April 11, 1916
Bronx, New York, U.S.
|Died||October 15, 2004 (aged 88)|
Dobbs Ferry, New York
|All-American Men of War|
Our Army at War
Our Fighting Forces
|Awards||Inkpot Award 1995|
Irving Novick (//; April 11, 1916 – October 15, 2004) was an American comics artist who worked almost continuously from 1939 until the 1990s.
A graduate of the National Academy of Design, Irv Novick got his start in the workshop of Harry "A" Chesler. From about 1939 to 1946, Novick was working for MLJ Comics, the company that would later be known as Archie Comics. He became the primary artist for their superhero comics, including the characters the Shield (the first patriotic superhero), Bob Phantom, the Hangman, and Steel Sterling, until MLJ cut back on these titles to focus more on their Archie comics.
He joined the United States Army on April 17, 1943.
From 1946 to 1951, Novick worked in advertising and for the largely unsuccessful comic strips Cynthia and The Scarlet Avenger. His long association with DC Comics began when he was hired by editor Robert Kanigher, who had previously written Novick-illustrated comics for MLJ. Novick and Kanigher would be friends and colleagues for many years. Initially, Novick was primarily an artist on war comics such as Our Army at War and occasionally romance comics. Kanigher and Novick introduced the Silent Knight character in The Brave and the Bold #1 (Aug. 1955).
Novick left DC for the Johnstone and Cushing advertising agency in the 1960s, but was unhappy in advertising and was lured back to DC by Kanigher with a freelance contract, a guarantee of steady work and certain perks which was at the time unprecedented. After editorial and management changes in 1968, Novick began drawing superhero titles such as Batman, Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane, and The Flash. Novick and writer Frank Robbins crafted the story which revealed the last name of Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth in Batman #216 (Nov. 1969). The Robbins and Novick team was instrumental in returning Batman to the character's gothic roots, such as in the story "One Bullet Too Many". Robbins and Novick created the Ten-Eyed Man in Batman #226 (Nov. 1970) and the Spook in Detective Comics #434 (April 1973). He and Dennis O'Neil launched The Joker series in May 1975. Novick drew the introductions of Duela Dent in Batman Family #6 (July–Aug. 1976) and the Electrocutioner in Batman #331 (Jan. 1981). Novick continued to work, still under contract, until failing eyesight prompted his retirement in the 1990s.
A panel Novick drew in All-American Men of War #89 (Jan.–Feb. 1962) of a U.S. Air Force plane shooting down an enemy plane with the onomatopoeia "WHAAM!" was later appropriated for Roy Lichtenstein's painting of that name.
Irv Novick received an Inkpot Award in 1995.
It was Bob Kanigher who led the company into the new genre [of war comics]...Kanigher originally worked on these books with many artists, including Jerry Grandenetti, Gene Colan, Russ Heath, and Irv Novick.
The first issue introduced a number of new characters, most notably the Silent Knight...by writer Robert Kanigher and artist Irv Novick.
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Writer Frank Robbins and artist Irv Novick revealed Alftred's last name as Pennyworth.
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Of particular interest to Lichtenstein was artist Irv Novick, who had been Lichtenstein's superior officer in an army unit assigned in 1947 to create posters, signs and other artistic ephemera of military life. Fifteen years later, Novick was a journeyman comic book artist on DC titles like All-American Men of War, and the panels he drew were providing fodder for Lichtenstein paintings that would eventually sell for millions of dollars apiece.
He modeled Whaam! on a panel from "Star Jockey"..., making several alterations that might at first seem insignificant but are in fact rather substantial. In the comic-strip panel (fig. 92), the central element is the airplane on the left, which has just scored a major victory over the enemy aircraft. Although it conveys the impact of the explosion, it shows the enemy plane smaller, at a distance, dominated by the huge letters of the exclamation "WHAAM!" whereas in Lichtenstein's version, the conquering plane and the exploding plane are given equal prominence. The painting balances the good guys against the bad guys, and is a far more compelling image as a result.