Robert Kanigher : biography
Robert Kanigher (June 18, 1915 – May 7, 2002)Social Security Death Index, social security #116-07-5117. was a prolific comic book writer and editor whose career spanned five decades. He was involved with the Wonder Woman franchise for over twenty years, taking over the scripting from creator William Moulton Marston. In addition, Kanigher spent many years in charge of DC Comics' war titles, as well as creating the popular character Sgt. Rock. Kanigher scripted what is considered the first Silver Age comic book story, "Mystery of the Human Thunderbolt!" which introduced the Barry Allen version of the Flash in Showcase #4 (Oct. 1956).
Kanigher's literary influences included Dostoyevsky, Maxim Gorky, Seán O'Casey, Eugene O'Neill, François Villon, Freud, the Old Testament, James Joyce, Sophocles, and Shakespeare.
Kanigher's career as a writer started early, with his short stories and poetry being published in magazines. He won The New York Times Collegiate Short Story Contest in 1932. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Kanigher also wrote for radio, film, and authored several plays.
The Golden Age
Kanigher's earliest comics work was in such titles as Fox Feature Syndicate's Blue Beetle (where he created the Bouncer), MLJ/Archie Comics's Steel Sterling and The Web, and Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel Adventures. In 1943 Kanigher wrote How to Make Money Writing, which included a section on comics, making it one of the earliest works on the subject.
Kanigher joined All-American Comics, a precursor of the future DC Comics, as a scripter in 1945, and was quickly promoted to editor. He wrote the "Justice Society of America" feature in All Star Comics, the "Hawkman" feature in Flash Comics, and Green Lantern. Kanigher edited Wonder Woman from issue #17 (May–June 1946) to issue #176 (May–June 1968). at the Grand Comics Database When Wonder Woman creator William Moulton Marston died in 1947, Kanigher became the title's writer as well, beginning with issue #22 (March–April 1947). Kanigher wrote "The Black Canary", a six page Johnny Thunder story which introduced the Black Canary character in Flash Comics #86 (August 1947). This was also artist Carmine Infantino's first published work for DC. Other new characters created by Kanigher during this time included Rose and Thorn and the Harlequin.
Starting in 1952, Kanigher began editing and writing the "big five" DC Comics' war titles: G.I. Combat, Our Army at War, Our Fighting Forces, All-American Men of War, and Star Spangled War Stories. His creation of Sgt. Rock with Joe Kubert is considered one of his most memorable contributions to the medium. Comics historian Bill Schelly noted that "Kanigher's scripts were built on well-orchestrated dramatic sequences, with the story's objects not war-time danger and violence, but the impact these events had on the men of Easy Company."Schelly p. 153
The Silver Age
In 1956, DC editor Julius Schwartz assigned Kanigher and Infantino to the company's first attempt at reviving superheroes: an updated version of the Flash that would appear in issue #4 (Oct. 1956) of the try-out series Showcase. The eventual success of the new, science-fiction oriented Flash heralded the wholesale return of superheroes, and the beginning of what fans and historians call the Silver Age of comics.Irvine, Alex "1950s" in Dolan, p. 80 "The arrival of the second incarnation of the Flash in [Showcase] issue #4 is considered to be the official start of the Silver Age of comics."
Artist Ross Andru began a nine-year run on Wonder Woman, starting with issue #98 (May 1958), where he and Kanigher reinvented the character, introducing the Silver Age version and her supporting cast.Irvine "1950s" in Dolan, p. 90 "Wonder Woman's origin story and character was given a Silver Age revamp, courtesy of writer Robert Kanigher and artist Ross Andru." at the Grand Comics Database
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