Comic artist Frank McLaughlin has passed away.
Francis X. (Frank) McLaughlin
March 18, 1935 – March 4, 2020
Frank was an accomplished artist and enjoyed a career as a comic book artist.
Frank was a much in demand comic book artist from the late 1950s to the late 1990s.
That was timed to Frank becoming artist on the Gil Thorp comic strip.
above and below: Frank’s first and last Gil Thorp comic strips. h/t Buddy Lortie
By 1962, McLaughlin had become Charlton’s art director, working on titles including Captain Atom and Blue Beetle and revitalizing the latter superhero for Silver Age audiences in 1964 after Charlton acquired the license from Fox Feature Syndicate. With writer Joe Gill, McLaughlin created the martial arts superhero Judomaster for 1965’s Special War Series #4, with McLaughlin drawing from his own ongoing practice of the Japanese martial arts style and eventually becoming the series’ writer himself.
For those of us of a certain age, despite his decades of work after it,
Frank will always be associated with Judomaster.
But as the Sixties turned to the Seventies Frank began working for DC Comics,
and then Marvel Comics; he became an inker for those companies.
He started freelancing in the 1970s, and worked regularly as an inker for Marvel Comics (‘Captain Marvel’, ‘Captain America’, ‘The Defenders’, ‘The Flash’, ‘Wonder Woman’) and DC Comics (‘Justice League of America’, ‘Detective Comics’, ‘Green Lantern’, ‘Green Arrow’ etc.). In the 1990s, he also did inking work for smaller companies like Acclaim Comics and Broadway Comics.
In the mid-1970s we found out that Frank was ahead of his time, when Kung Fu mania invaded all of pop culture including comic books. Of course Frank was there to show them how.
As mentioned Frank took over art duties on the Gil Thorp comic strip from 2001 to 2008.
Frank had assisted on other comic strips before Gil. He is said to have helped on the Nancy comic strip at some point (
maybe pitching in when comic book artist Al Plastino was doing it? see Terry’s comment below). He also, on occasion, inked Brenda Starr, Reporter when Ramona Fradon was falling behind; and is known to have assisted Stan Drake on The Heart of Juliet Jones.
When he inked the Superman comic strip he got his name on the strip so we know when he did that.
After Gil Thorp Frank semi-retired – doing a few comics, and recreations for fans.
He also began teaching the craft.
Rest in Peace.