Murphy Anderson, 'Hawkman' and 'Phantom Stranger' Artist, Dies at 89 (Report)

Anderson was known as a long-standing inker on 'Superman' in addition to doing his own work.
Murphy Anderson/DC Entertainment

According to a number of reports, including an obituary from DC Entertainment, Murphy Anderson, a comic book artist known for his work on such DC characters as Hawkman, Elongated Man and The Phantom Stranger, as well as a run on Buck Rogers, has died. He was 89.

News of his death spread throughout the comic community Friday morning; according to writer and comic historian Mark Evanier, details on the cause remain a mystery, although he's been known to have been in poor health for some time.

Anderson worked in the comic book industry for more than half a century, entering the field at age 18 with the series Suicide Smith, Sky Rangers and Star Pirate for pulp publisher Fiction House in 1944. Subsequently, he assumed artistic chores for the Buck Rogers comic book from 1947 to 1949, before beginning a lengthy association with DC in 1951, drawing stories for the Mystery in Space and Strange Adventures anthology titles.

In addition to penciling and inking his own work — including contributing designs for characters including Adam Strange and Zatanna — Anderson worked as an inker for a number of other artists at the publisher, including Flash artist Carmine Infantino, Green Lantern's Gil Kane and Superman artist Curt Swan; the latter pairing became so synonymous with the character that the two artists were frequently identified with the portmanteau "Swanderson" by fans discussing classic looks for the Man of Steel.

Outside of his artwork, Anderson contributed to the technical production of comic books; in the mid 1960s, a request to draw at a smaller size than the then-norm revolutionized the industry by allowing production houses to photograph multiple pages at once, with Anderson's preferred size quickly becoming the industry standard. In later life, Anderson moved his attentions from creating artwork to working on the coloring and production side of the business through his company Murphy Anderson Visual Concepts.

Anderson won multiple awards throughout his career, including inductions into the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1998, the Will Eisner Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnot Hall of Fame in 2013.

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