In Memory of Wayne Boring

Written: 1 August, 1987

Boring Boring Boring. If you think I mean "Boring" in the sense of "uninteresting," you're incorrect; I mean "Boring" in the sense of "Wayne Boring," and his art was anything but. Just in case you don't know who Wayne was, I'll tell you. He was the second Superman artist (the first was co-creator Joe Shuster) and the artist most associated with Superman from 1945 to 1958. While Wayne was never a "great artist," he was in many ways "A Great Artist." At least for comics. He was never as exciting as Jack Kirby, or as influential as Will Eisner, but he's an important figure in the History of the Comic Book, nonetheless. Wayne stopped drawing comics in the Sixties to set up his own business in the real world (or at least Florida), although Roy Thomas coaxed him back to draw an issue of Thor featuring Hyperion (Marvel's Superman), a member of the Squadron Supreme (Marvel's Justice League). In the Eighties, Wayne returned to Superman for a few short adventure tales when occasion allowed. But then, John Byrne took over Superman and "short adventure tales" were booted out, unfortunately.

Wayne Boring died a few months ago and I never would have known this had I not scanned the letters page to the recent issue of Adventures of Superman. The editor's reply (in italics) (as usual) to a letter casually mentioned that Wayne Boring had died. And that was it. On to the next letter.

I feel this is an injustice. Wayne Boring worked for DC Comics (and on Superman, their most popular character) from 1940 to 1984, missing only the last half of the 1960's and all of the 1970's -- although his work was heavily reprinted thruout both decades. Note: Wayne was not paid a cent for any of his artwork that was reprinted. If they had, he may have been as wealthy as Stan Lee or Jack Kirby. If I worked for a company that long, I would perhaps desire a little more recognition than a footnote in a letterspage. Note: For most of his work thruout the 1940's and 50's, Wayne's signature was never allowed to grace any of his Superman art.

I would want something more out of my life's work than a few rotting comics in Grandma's attic.

The point is this: It's too late now, Wayne's dead. DC should have put together some kind of tribute for this loyal DC artist before he died. It should have been something lasting. Something to be proud of.

Perhaps DC could have began a hardcover series, a prestigious collection, of each of the "Great Comic Book Artists" before they die. The Jack Kirbys, the Will Eisners, the Joe Shusters, the Steve Ditkos, the Gil Kanes, the Curt Swans.

If we are to learn anything from Wayne's death, it is that even great artists die. We must give these great artists, and great artists yet unborn, incentive to go on -- to encourage them in their hopeless task: to entertain and enlighten us all.