Veteran comics artist Jim Mooney died over the weekend. He was born in 1919 and enjoyed a very long career that included most of the history of comics, as Mark Evanier summarizes:

Reared in Los Angeles, Mooney moved to New York in 1940 and was a part of the comic book industry almost from its inception. His first job was probably drawing The Moth, a Batman imitation for Fox Publication’s Mystery Men, and he worked for the legendary Eisner-Iger shop which he soon left, he said, because he was intimidated by how good all the other artists there were. He next worked for Fiction House and began freelancing for Stan Lee at Timely Comics (later Marvel), starting an association that lasted on and off for the next half-century. At first, he drew funny animal strips but Lee soon found that Mooney, along with being very dependable, was kind of a utility infielder who could do a little of everything. He was especially good at drawing cute ladies and a lot of his assignments were chosen with that in mind. (Asked how he drew such beautiful women, he usually pointed out that his sister had been a Ziegfeld Girl so he often found himself around lovely ladies.)

There’s an excerpt of an interview with Mooney from Comic Book Artist online

Are there any anecdotes, anything interesting with different personalities you’d like to go into?

JIM: Well, I think I mentioned earlier on it was such a pleasure to go into that. I used to dread going into the offices at DC, but I looked forward to going into Marvel, and I think one of the real nice pleasant things, and a lot of the guys who have great memories say the same thing. You’d come in, and Flo Steinberg would be there, and she would say (in her marvelous enthusiastic voice), “Stan, Jim Mooney’s here,” and that would just make me feel great, as if I were very important. Then I realized everybody else got that same treatment, which was darn nice. I’d occasionally hang out in the bullpen and shoot the breeze, but I don’t have too many bullpen anecdotes, because I really wasn’t there all that much. The one thing I really liked, and I haven’t had that experience before with Stan when we collaborated on the funny animal stuff, we’d get together for a story conference in the early ’70s, and Stan would act these things out, and I’d think, “This is amazing, I’ve known this guy for years, I’ve never seen anything like this!” He’d jump up on the desk, and go through the motions, the actions that he expected either from the Green Goblin or whatever the heck it was we were doing, and he was having such a great time with it, it was contagious. I’d begin to think, “Hey, this is kind of fun, I’m enjoying this.”

Mooney was what might be called a journeyman, but his work elevates that term. Not as dynamic or flamboyant as Kirby, Kane or Romita, his work was still exceptional, graceful and put the stories across with a directness that any artist would envy. His work is probably what most people think of when they think “comic book.”

As several obituaries noted, Mooney worked with the late Steve Gerber on some of his greatest Man-Thing stories and the entirety of the original run of Omega the Unknown. His strong, steady work there is as important an element as the complicated script by Gerber and Mary Skrenes, and definitely helped make it the mindbomb that it was.


  1. I know Jim Mooney’s probably better remembered for his later Marvel work, but to my 9-year old fan’s mind, he’ll always be THE artist on Supergirl. I urge everyone who cares to pick up the SHOWCASE PRESENTS SUPERGIRL volumes and take a look at some of the most charming art of the era.

  2. I agree, Paul. I always liked his Supergirl work. He drew good figures and features, which, really, hopefully, comes across as the compliment it ‘s intended to be. RIP Jim.

  3. It was a privilege to see Jim Mooney at his panel (hosted byMark Evanier of course) at Comic-Con ’06, and to speak with him at his Artist Alley table. He struck me as a quiet and extremely modest gentleman. Jim’s talent and temperament will be missed.

  4. I read Supergirl as a child and loved it. I was delighted to meet Jim Mooney in the early 80s and my husband, writer Mark Ellis and I soon become friends with Jim and his wife, Anne.

    Over the years, we became as close as family, and even had the pleasure of working with Jim when he did the pencils for Anne Rice’s The Mummy comic back in the 90s. He and Mark collaborated on other comics projects.

    We will miss him so much–he was just a fabulous human being whom we loved dearly.

  5. Jim Mooney, for me, was the guy who drew Omega the Unknown and inked just about everyone during the 70’s at Marvel. His style was such that it was instantly recogniseable no matter who he was inking and his pencils were always enjoyable. Another great down for the year and we’re barely a quarter through.

  6. Nice reminiscence, Mark.

    I like his SUPERGIRL and LEGION stuff best, but his Marvel period was interesting. He wasn’t by nature an action-artist, but he did one or two MS. MARVELs that showed that he could do it if he wanted.

  7. Oh, that’s heartbreaking news. When I was a kid, he was *the* Spider-Man artist, ahead of either of the Gil Kane or even the Romitas and Ditko. I had no idea he’d been in the business so long (since the beginning it seems!). Anyway, RIP Jim.

  8. I just found out about Jim’s passing…in 2003 he an I e-mailed back and forth for over an hour + …very neat guy..he had been commissioned by me to do Ernie chan’s Batman #279 cover(which I still have) very nice work…in late 2007 I wrote him for a MTU #28 Hercules splash comm. he got back to me 1 or 2 times then nothing for several months…I had a feeling Jim was failing….then in late March? Jim mailed me again concerning the details of the Hercules piece -I responded..then….nothing. He must have died a day or 2? later? wish I would have kept that e-mail now. RIP the amazing Jim Mooney.