Gill began his career as a staff artist with the New York City newspaper the Daily News. In 1946, he moved to the New York Herald-Tribune, where his work included the three-year comic strip Flower Potts, about a "cauliflower-eared" boxer turned cab driver. Gill had already began freelancing for comic books by this time, illustrating a Blue Bolt Comics story as early as issue #55 (Vol. 5, #7; April 1945).
From 1950 to 1970, Gill drew more 135 consecutive issues of The Lone Ranger, one of the longest runs of any artist on a comic-book series. The series, produced by Western Publishing and published by its business partner Dell Comics, began with 37 issues (starting Feb. 1948) that reprinted the Fran Striker-Charles Flanders comic strip. Gill and writer Paul S. Newman took the reins from #38-145 (April 1948 - July 1962), the final issue, after which Western established its own comic-book imprint Gold Key Comics. Gill resumed drawing The Lone Ranger with the first Gold Key issue (Sept. 1964), continuing through #12 in 1970, after which the 28-issue series went into reprints. Among Gill's assistants were Joe Sinnott, Herb Trimpe and John Verpoorten.
Other comic-book work includes the lengthily titled spin-off The Lone Ranger's Famous Horse Hi-Yo Silver ; the TV-Western tie-in Bonanza, and the equine-series tie-in Fury ; the six-issue Native American-hero Western Red Warrior (Jan.-Dec. 1951) for Atlas Comics, the 1950s precursor of Marvel Comics; and, with writer Jerry Siegel, the sole two issues (April 1967 & April 1968) of Gold Key's self-consciously camp revival of creator Frank Thomas' 1940 character The Owl.
Working from his studio on Long Island and never venturing West, Gill gained his facility for drawing horses, he said, from "a $1 book called How to Draw Horses: It's Fun and It's Easy." In that same interview, he explained his philosophy of drawing the Lone Ranger's famed white steed: "You had to make Silver a glamour horse. His head was always high, his mane was always flying."
Gill also drew a 1948 comic strip, Ricky Stevens, and comic books for Harvey Comics and Toby Press. For Western Publishing, he additionally illustrated children's books and such projects as The Man from U.N.C.L.E. TV tie-in books and activity books.
For roughly 50 years, Gill taught cartooning and children's-book illustration in New York-area colleges and institutions, including the School of Visual Arts, where he served as a department chair in 1948, alumni director in 1969, and consultant well into the 21st century. He served several terms as vice-president of the National Cartoonists Society, winning its Silver T-Square award in 1964 and its Best Story Comic Book Artist award in 1970.
Date of Birth:
3 June 1913
Brooklyn, New York
Date of death:
October 17 2005 Favorite Creators:
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