Hawkman #4, the first appearance of Zatanna. Art by Murphy Anderson

Murphy Anderson, a veteran comic-book artist best known for his long association with DC Comics, has died at the age of 89. Credited with helping to define the company’s distinctive look during the Silver Age of comics, Anderson’s tenure with DC included long runs on Action Comics, Hawkman, and Detective Comics, along with periodic contributions to most of the publisher’s other titles during the 1960s and ’70s.

Working mostly as an inker—the artist who finalizes the look of a drawing after it’s been penciled by another artist—Anderson is probably best known for his association with Superman, who he drew for many years with his frequent collaborator, Curt Swan. (The pairing earned the duo the fan nickname “Swanderson.”) Anderson also contributed his share of characters to the company’s legendary stable, most notably the fishnet-clad stage magician Zatanna, who the artist co-created in 1964 with writer Gardner Fox.


Anderson’s non-DC work included contributions to the U.S. Army’s PS, an illustrated magazine edited by Will Eisner, which used comic book-style drawings to teach equipment maintenance techniques to troops. Earning numerous awards for his work over the years, Anderson was inducted into the comics Hall Of Fame named for Eisner in 1999. (His entrance into the Jack Kirby Hall Of Fame had come the year before.)

DC Comics issued a statement expressing their condolences to Anderson’s family, calling him “a giant” in the comics industry, with co-publisher Dan Didio referring to Anderson as “one of the true greats of DC Comics.”