George Tuska draws the IRON MAN image I see in my head

askthedwo1Don’t forget that this blog features an open invitation to “ASK THE DWO.” Me, Dave, I’m the DWO. Don’t know what you might want to ask me, check out the Background page. It has been a long spell since I’ve had a really good question, so sharpen your virtual pencil and ask me something cool. I can always guarantee an answer, I just can’t guarantee an answer you’ll like.

Check out the fancy new header. A Marvel/DC mash-up from George Pérez. Looks like promo art for something, but I don’t know what. 


I’ve decided to put it up to try to usher in a new era here at Funny Book Fanatic. The new idea. Shorter posts, but put up on the blog more often. Frankly, I have no idea if it will work or not, but I’m going to try. The format of the template I’m using isn’t the greatest for what I’m trying to do, but what the heck. It is my blog and I’ll do what I wanna.


George Tuska cover on his first IRON MAN issue (#5)

George Tuska cover on his first IRON MAN issue (#5)


The four mysterious illustrations (to see them, you’ll have to scroll down and then come back here) were all by amazing storyteller George Tuska. In the days when Gene Colan was establishing himself as THE Daredevil artist (for my generation), George Tuska was doing the same thing working on Iron Man.

Inkpot Award Winner George Tuska had an amazing career that guys like me, who discovered him at Marvel, had no clue about. His career started in 1939, working on newspaper strip Scorchy Smith. Tuska worked in Will Eisner’s comic packaging studio. He was a very busy boy in the early 1940s, working for a wide variety of publishers like Fox Comics, Fiction House, and Harvey Comics. Tuska worked on a number of characters at Fawcett including Captain Marvel, plus creating a character that was featured in Hit Comics #1 (July 1940).

George Tuska

George Tuska

The next stage of George Tuska’s career was described so perfectly at LAMBIEK.NET, that I’m going to steal the wording directly. (So I guess this is a little plug to go to LAMBIEK.NET for some great content)… “Tuska was mobilized during World War II, and he had to postpone his comic activities, but did draw for some army magazines. After the war, he continued in the comic field with ‘The Crime Does Not Pay‘, as well as ‘Black Terror‘, ‘Crimebuster‘ and ‘Doc Savage‘. He also became the main illustrator on ‘Scorchy Smith‘ from 1954 to 1959. In 1959, he took over the daily and Sunday ‘Buck Rogers‘ pages, which he continued until 1965 (daily) and 1967 (Sunday).”

Even though his run was interrupted several times, George Tuska first started working on Iron Man with issue #5 (Sept. 1968) his final issue was almost ten years later with issue #106 (Jan. 1978). He also worked on a number of other Marvel titles, both as penciller and as inker, from Black Goliath, to Planet of the Apes, to Ghost Rider. He even worked on a title here and there for DC Comics. His biggest DC contribution was when he went back to his newspaper strip roots and provided art for 15 years on The World’s Greatest Superheroes Present Superman (1978-1993).


If I close my eyes and think of some of my favorite comic characters, the image is often from a particular artist. Dr. Strange: I see Steve Ditko art. Daredevil: I see Gene Colan. Conan: I see John Buscema. Hulk: I see Herb Trimpe … and Iron Man: I see George Tuska. I know that is all a function of age, and the art that illustrated the stories that had an impact on me when I was young, but them’s the facts.

Tuska original sketch card of Iron Man with Thor's hammer (?)

Tuska original sketch card of Iron Man with Thor's hammer (?)

The George Tuska Wikipedia listing had a story about how working in comics isn’t really different than any other job … as told by Will Eisner. “(the 1940s Eisner Studio) was a friendly shop, and I guess I was the same age as the youngest guys there. We all got along. The only ones who ever got into a hassle were George Tuska and Bob Powell. Powell was kind of a wiseguy and made remarks about other people in the shop. One day, George had enough of it, got up, and punched out Bob Powell”.

Tuska trivia: George started working for $10 a week after he left art school at 21. When he retired he was making $55 per page. George turns 93 on April 26, 2009.

Capt. Marvel page by George Tuska

Capt. Marvel page by George Tuska

Tuska commission features his most recognizable style

Tuska commission features his most recognizable style




           — Dave Olbrich (DWO) Mon. Feb. 23, 2009



Filed under Ask The DWO, Quiz Answers

3 responses to “George Tuska draws the IRON MAN image I see in my head

  1. Don’t forget about George’s work on Luke Cage!!! Personally, I think that was his best stuff.

  2. Like you, Tuska is my idea of the definitive Iron Man artist. I always wondered what IM would have looked like if Tuska had stayed on during the Michelinie/Layton era. Layton’s glittering inks over Tuska’s powerful pencils–ah, what might have been. (No slight intended to John Romita, Jr. who’s one of the best around, nossir!)

    Tuska also did a magnificent job on Giant-Size Defenders #4, as well as on some early issues of the Champions, and a few fill-ins during Gerry Conway’s tenure on JLA.

  3. Dave

    I still have my issue of captain america 112, Lee & kirbys final cap together,That came out in january 1969, that tuska inked, and man, did he do one hell of a great job on it! To the best of my knowledge, he never again inked the king, and thats a shame, cause he had a real feel for his work.

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