Writer Arnold Drake, a mainstay at DC Comics during the 60s and 70s and best known as the creator of THE DOOM PATROL and DEADMAN, died Monday at the age of 83 of complications stemming from a recent bout with pneumonia.
“Arnold was one of the craftsmen who built the DC universe,” said Paul Levitz, President and Publisher of DC Comics. “He loved telling tales, making readers laugh or jump in their seats, and making the world a more interesting place. He went out as he lived-talking with me two weeks ago at the NY Comic Con about new tweaks to the Deadman legend, for a film version being developed, and enjoying every twist he added.”
Born on March 1, 1924, Drake began his writing career as a journalism student at the University of Missouri and later at New York University. It was a meeting with BATMAN creator Bob Kane that opened the door for Drake to enter the comic book field. Kane worked with Drake on a number of his first stories, later introducing him to the editorial staff at DC Comics. Drake’s early writing credits for DC included HOUSE OF MYSTERY, MY GREATEST ADVENTURE, STRANGE ADVENTURES and BATMAN.
Drake’s uncanny knack for revitalizing staid properties, in addition to his ability to introduce exciting and energetic new characters to the DC mythos cemented his place among the most prolific and well-respected writers of his era. Working with fellow writer Bob Haney and artist Bruno Premiani, Drake gave birth to the Doom Patrol, a team of outlaw and freakish heroes that first appeared in the pages of the DC anthology series MY GREATEST ADVENTURE. Similarly, in tandem with legendary artist Carmine Infantino, Drake introduced the deceased superhero DEADMAN as a feature in STRANGE ADVENTURES.
In addition to his voluminous work for DC, Drake also worked for Marvel Comics – introducing Havok and Lorna Dane/Polaris during a short, but essential stint on X-Men – and Gold Key, most notably writing the Star Trek and Twilight Zone comics for the latter. Drake also penned It Rhymes with Lust, considered by many to be a precursor to the graphic novel, in 1950.
In recent years, Drake had reconnected with his fans, becoming a regular presence at comic conventions, continuing to be a strong advocate for aging Golden and Silver Age creators. Drake was the first recipient of the Bill Finger Award in 2005, which honors creators not given proper recognition for their creative work in the field of comics.