Who Inked
CURT SWAN
on
?
all artwork copyright by DC Comics, Inc.  

01/02/10

Curt Swan  (1920-1996)came to comics directly from his military service, where he worked on the Stars and Stripes newspaper. There he met Ed France Herron, comic book scripter and editor (and creator of the Red Skull and Captain Marvel Jr.) who directed him to Detective Comics, Inc. to apply for a job. Soon, Curt was ghosting the Boy Commandos, later expanding into Tommy Tomorrow, GangBusters, and even Star Spangled War Stories . Occasionally he was assigned a Superman story, beginning with "The Man Who Bossed Superman" in Superman #51 in 1948. One of the tell-tale characteristics of Curt's artwork is his habit of drawing hands with the second and third fingers stuck together and separated from the first and fouth. In 1949, he began drawing Superboy, alternating with John Sikela. He did a Batman story in 1952 which lead to his drawing the first Superman/Batman team-up in Superman  76. He continued with the first seven of the Superman/Batman team-ups in World's Finest, beginning with #71 in July, 1954, just a few months before he took on the Jimmy Olsen assignment. Unlike Wayne Boring, the head Superman artist, whose forte was action and science-fiction, Curt showed a great affinity for drawing real people, with a be lievable variety of expressions and in a believable variety of real-life situations. He was perfect for the Olsen assignment.

Sam Burlockoff worked for MLJ in the early Forties on the Shield and the Web and later moved to Quality where he inked Blackhawk, Captain Triumph and Plastic Man around 1946. He worked for National for about 3 years in the early Fifties, mostly on war comics.  One of his few super-hero assignments was working on the Superman 3-Dimension Adventures book.

Curt Swan and Steve Brodie from "The Man Who Bossed Superman" Superman 51 March 1948 Curt Swan and Sam Burlockoff(?), "The Man Who Stole The Sun" from Three Dimension Adventures,1953 by Jerry Siegel (adapted from the story in Superman 48)
Stan Kaye (1916-67) was Wayne Boring's regular Superman inker from 1944 on. He also pencilled some humor features in the forties including Hayfoot Henry.  He inked Curt's work on the Superman 3-D book produced in 1953 and Curt's early work on the Superman/Batman team-ups in World's Finest
Curt Swan and Stan Kaye Kellogs giveaway from 1955
From June 18, 1956 to November 12, 1960 he and Curt took over the Superman daily comic strip and then became the cover artists for Superman and Action in late 1957.  They also did most of the Batman and Detective covers in 1958 -59.
Curt Swan and Stan Kaye from August 8, 1958 and August 15, 1959 daily strips.
Ray Burnley  (1902-64)  was Curt Swan's steady inker on Jimmy Olsen.  They did 33 straight issues before Ray retired in 1959.  Burnley also inked at least one Superman/Batman team-up in World's Finest, as well as an occasional Superboy story and most of Curt's pre-1960 Superman stories.  Ray began his career inking backgrounds for his brother Jack Burnley.   After Jack left comics in 1947, Ray began branching out looking for work on his own.  He inked Bob Kane's last run on Batman and continued to do an occasional Batman story over Sheldon Moldoff's pencils in addition to his work with Swan. Sy Barry was National's "go-to" inker in the early fifties.  His style was the house style of the company.  Everybody was told to emulate his slick, clean line.  He inked Swan's work on several featurs between 1952 and 1955, including a couple of Jimmy Olsen stories usually mis-attributed to Ray Burnley. 
Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Ray Burnley from Jimmy Olsen 2, June 1957 King for a Day from Jimmy Olsen #4, April 1955 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and Sy Barry.
John Giunta 1920-70 was a journeyman inker throughout the fifties at DC, inking most issue of Big Town over Manny Stallman's pencils.  He also inked a number of stories for Strange Adventures and Mystery In Space.  Recently he's been identified as the inker on several Swan stories previously misattributed to Creig Flessel. John Forte (1918-66) inked several Swan stories around 1961.  He was primarily a penciller and worked on the Jimmy Olsen and Lois Lane strips.  His main claim to fame was his work on the Tales of the Bizarro World feature and the early Legion of Super-Heroes adventures.
"The Menace of Superman's Fan Mail" from Jimmy Olsen 35 by Otto Binder, Curt Swan and John Giunta. March 1959 Curt Swan and John Forte from Superman 139 "The Untold Story of Red Kryptonite" by Otto Binder.  August 1960
Sheldon Moldoff (b. 1920) took over as inker after Stan Kaye's retirement in 1961.  He inked about a year's worth of stories and continued to do an occasional job thereafter, mostly in World's Finest.  Moldoff is most noted for his work on Hawkman in the early 1940's and Batman from 1953- 1968. George Klein  (d. 1969) became Curt's most prominent inker in the 1960's, until he left for Marvel in 1968.  He may have inked many of Curt's stories throughout the fifties that were formerly thought to have been inked by Creig Flessel.
Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff from Superman 149 "The Death of Superman" by Jerry Siegel.  November 1961
Curt Swan and George Klein from "Superman Red and Superman Blue" by Leo Dorfman in Superman 162 July 1963.
Wayne Boring (1916-87) For one short story, comic fans witnessed the teaming of the two best known Superman artists, as Wayne Boring inked Curt Swan's pencils!
Curt Swan Pencils, Wayne Boring inks, "When the World Forgot Superman" from Superman 150, January 1962 by Jerry Siegel Swan almost never inked his own work.  Here is a rare example from Superman 233, Jan 1971.

 

  A lot of people seem to have trouble telling the difference between Klein, Moldoff and Forte.  Perhaps the following hints will be of help:  
Klein's hairline is much higher and tends to make Superman look slightly balding.  In the early sixties Superman had a tendency to look the age he should have been if he had actually begun his career in 1937.  Klein's "S" symbol has much more of a curve to it than Moldoff's which tends to be perfectly flat across the center bar. Moldoff's hairline is lower and flatter. His face is younger looking.  Moldoff's "S" symbol tends to be perfectly flat across the center bar.  In general, years of drawing Batman has given him a penchant for straight lines, square jaws and a starker texture. Forte's line is thinner all around, presenting a much cleaner, less detailed look, which, unfortunately tends to cover up a lot of the nuances of Swan's pencils.
swan_moldoff
After Klein left DC, Curt was inked by a number of people, the most prominent included :

Jack Abel (1927-96) Jack worked for many companies, beginning in the early fifties primarily as an inker.  He inked Swan on Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes for almost three years.  He worked at Marvel in various positions up until his death in 1996.

George Roussos (1920-2000) returned to Superman to ink Curt Swan in 1969 and 70.  His work in this period is hard to tell apart from Mike Esposito's, although his penchant for spotting blacks heavily that earned him the nickname "Inky" back in the forties still continues.. 
  
Curt Swan and Jack Abel from Action 369 Page 5 Nov 1968 Curt Swan and George Roussos from Superman 225 April 1970
Mike Esposito (b.1927) usually partnered with Ross Andru, Mike inked a handful of Swan stories in 1969-70. Curt continued to pencil Superman stories for another 20 plus years allowing numerous inkers to work with him, the most prominent being Murphy Anderson
Curt Swan and Mike Esposito from Superman 210 (Oct 1968)  "Clark Kent's Last Rites" by Leo Dorfman  The first Superman story to feature credits was "Killer Kent vs Super-Luthor" in Superman 230 in October 1970.  Curt Swan's pencils were inked by Dan Adkins.

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