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Dick Sprang May 17, 2000

Golden Age Batman artist, Dick Sprang, considered to be one of the most celebrated of the "Batman" artists, passed away this week.

Born in Ohio in 1915, Sprang began his foray into the world of commercial art at the age of 15. He painted signs and advertisements for local businesses and posters for the lobbies of two movie theaters. After a short stint at the Toledo News, Sprang moved to NYC and worked as a free-lance artist, illustrating pulp magazines. In 1941, he entered the offices of DC Comics with his samples where he met Whitney Ellsworth, who gave Sprang a story to draw as a test to determine if he could handle comics and the rigors of a quick deadline.

Ellsworth gave the 26 year-old artist a three page story to pencil, ink and letter with a deadline of four days. When he returned with the finished product, Ellsworth was so impressed that he gave Sprang a 13 page Batman story to draw. (Up to that time, only four other artists had worked on Batman.) Starting with Batman #17 (click on image for full pic), Sprang began a long and distinguished career as the "bat" artist creating a dark and sinister Gotham City.

Sprang retired in 1963 and moved to Utah where he became an authority on western history. Though no longer employed in the industry, Sprang continued to appear at comic conventions throughout the U.S. and also recreated black/white & color versions of his comic book covers for collectors. In 1995, Gotham Graphics commissioned Sprang to do full color paintings of the Batman for reproduction as limited edition posters.

Dick Sprang was residing in Arizona at the time of his death.
He was 85.

2000 Terrence J. Brady
Thanks to Cinescape, Comic Art & Graffix Galery and Bill Jourdain's G.A. Batman Site.

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Batman #17