roussos? -"The Inventions of Hector Thwistle" Superman 43, December 1946,  written by Jerry Siegel
Joe Shuster also continued to produce artwork throughout the war, although his art is often hard to identify due to his great reliance on assistants to finish off rough pencil layouts.  Some stories he's definitely been identified as penciling include "The Inventions of Hector Thwistle" In Superman 43 and "Hocus and Pocus: Magicians By Accident" in Action Comics 83, April 1945, both written by Jerry Siegel and probably inked and finished by George Roussos.  His main contribution during this period was the launching of the Superboy strip in More Fun Comics 101 in January 1945.

Jerry Siegel? and Jon Small?- "The Laughing Stock of Metropolis" Action 95 April 1946 
Joe Samachson and Jon Small-"False Paradise for Felons" World's Finest 18- Summer 1945

Jon Small  (-1966) was born in England and came to America in the mid-thirties. He returned to England in the mid-fifties. In between he worked for a number of comics publishers, drawing Bulletman for Fawcett and the Green Hornet for Hillman. He took over the Star Spangled Kid from Hal Sherman in 1944 and also did the 7 Soldiers of Victory for a short time.  He appears to have drawn at least one Superman story.
In the Fifties, Small moved to Dell where he drew the Lone Ranger for a number of years.

John Sikela and Stan Kaye, Action 112 September 1947 "The Cross-Country Chess Crimes" by Alvin Schwartz?
John Sikela, George Roussos "Case of the Living Trophies" written by Jerry Siegel, from Superman 45, March 1947.
John Sikela (1907-98) returned to Superman in late 1946.  He rejoined the Shuster shop and worked with them on the development of Superboy  before the entire shop left to start the Funnyman strip in 1948.  Unlike before the war, Sikela's later Superman stories were inked by the standard Roussos/Kaye duo.


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