George Klein

George Klein entered the comic book industry in 1941 as a staff artist for Timely. Early on, in addition to piecemeal inking and backgrounds on later Simon & Kirby Captain America stories, he penciled and inked features like “The Defender” in U.S.A. Comics #2 and #3 and “Black Marvel” in Mystic Comics #8. By the middle of 1942 he was primarily a staff inker across a score of features, over a who’s who of Timely pencilers, including Syd Shores, Mike Sekowsky, Ed Winiarsky, Vince Fago, Al Avison, and Al Gabriele. Equally at home on hero or funny animal/humor material, Klein ended the decade on the earliest issues of Venus and a litany of romance stories, where his fine line and delicate rendering was in high demand during the Atlas romance glut of 1949-50. During this time he frequently inked Pete Tumlinson and occasionally worked with his friend and colleague Christopher Rule.

When the Timely staff was let go in 1950, Klein continued to freelance up to about 1953 in all genres, penciling and inking “Blast Revere” in Space Squadron as well as drawing many solo romance stories (all with distinctive inking and background traits). Klein also dabbled at ACG before settling into a long and storied tenure at National as Curt Swan’s main inker on features like “Legion of Super-Heroes,” Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Superboy and Superman. Moonlighting once again for Stan Lee towards the end of the decade, Klein inked Jack Kirby on at least one Black Rider inventory story and a modicum of pre-hero fantasy tales, before having the privilege of inking the first two issues of the Fantastic Four in 1961, a credit long unknown but now accepted as a certainty, based upon a long survey and study of all of Klein’s inking quirks.

Klein once again worked for Marvel in 1968, inking ex-Timely staffers John Buscema on The Avengers and Gene Colan on Daredevil, as well as Jack Kirby once again on Thor, before passing away in 1969 at the age of 49. [source: Dr. Michael J. Vassallo]

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