Interview With Dick Ayers
(December 1999)

Dick Ayers has inked many titles including Avengers and Captain America, and here he talks about his work on Daredevil and his career in the industry in this quick Q+A session. Many thanks to Mr. Ayers.

Kuljit Mithra: From your web site, I read that you got your start in comics in 1948, and you worked on a Siegel/Shuster comic book as well. What initially got you interested in comics and how did it eventually get you into the industry?

Dick Ayers: The newspaper comic strips got me interested in comic strip storytelling. That was in the 1930's when I was a small boy. Comic books were only "reprints" then. It wasn't until after serving in the Army in WW2 and going to art school in NYC that I focused on illustrating comic books.

Mithra: When and why did you make the move to Marvel? How was Marvel different than your previous employers?

Ayers: In 1951, I was a free-lancer at Magazine Enterprises when assignments slackened and I looked for work elsewhere. Marvel paid more and was more steady with assignments. I still did work for M.E. doing Ghost Rider and Bobby Benson stories until 1956.

Mithra: Who or what has influenced you the most with your inking style?

Ayers: The editor at M.E. and Stan Lee at Timely for telling me what they wanted me to do.

Mithra: I'm more familiar with your work on Avengers and other titles, but you have done a few issues of Daredevil (21, 22, 28). How did Marvel view DD when compared to the more popular titles in the 60's, like Spider-Man and Avengers? Was there a big audience for DD back then?

Ayers: I wouldn't know. I worked at home and wasn't privy to office gossip.

Mithra: What was your opinion on Daredevil?

Ayers: I liked the lawyer / superhero combo and his being blind added interest.

Mithra: On DD you worked with many talented creators. Can you describe briefly what it was like to work with each of the following people?
Stan Lee
Frank Giacoia
Bill Everett
Gene Colan

Ayers: Lee - Wonderful, Giacoia - Great, Everett - Good, Colan - Enjoyed.

Mithra: Were there any creators that you never had the chance to work with?

Ayers: Some I'd like to've inked. Gil Kane's one. I'd enjoy pencilling - and inking - a Harlan Ellison script.

Mithra: In your 50+ years in the industry, which period do you remember best as the 'great' period in comics and why?

Ayers: The '50's because I did all my lettering, pencilling and inking.

Mithra: Art, inking, comic production have all evolved and changed in 50 years. Have you updated or changed your inking, pencil style, or the tools you use with the many different projects you've done?

Ayers: Not much - other than using a #3 brush instead of a #6.

Mithra: The villains in your issues of DD were the Owl, Tri-Man, Masked Marauder and the Gladiator. Was there any perception back then that DD had a very limited rogues gallery?

Ayers: Not by me.

Mithra: What's your view on creator rights, considering you did work with Siegel & Shuster, who had a long battle with DC over Superman?

Ayers: I refrain from creating.

Mithra: Do you still follow any comics? Which ones?

Ayers: Mostly AC Comics' reprint books in which my Ghost Rider M.E. stories are reprinted as The Haunted Horseman.

Mithra: And finally, what projects are you currently working on, and what else can we see from you in the future?

Ayers: For Twilight Odysseys, I have pencilled issues #2 and #3 of their book, "Blue Midknight and The Moonlight Lady", and am waiting to start #4 and also a 12 page western for Galaxy and am to do another. Also I do commissioned re-created covers.
Thanks for the interview. .....Dick Ayers

(c) Kuljit Mithra 1999
Daredevil:The Man Without Fear

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