Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Memoriam - Jay Scott Pike (1924-2015)

Yesterday morning I learned that we lost comic book great, Jay Scott Pike. He passed away on September 13th, though news of his death seems to have just reached industry folks this week. He left this world at the admirable age of 91, and his impact on the comic book industry will not be forgotten.

The artist at work.
Photo via Plymouth Harbor


Born in 1924 in Philadelphia, Pike started his training at the early age of 16 at the Art Students League in New York City. As so many comic book artists did, Pike took a break from his formal artistic endeavors when he joined the Marines. Following his military service, he continued his education at the Parsons School of Design, Syracuse University, and the Ringling School of Art.

During the 1950s, Pike was a frequent artist for Atlas, contributing to genres such as horror, westerns, jungle, and our favorite here at Sequential Crush -- romance.

Lovers #59 (March 1954)
Cover image from GCD

From the mid-1960s through the early ‘70s, Pike lent his extraordinary talent to DC Comics, where he contributed covers, interior art, and fashion featurettes to the romance comics such as "Mad Mad Modes for Moderns." When I had the opportunity to ask Pike a few questions about his romance work a few years ago he candidly remarked in regard to the fashion spreads, "Now there I must admit I did use reference from fashion mags." Reference or not, Pike clearly excelled in translating fashion from real life to the pages of the comics. 

Pike's romance work oozed
sophistication and glamour.

"Dolphin"- not quite romance, but close!
Showcase #79 (December 1968)
Cover image from GCD

Pike later went on to a successful career in advertising with accounts such as Pepsi, Trans World Airlines, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills. Pike is also well known for his continuation of Art Frahm's pin-up girl calendar series. For romance fans, he will always be remembered as one of the mainstays of the genre.

Pike also illustrated one of the most iconic
romance covers ever created. I'll be
posting more in-depth on this one soon.

Thank you Jay Scott Pike for the immense (not to mention gorgeous) body of work you left behind. I have a feeling that generations to come will get as much of a thrill from your work as we have.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Jacque,

    Pike had an impressive body of work that will be appreciated for years to come. He is not given the attention he deserves because he was not associated with superheroes, but I'm sure you and a few others will rectify the situation.

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    1. I hope to do my part, Nick! He certainly is not given the attention deserved in part because of the reason you mentioned. I think his illustrations are quite classic though, and will stand the test of time!

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  2. Dear Jacque: Hi!

    I'm sorry to hear about Pike's death. I've really come to admire his work on DC romances from the mid-1960s to early 1970s. When Pike inked his own pencils, he had a dark, rough-edged line that looks more like magazine illustration than comics work, which makes his art very distinctive. Plus, as you note, he excelled at drawing glamorous women!

    Thanks for the great post, Jacque!

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    1. I can definitely see the magazine illustration quality that you speak of, David!

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  3. Pity Jay Scott Pike didn't get more accolades, especially being the creator of that VERY iconic cover! What a loss.

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    1. It is a pity! But as romance fans we can help promote his legacy!

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  4. That Showcase # 79 is one of my favorite covers of all time.Just beautiful.

    RIP

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    1. I couldn't agree with you more! It is also one of my all-time favorites.

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