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October 18, 2004

Irv Novick, First-Generation Comic Book Artist and Industry Veteran, Passes Away

According to multiple reports from family and industry professionals, DC Comics art mainstay Irv Novick passed away on Friday morning. Novick's career in comics spanned 50 years, from 1939 to 1989, with some brief periods away from comics spent in advertising and comic strips. Novick was responsible for many of the more fondly remembered images from the early MLJ comics line, the company that eventually became Archie. He is perhaps best remembered as a DC Comics interiors artist on the war titles and on superheroes such as Batman and the Flash, on whose series he enjoyed a long run. He also provided art on a freelance basis for Boys Life. Novick had a strong sense of staging and drew an impressively chiseled heroic figure, and his line work had a lush, moody quality that recalled for many fans the heavily commercial illustration style made popular by Neal Adams.

imageThe most compelling memorial available on-line is from Mark Evanier. According to Evanier, Novick scored a big contract with DC upon returning from the advertising business.

"With [Editor Bob] Kanigher's intervention, Novick landed a then-unprecedented freelance contract with DC. It included many perks not available to other artists and guaranteed him the company's highest rate and steady work. When he finished one job, he had to immediately be given another. Kanigher had no trouble keeping him busy, though other artists complained that assignments promised to them would sometimes be suddenly diverted to Irv."

Such agreements where an artist would be guaranteed a flow of assignments, one following the completion of another, became a popular way for mainstream comic book companies to get the most out of dependable craftsmen as the general talent pool for illustration shrank and became more specialized.

Novick had been increasingly sick in recent years, and as recently as a month before his passing the artist's relatives solicited letters from comics fans and well-wishers.

The story on Novick's passing at Newsarma indicates that any donations in his name should to to Alzheimer's Association, 225 N. Michigan Ave., Ste. 1700, Chicago, IL 60601.

Irv Novick was 88 years old.

Interior art by Irv Novick from DC Comics.
posted 7:01 am PST | Permalink

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