Our great motivation is to take a slice of life that the reader can identify with
and then show precisely how God wants to be involved in that life experience.
Al Hartley was born in 1931 to Hazel and Fred Hartley, a Republican Congressman from New Jersey (and co-author of the somewhat infamous Taft-Hartley Act). He got a job in the early 1950's, drawing and inking for Marvel Comics. Some of his work can be seen on the Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, and The Avengers series. He is most notable as the head artist for the Patsy Walker comic which ran from 1958 to 1963.
Around 1966, Hartley was offered a job writing and illustrating comics for Archie, Jughead, and the rest of the Riverdale High gang. But Hartley also had a special vision. As a very dedicated Christian, he thought he could use Archie's gang to speak the word of God to adolescents across America.
In 1972, he went to work for Fleming Revell's Spire Comics (also the mass-producer of Jack Chick tracts.) They licensed out the use of Archie Comics' characters and all in all produced 19 issues revolving around various parables and modern-day Christian morality plays. Hartley also served as chief writer and illustrator for Spire, producing children's comics under the Barney Bear series and modernized versions of classic Bible Stories such as Cain and Abel and Jonah and the whale. Spire also did some highly collectible, if somewhat suspect, autobiographies of Tom Landry, Johnny Cash, and Watergate fall guy Chuck Colson. In the end, Hartley had a hand in 59 separate titles under Spire Comics, and also produced his own comic autobipgraphy, in an issue called "Come Meet My Friend."
In the early 1990s Al Hartley suffered a stroke and became strictly a behind-the-scenes figure at Spire Comics. Al Hartley passed away May 28, 2003 due to heart failure, at the age of 81.