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Fred Kida (born December 12, 1920, New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker) is an Americanmarker comic book and comic strip artist best known for the characters Airboy and Valkyrie.
Air Fighters Comics vol.
2, #2 (Nov.
1943): A typically cleavage-baring Valykrie provides the "latest war thrills".
Cover art by Fred Kida


Biography

Early life and career

Born and raised in Manhattanmarker, Kida attended New York City's American School of Design, where Bill Fraccio and Bob Fujitani were classmates. Like many young artists in the Golden Age of comic books, he then broke into the field at the Jerry Iger Studio, formerly Eisner & Iger, one of the earliest "packagers" that produced outsourced comic book content for publishers entering the new medium. Starting as an inker and background artist in 1941, Kida moved on to a staff position at Iger client Quality Comics. There he both penciled and inked his first known credited work, the feature "Phantom Clipper" in Military Comics #9 (April 1942).

Airboy and afterward

In 1942, he joined Hillman Periodicals, where he drew such features as "Iron Ace" (from its premiere in Air Fighters Comics vol. 1, #2, Nov. 1942), "Boy King" and "Gunmaster", and the following year began work on his most prominent Golden Age character, Airboy. That aviation hero, created by writer Charles Biro with scripter Dick Wood and artist Al Camy, appeared initially in Air Fighters Comics, later renamed "Airboy Comics". Aside from Airboy himself, the feature was known for the sexy antagonist the Valkyrie, a cleavage-baring Axis aviatrix who soon defected and became his ally.
Atlas Comics' Willie the Wiseguy #1 (Sept.
1957): Cover artist Kida in a more cartoony mood.
Kida remained on the feature through 1948, afterward working with writer Biro on such Hillman crime comics as the seminal Crime Does Not Pay. In 1953, he left to freelance for Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. There he worked on characters including the Western gunslingers the Ringo Kid and the Two-Gun Kid and the medieval hero the Black Knight, and anthological horror, war and Bible stories.

After leaving comics to concentrate on comic strips (see below), Kida returned to Marvel in the 1970s, primarily as an inker, working on such characters as Iron Man, Godzilla, Ka-Zar, Luke Cage, Man-Wolf, and (for Marvel UK) Captain Britain. His final known full comic-book credit is the superhero-team title The Defenders #72 (June 1979) — featuring Marvel's own character called Valkyrie. His last known published comic-book work was in the 1980s Eclipse Comics revamp of Airboy, to which he contributed a full-page pinup featuring both Airboy and Valkyrie.

Comic strips

In addition to his comic-book work, Kida in 1941 was one of writer-artist Will Eisner's assistants on the newspaper Sunday-supplement comic-book The Spirit; and from 1946-47 assisted artist Bob Fujitani (also known as "Bob Wells") on the comic strip Judge Wright. He also briefly assisted Milt Caniff on the strip Steve Canyon.

Most notably, however, Kida assisted artist Dan Barry on the long-running strip Flash Gordon from 1958-61 and then again from 1968-71; and, under his own byline, drew the comic strip The Amazing Spider-Man from 1981-86.

Reprints

  • Fred Kida's Valkyrie! (Ken Pierce, Inc., 1982)
Black-and-white reprints of selected stories from Air Fighters Comics vol. 2, #2 & 7; and Airboy Comics vol. 2, #12, and vol. 3, #6 & 12. Introduction by Alex Toth.


References




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