Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Happy Birthday, Joe Staton!

Joe Staton, one of the most dynamic illustrators to ever work in comics, turns 65 years young this Saturday. He was born on January 19, 1948.

I first came across Joe as an inker on an early (to-me) issue of THE AVENGERS #128 (pencils were by Sal Buscema). The next time I saw his stuff it was on his classic run of The Justice Society of America on ALL STAR COMICS. He had the unenviable job of having to take over for the late great Wally Wood, who had just left the series. Joe's style meshed beautifully with inker Bob Layton, and for 3 years they drew all of the Golden Age greats. Under Staton-Layton and writer Paul Levitz the Justice Society of America achieved a level of class and entertainment that they didn't reach again until their 1999 series. One of the characters he designed at this time was The Huntress, who was introduced as the daughter of the original 1940s Batman and Catwoman. Her introduction and subsequent adventures were the highlights of this series, followed closely by the long-awaited Secret Origin of the Justice Society, which appeared in 1977.

After that series ended, Joe moved on to GREEN LANTERN, where he designed "new" Green Lantern Guy Gardner, as well as now-classic supporting characters Kilowogg, Arisia, and Savaak.

Joe also was at one time the main artist on the LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, Superman's team-up book DC COMICS PRESENTS, and the DC crossover event, MILLENNIUM. This just means that during his career Joe has probably drawn almost every DC character they have!

I had the pleasure of meeting Joe at last year's New York City Convention. He seemed normal and down-to-Earth, and I wish I had had enough money to get an original sketch. 

Currently Joe is drawing the syndicated comic-strip DICK TRACY. If it is not available in your newspaper, you can read it here at Go Comics.

Happy Birthday, Joe Staton!



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