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John Severin December 26, 1921 – February 12, 2012
February 14, 2012 1:13 PM   Subscribe

Legendary comic book artist John Severin has died. He was ninety years old.

John Severin is best known for his work for EC Comics, specialising in drawing war stories for Two-Fisted Tales and Frontline Combat. His clean drawings and high technical accuracy are still admired today. He also worked on the comic book version of Mad, one of the five original artists, together with Wally Wood, Will Elder, Jack Davis and of course Harvey Kurtzman.

When work at EC dried up, Severin went working for Atlas and later Marvel Comics, again on war stories, but also on the superhero series Marvel debuted from the early sixties, working as inker over people like Herb Trimpe. His work on Conan the Barbarian as well as King Kull, where he collaborated with his sister Marie Severin, was highly regarded and absolutely gorgeous.

He still worked as late as the last decade, e.g. on the 2003 Rawhide Kid miniseries, a character he had also worked on in the 1950ties.

Unlike some of his EC counterparts, there hasn't been one specific series or character he has been identified with, but everything he did is worth looking out for, just for the sheer lush artwork he could produce.
posted by MartinWisse (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I liked Kull and the EC war comics very much.
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posted by CCBC at 1:18 PM on February 14, 2012


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John and sister Marie are comics legends up there with Kirby and Eisner.
posted by Shane at 1:24 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember growing up with Marvel and Trimpe. He was one of the best.
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posted by djrock3k at 1:24 PM on February 14, 2012


Brain fart, Severin...
posted by djrock3k at 1:25 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Joey Michaels at 1:26 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Fuzzy Monster at 1:26 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by DaddyNewt at 1:28 PM on February 14, 2012


...but everything he did is worth looking out for...

Worth repeating. As this tribute says, which includes examples of his art, he was as good in 1961 as he was in 2001. An amazingly consistent artist.
posted by marxchivist at 1:32 PM on February 14, 2012


My favorite comic artist. Dammit.

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posted by Edison Carter at 1:33 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by djeo at 1:36 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 1:37 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by rahnefan at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2012


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I was never a huge fan of his work but oh god he could draw his ass off, if I saw his signature on a splash page I knew it would be worth reading just for his pictures.
posted by egypturnash at 1:45 PM on February 14, 2012


Severin didn't work on EC's horror titles, as far as I know, so I'm not as familiar with his art as I am with, say, Graham Ingels, Jack Kamen or Jack Davis (who, gods be praised, is still with us). But I know he was one of the best.

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posted by Faint of Butt at 1:46 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I found out about him from reading What The --?! of all things. Even doing funny he stood out. Reading his work for EC comics was a revelation.

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posted by $0up at 1:48 PM on February 14, 2012


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He's the reason why I read and bought CRACKED Magazine.
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:49 PM on February 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Me, too, Smart Dalek.
posted by crunchland at 1:59 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by yerfatma at 1:59 PM on February 14, 2012


Me three, Smart Dalek. Does anybody know if there's something resembling a full-on career retrospective artbook for Severin's comics work?
posted by Strange Interlude at 2:18 PM on February 14, 2012


I am kind of surprised it was that many comments before Cracked was mentioned and it's only mentioned once in that article because that is what I know him for. Maybe it's just the specific window of Cracked that I grew up reading?
posted by SharkParty at 2:19 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, damn. I'm going to go through my Two-Fisted Tales reprints and give his stories a read.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:20 PM on February 14, 2012


Actually, Severin was with Cracked for almost its whole run. There were a couple times when he left (early 80s, though I think they still ran reprints of Severin stuff, and at the very, very end, but they still used his Smythe designs/drawings). So, yeah -- surprised not to see Cracked listed, too, since he was pretty much the only reason ANYONE read the magazine as far as I could tell... at least until Don Martin defected to Cracked... then he became the OTHER reason!
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 2:30 PM on February 14, 2012


I loved those early Mad books when I was a kid. Melvin Of The Apes was so conspicuously well drawn that I couldn't understand why they didn't make it a REAL comic... you know... with people really getting punched, and stuff.

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posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:38 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 2:40 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Superfrankenstein at 2:47 PM on February 14, 2012


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His work in Creepy magazine was also terrific stuff.
posted by cazoo at 2:51 PM on February 14, 2012


Oh man, "Melvin is in trouble!" And I can picture all the animals with their ears cocked, and then that stampede! Priceless.
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 2:57 PM on February 14, 2012


He was also a sublime artist of Western comics.

R.I.P.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 2:59 PM on February 14, 2012


Like a lot of other people, I grew up on his work for Cracked, and that was great. But if you're speaking of his most recent work, two things stand out to me:

_ Greyshirt: Indigo Sunset, written by Rick Veitch and drawn by him as well as several guest artists, including Severin and fellow comics veteran Russ Heath. Severin's contribution was a cute story about a gigantic sapphire from space that makes any couple that encounters it together fall in love (with a couple of exceptions).

- The Punisher: The Tyger, written by Garth Ennis, and dealing with Frank "Punisher" Castle's childhood. A great, grim story that makes the case that Castle's attitudes toward gangsters and revenge started well before his Death Wish-inspired origin, or even Vietnam.

Anyway, both of these very different stories are proof that Severin still had it, practically all the way up to the end.

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posted by Halloween Jack at 2:59 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 3:16 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Spatch at 3:18 PM on February 14, 2012


He was the best. RIP, Severin.
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posted by biddeford at 3:58 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by SPrintF at 3:58 PM on February 14, 2012


The Losers, the real Losers
Man, I loved that comic.
posted by archaic at 4:25 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by bettafish at 4:34 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Meatafoecure at 4:50 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:25 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by Renoroc at 6:05 PM on February 14, 2012


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(zip-a-tone
swatch, 10%)
posted by KHAAAN! at 7:00 PM on February 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by vrakatar at 9:00 PM on February 14, 2012


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posted by MrBadExample at 10:48 PM on February 14, 2012


I loved his work on Sgt. Fury and the Howling Commandos.
posted by cropshy at 3:15 AM on February 15, 2012


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posted by Chichibio at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2012


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