At age 16 he sold his first nationally published work and began pitching comic strips to newspaper syndicates. His comic strip, Marco of Mars, was accepted by the Independent Syndicate of New York in 1929 but never distributed because it was deemed too similar to Buck Rogers, which debuted that year.
Disk-Eyes the Detective and Spacehawks were published in 1938 in Circus comics. In 1940, Spacehawk (a different and improved feature) made its debut in Target Comics, running for 30 episodes until 1942.
Wolverton's humor feature "Powerhouse Pepper", about a superstrong if none-too-bright regular Joe, appeared in various comic books published by Timely Comics, the 1930s and '40s precursor of Marvel Comics,m from 1942 through 1952. Admirers consider that series a high watermark of humorous comics, with its alliterative, rhyming dialogue, screwball comedy, and throwaway gags in background signs. Wolverton drew an estimated total of 1,300 comic book pages.
In 1946 Wolverton won a contest to depict "Lena the Hyena", the world's ugliest woman, a running gag in Al Capp's Li'l Abner newspaper strip where Lena remained unseen beneath an editorial note stating her face had been covered to protect readers. Capp, responding to popular demand, announced a contest for artists to submit their interpretations to be judged by Boris Karloff, Frank Sinatra and Salvador Dali. Out of 500,000 entries, Wolverton's was the winner; it appeared in a Li'l Abner daily and Life magazine. Wolverton's fame briefly lead to Life and Pageant printing his caricatures. The Lena portrait typified the unique "spaghetti and meatballs" style he employed regularly thereafter.
In the 1950s, Wolverton produced what some regard as his best work — 17 comic-book horror and science-fiction stories for Marvel and other comic-book publishers, including one story by author Daniel Keyes. Wolverton also contributed to Mad from the 1950s through the 1970s.
In 1956 Wolverton illustrated Herbert Armstrong's apocalyptic booklet 1975 in Prophecy, and later, The Book of Revelation Unveiled at Last, offered free on Armstrong's radio show The World Tomorrow. In 1958, Wolverton began writing and illustrating The Bible Story, also titled The Story of Man, covering the entire history of the Old Testament, and serialized in the Plain Truth and later published in six volumes.
In 1968 Wolverton did a series of posters for Topps, displaying his trademark twisted headshots, and in 1973 he returned to mainstream comics, illustrating several covers for Joe Orlando's satiric Plop! at DC Comics. His return was cut short by a stroke in 1974. He died in Vancouver, Washington, four years later.
Date of Birth: July 9th, 1909
Birthplace: Central Point, Oregon, USA
Date of death: December 31st, 1978
Basil Wolverton is a favorite creator of 11 users
- 1996 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 1998 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Nominee - Hall of Fame
- 2000 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards - Winner - Hall of Fame: (Voter's choice)
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