(1909-1956) Versatile and very influential US Comic-strip creator and illustrator with a clear, bold, precise line style, among whose creations is one of the most abidingly popular and long-running newspaper strips in the world – Flash Gordon. AR is, along with Harold R Foster, one of the most celebrated comics artists of all time, and is quoted by almost every other creator in the field as a major influence. He utilized a pen and dry-brush technique, which when he started was more commonly used in magazine illustration; his technique was imitated so widely that, by the end of the 1930s, it was widespread in comics. He had a fertile imagination and great skill in delineating character.
AR worked on Wall Street until the crash of 1929, when he enrolled in the Grand Central School of Art. He became art assistant to Russ Westover on Tilly the Toiler in 1930, then worked with Lyman Young on Tim Tyler's Luck. He attempted to interest King Features Syndicate in an idea for a series about a group of scientists who take a rocketship to another world; the idea was initially rejected, but then he reduced the number of scientists to one and added a pretty girl, and Flash Gordon was the result. At the same time he created two other features: Secret Agent X9, a police thriller scripted by Dashiel Hammett (1894-1961), and Jungle Jim, an exotic adventure strip. All three began publication in January 1934, but within less than two years the workload had become too great and responsibility for Secret Agent X9 art was passed to Charles Flanders. AR continued to draw his other two features until 1944, when he joined the US Marine Corps, returning to strips in 1946 to create the detective series Rip Kirby. At the height of his fame he died in a car accident. [RT]
Alexander Gillespie Raymond