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Al Williamson (1931-2010)

Comic Book Art

Alfonso “Al” Williamson (American/Colombian 1931-2010): was an accomplished comic book artist, cartoonist, and illustrator who specialized in science-fiction, adventure, and western. Williamson worked on classic titles including, Flash Gordon, Star Wars, Weird Science, Kid Colt Outlaw, Spider-Man, Daredevil, and many others.

Born in Manhattan, New York, Al Williamson was one of two children. Although he was born in New York City, his family relocated to Bogotá, Colombia, when he was just 2 years old. Learning both Spanish and English simultaneously, comic books aided his bilingual upbringing. Williamson spent a good amount of his childhood in Bogotá, but at the age of 12 he moved back to the states. His first professional work was at the age of 17 in the western and adventure genre on titles like Famous Funnies, John Wayne, and Outlaw Kid, but some say it may have been earlier when he helped Burne Hogarth on some Tarzan Sunday pages in 1948.

Regardless of what Williamson’s first work may have been, he worked for an aggregation of different publishers such as AGC, Avon, Fawcett, and Standard Comics, in the science-fiction and western genres. In 1952, Williamson began working for EC Comics, which had a stellar reputation for having talented artists. Here at Entertaining Comics he contributed to Weird Fantasy, Weird Science, and Weird Science-Fantasy and was included in the ostensible “Fleagle Gang”, which was comprised of Frank Frazetta, Angelo Torres, Nick Meglin, George Woodbridge, and Roy Krenkel. He worked at EC through 1956, but most of the company’s titles had been cancelled, so he moved on to other work. Aside from EC, Williamson produced roughly 400 pages for Atlas, and teamed up with Crandall, Krenkel, and Torres at Harvey Comics.

Later on, in the 1960s, Al Williamson helped out on the Rip Kirby as well as a Flash Gordon comic books. On top of this, he took over the Secret Agent X-9 daily, which was later changed to Secret Agent Corrigan. In the late ‘70s, he was responsible for the comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back and in the ‘80s he did the Blade Runner adaptation. In the 1990s, he worked on Flash Gordon again, and did another Star Wars adaptation for The Phantom Menace.

Williamson’s versatile career spanned over five decades, and his 2000 induction into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame epitomizes his skills as an artist. Al Williamson passed away in New York in 2010.

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