Burne Hogarth was born December 25, 1911 in Chicago, Illinois. From an early age, he was interested in art and drawing, and started at the Art Institute of Chicago at age 12. From there, he went on to study art and anthropology at Crane College, and finally at Chicago Academy of Fine Arts.

At age 15, he started as an assistant cartoonist at Associated Editors Syndicate. He started his first strip in 1927, "Famous Churches of the World". In 1930, after moving to New York City, he went on to do "Ivy Hemmanhaw" for Bonnet Brown Syndicate. It was shortlived, like the later "Strange Accidents" and "Odd Occupations".

He met the artist Lyman Young (brother of Chic Young of Blondie fame), and became his assistant on "Tim Tylers Luck", as Lyman's previous assistant Alex Raymond had left to start Flash Gordon. He worked with Lyman only a short time, as he had to be relocated to Connecticut. Soon after, he moved back to New York.

Hogarth was then asked to do pirate author Charles Driscott's "Pieces of Eight" for McNaught Syndicate. This was another unsuccessful comic, but during this time, Hogarth met Hal Foster, who did the Tarzan sunday pages. Foster was leaving Tarzan to do Prince Valiant, and Hogarth tried out for the position. Hogarth was an admirer of Foster's art, and his sample page was very similar to the work of the other artist. Thus he got the job and the page was published on May 9, 1937.

Although Hogarth attempted to give the strip his own character, the syndicate resisted, following the old devise "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". For a long time, he was forced to maintain the Foster-esque style of the strip, and it wasn't until 1938 that he was allowed to modify the strip. Hogarth left the strip in 1945 after a dispute with the syndicate over his pay and royalties, which he felt were too small.

After leaving Tarzan, Hogarth started the comic Drago about a vigilante in Argentina, but although it gained a cult following, it folded in 1947. United Features Syndicate finally got Hogarth back, though he made sure to be able to get full control over the Tarzan comic, including writing his own storylines. The same year, he founded School of Visual Arts with Silas Rhodes. Among the students were Al Williamson, George Woodbridge, and Wally Wood.

Hogarth's Michelangelo-influenced style quickly became the standard for Tarzan. He left the strip, though, in 1950 after another royalty-dispute, to concentrate on education.

He started writing critically acclaimed books on illustration, notably Dynamic Anatomy and Dynamic Figure Drawing. He also won several awards for his accomplishments, and was a popular guest at many comic book conventions.

On January 28, 1996, he attended the Angoulerne Exhibition in Paris, France. Upon returning to his hotel, he collapsed from a stroke, and a great artist died.


I just bought his whole catalogue of books on illustration, and I must say, they are truly excellent. His theories on foreshortening and building up the figure from primitives are very straight-forward, and the lavishly illustrated pages are very enjoyable.

See also other Comics creators. Audited April 30, 2002

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