September 1, 2011

Profile: Al Hartley (1921-2003)

Henry Allan Hartley (October 25, 1921, Kearny, New Jersey, United States – May 27, 2003, Fort Myers, Florida), known professionally as Al Hartley, was an American comic book writer-artist known for his work on Archie Comics, Atlas Comics (the 1950s precursor of Marvel Comics), and many Christian comics. He received an Inkpot Award at the 1980 San Diego Comic-Con.

Hartley was the son of Congressman Frederick Allan Hartley, Jr. (Republican from New Jersey), co-author of the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947.

In 1967, feeling "sterile, numb, and filled with fear", Hartley became a born again Christian, as did his wife, Hermine, and, years later, their children, Alana and Fred. At the time, he was among several artists who drew the black-and-white, "nudie cutie" secret-agent feature, "The Adventures of Pussycat", that ran in some of Marvel publisher Martin Goodman's men's magazines; Hartley told the publisher he couldn't continue.

He began writing and drawing for Archie Comics, infusing some of the stories with his Christian beliefs. At one point he was directed to cut back. "I knew God was in control, so I respected my publisher's position and naturally complied". He later received a call from publisher Fleming H. Revell, for whom he then freelanced a comic-book adaptation of David Wilkerson The Cross and the Switchblade in 1972, quickly followed by adaptations of God's Smuggler by the pseudonymous Brother Andrew and The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Inspired, Hartley helped launch the Spire Christian Comics line, and pitched Archie president John L. Goldwater to let him license the Archie guys 'n' gals. The Jewish Goldwater, himself religious, agreed, and Spire went on to release 59 comics — at least 19 of them Archie titles — as well as six Bible stories, 12 biography adaptations, four other book or movie adaptations (including Hansi: The Girl Who Loved the Swastika), and nine children's comics.

Read More:


No comments:

Post a Comment