Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Comic Book Artist Don Perlin Passes On

Don Perlin, the comic book artist who co-created Moon Knight, died on May 14 2024 at the age of 94.

Don Perlin was born on August 27 1929 in New York City. He grew up in Brooklyn. He was 14 years old when he began studying art under Burne Hogarth, best known for his work on the Tarzan newspaper comic strip. Among his fellow students was Al Williamson, who later became known for his work on EC Comics. Eventually Don Perlin could no longer afford to attend classes, but he would later study at  the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, co-founded by Burne Hogarth.

It was in the late 1940s that Don Perlin did his first professional work at Fox Features. In the late Forties he also worked on the comic book Love at First Sight and The Beyond for Ace Magazines. In the early Fifties he worked on Captain Science for Youthful Magazines. He also worked for Ziff-Davis, Hillman Periodicals, and Stanley Morse, and later Harvey Comics, St. John Publications, Comic Media, and what would become Marvel Comics. In 1953 he was drafted into the United States Army.

After his stint in the military, Don Perlin worked Charlton Comics' war titles, as well as occasional work for what would become Marvel Comics. He also illustrated an adaptation of Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror for Classics Illustrated. It was in 1961 that he began many years of working almost exclusively for Charlton Comics. At Charlton his work covered nearly every genre, from the publisher's romance titles to their horror to their war titles to their Western titles. His only other work during this period was Hogan's Heroes for Dell and comic book biographies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall for Fitzgerald Publications.

From 1974 to 1987 he worked with Marvel Comics as a penciller. He worked for a long time on Werewolf by Night, where he co-created the character of Moon Knight with writer Doug Moench. At Marvel he also worked on the titles Captain America, The Defenders, Ghost Rider, Man-Thing, and Transformers.

It was in 1991 that he became part of Valiant Comics. There he worked on the company's revival of Solar, Man of the Atom, as well as Bad Eggs and Timewalker. He co-created Bloodshot with Kevin VanHook and Don Layton, and drew several issues of the character's original run.

Don Perlin is not often counted among the greatest comic book artists, but his work truly demands more attention. While it might have lacked the sense of action in more highly regarded artists, he more than made up for it with his composition and detail. His work always had texture to it, and he was consummate storyteller. Unlike some flashier artists, his artwork always moved the story forward. Don Perlin was among the artists who shaped Marvel's house style in the Seventies. This was with good reason, as he was simply a great draughtsman.

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