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ISSUE NO. 868
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John Severin was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, and he grew up in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, while attending Manhattan's High School of Music and Art with a handful of classmates who were also destined for comic immorality, such as Harvey Kurtzman, Will Elder, Al Jaffee and Al Feldstein.

After graduating high school in 1940, Severin enlisted in the Army when WWII borke out, After the war, he broke into the comic book industry, along with his sister, Marie Severin. In the late 1940s, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (who, at this time, were working for Crestwood Publications) gave Severin his first job in comics, illustrating "The Clue of the Horoscope" in Headline Comics #32 (Nov. 1948), a story written by Severin's friend and writing partner, Will Elder.

Severin went on, as we all know, to do tons of work for every major publisher, including countless and western and war stories, as well as making numerous contributions to humor magazines like Cracked and Mad.

Like John Buscema, the artist did mostly genre work because he disliked superheroes, considering them "ridiculous." According to Severin, his chief influences as an artist were Charlie Russell, Hal Foster, and Howard Pyle.

BELOW: Severin self-portrait.
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Personally, I love nearly everything Severin ever did, but my favorite Severin work was his masterful inking of Herb Trimpe on the Hulk. We're here to talk about his westerns, but since I am Robby Reed, sole creator of this blog and author of this article, I can do whatever I want. So, before we go west (young man), we're going to take a look at a few examples of Severin's Hulk work.

The artist didn't like superheroes, and rarely did them. He sometimes did superhero-ish titles such as Kull, but the only "real" superhero he worked on for any length of time was The Incredible Hulk.

Why was Hulk different? Severin once called old Greenskin "a different kind of superhero," and added, "he wasn’t as ridiculous as most superheroes. He didn’t do any wacky things."

Like Russ Heath, John Severin was a WWII vet, and both men were famous for their stunningly authentic depictions of the machinery of warfare -- everything from guns to tanks to jeeps.

Mark Evanier once said, "Jack Kirby used to say that when he had to research some historical costume or weapon for a story, it was just as good to use a John Severin drawing as it was to find a photo of the real thing."

OK pardner -- it's high noon, time for us to take a look at the incredible work of Mr. John Severin.
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