“Daring” Dick Ayers, an Eisner Award Hall-Of-Famer best known as an inker for Jack Kirby during the 50’s and 60’s during Marvel’s rebirth in the Silver Age, has passed away. He had just turned 90 last week.
Ayers may be best known for inking some of the earliest issues of Fantastic Four, and he was the signature penciler of Marvel’s World War II comic Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos. Ayers started as a artist in the 40’s (where he co-created the original Ghost Rider), later teaming up with Kirby in 1959 over at Marvel. Ayers went on to ink scores of Kirby Western and monster stories, including such much-reprinted tales as “I Created The Colossus!” from Tales of Suspense #14, “Goom! The Thing From Planet X!” from Tales of Suspense #15, and the immortal “Fin Fang Foom!” from Strange Tales #89.
As Marvel Comics introduced superheroes in the early 1960s, Ayers inked Kirby on the first appearances of Ant-Man (Tales to Astonish #27 and 35, Jan. and Sept. 1962), Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos (#1-3, May-Sept. 1963), and the revamped Rawhide Kid (beginning with The Rawhide Kid #17, Aug. 1960). He inked Kirby on the second and several subsequent early appearances of Thor (Journey into Mystery #84-89), plus others; on Fantastic Four #6-20 and the spin-off Human Torch solo series in Strange Tales (starting with its debut in issue #101); and Avengers #1. He also inked Steve Ditko on Iron Man, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Incredible Hulk, among many many others.
Ayers took over from Kirby as Sgt. Fury penciler with issue #8 (July 1964), beginning a 10-year run that — except for #13 (which he inked over Kirby’s pencils), and five issues by other pencilers – continued virtually unbroken through #120 (with the series running Ayers reprints every-other-issue through most but not all from #79 on).
He was a frequent convention guest in recent years, and was one of the last living creators of the Marvel era. Our condolences to his family, friends, and fans.