George Tuska, R.I.P.
Tony Isabella is reporting that long-time comics artist George Tuska has passed away yesterday at age 93.
Another piece of my childhood has vanished. I first encountered George’s work when he replaced Gene Colan as artist on Iron Man and then stayed with the book for years. A versatile artist with a distinct style, you knew you were looking at a page of his work. His real people looked like real people and his action sequences moved with power. While never a graceful artist, he was a natural one, adept at the demands of the story regardless of genre.
It was many years later before I learned George really made his name on the crime comics of the late 1940s, including Crimes does not Pay. He vanished from comics for most of the 1950s and early 1960s, working in comic strips, notably Scorchy Smith and then taking over Buck Rogers until it folded, which led him to Marvel.
George drifted to DC in the late 1970s and did the World’s Greatest Super-Heroes comic strip in addition to runs on World’s Finest Comics, Challengers of the Unknown and various other DC properties until changing tastes reduced demand for his work and he retired to New Jersey, producing commissions and making occasional appearances.
I never got to know George, mostly because he rarely traveled into New York. By the time I was at DC, George had lost most of his hearing. When I wanted to commission Who’s Who pages, I dealt with his pleasant wife, Dot, who would accept on his behalf. The work always came in on time and was exactly what was request – a true pro.
Most recently, I read his introduction to the latest Marvel Masterwork Iron Man volume and wished he spoke a bit more about what it was like back then. Now we’ll never know.