Curt Swan - Superman artist

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Curt Swan was born on February 17, 1920, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He received his art training in grammar school, given regular projects by his teachers who recognized his abilities. He was drafted in 1940 and spent the whole war in the Army. While in the Army he was assigned to Stars and Stripes, the G.I. magazine published by the Army.

When he returned to the States in 1945, he began working at DC, with his earliest work on Simon & Kirbys Boy Commandos, at $18 a page. He quickly discovered that it was a lot of work and at the suggestion of a friend, he began to just pencil pages, leaving the inks to faster practitioners.

For the next few years he drew many different features including Tommy Tommorrow and Gangbusters. Slowly he began to draw Superman stories when the regular Superman artists Wayne Boring, Al Plastino, Stan Kaye and for many covers, Win Mortimer. He did some Superboy stories, some Jimmy Olsens and finally in 1953 he drew the 3-D Superman and shortly thereafter became one of the regular artists on the feature, eventually doing hundreds of covers and stories with the red and blue suited hero. He drew the comic strip from the late fifties until its demise in 1964.

Curt's Superman is unquestionably among the most remembered depictions of the character, having become the artist most closely associated with Superman from 1958-1985. His style in many ways also epitomized for many the superhero books put out by DC for several years.

He retired from DC in 1985, doing only sporadic work for them in later years. But he made several appearances at comic book conventions after his retirement.

He had said that he never expected comic books to last and thought that his employment in the industry would be nothing more than temporary, but it resulted in four decades of work and his becoming one of the comic icons of the sixties generation.

Curt died on June 16, 1996. He was 76 years old.
~David Skoglund, Maplewood, MN


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