Kurt Schaffenberger

artist (1920-2002)

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Kurt Schaffenberger
Schaffenberger self-portrait from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #155 (Jan. 1973)
Born(1920-12-15)December 15, 1920
Thuringian Forest, Germany
DiedJanuary 24, 2002(2002-01-24) (aged 81)
Brick, Ocean County, New Jersey, U.S.
NationalityNaturalized American
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Notable works
Captain Marvel,
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane
AwardsNational Cartoonists Society Comic Book Award, 1984.

Kurt Schaffenberger (December 15, 1920[1] – January 24, 2002)[2] was an American comics artist. He was best known for his work on Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family during both the Golden Age and Bronze Age of comics, as well as his work on the title Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane during the 1950s and 1960s. Schaffenberger used the alias "Lou Wahl" on certain comics, when he was moonlighting from his main job of drawing Lois Lane at DC Comics.[3]


Early career

Schaffenberger was born on a farm in the Thuringian Forest, Germany, where, as a boy, he ". . . tended geese, herded goats, and hoed potatoes."[4] Emigrating to America as a 7-year-old, first to Hartford, Connecticut, and then to New York City,[4] he eventually won a scholarship to the Pratt Institute.[4] After graduation, he joined Jack Binder's studio in 1941, where he worked on key Fawcett titles including Captain Marvel, Bulletman, and Ibis the Invincible.[5]

While working for Binder's studio, which was located in Englewood, New Jersey, Schaffenberger took over an apartment from the local high school football coach, Vince Lombardi, who had yet to achieve success in the National Football League.[4]

During this time, Schaffenberger's work was also published by Prize, Street & Smith, and Pines.[6]

Schaffenberger served in the U.S. military during World War II, including a stint with the Office of Strategic Services,[4] leaving the military with the rank of Master Sergeant.[4]

Schaffenberger returned to the world of professional sequential art soon after war's end. He resumed his work for the Captain Marvel family of titles, and expanded his reach to an even more diverse group of publishing houses, including EC Comics, Gilberton, Premier Magazines, American Comics Group, and Marvel Comics. At Gilberton, Schaffenberger provided the interior art for Classics Illustrated No. 119, Soldiers of Fortune (May 1954).[7]

DC Comics

An example of Schaffenberger's art: young Ma and Pa Kent, from The New Adventures of Superboy #1 (Jan. 1980).

In 1957 Otto Binder recruited Schaffenberger to DC to work on the Superman family. He stayed at DC for the next 30 years, making an especially large contribution to the development of Lois Lane. In this capacity, he was the lead artist on the Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane series for the entirety of its first decade. Indeed, Schaffenberger's rendition of Lane became cited by many[8][9] as the "definitive" version of the character, and Schaffenberger was often asked by DC editor Mort Weisinger to redraw other artists' depictions of Lois Lane in other DC titles where she appeared.[9] Catwoman made her first appearance in the Silver Age of Comic Books in Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane #70 (Nov. 1966) in a story drawn by Schaffenberger.[10] In issue #80 (Jan. 1968), Schaffenberger updated the character's fashions to a then-more contemporary look.[11]

He was essentially fired from DC in 1970 for helping to organize other artists to protest bad working conditions.[12] He then briefly freelanced and worked for Marvel, but returned to DC in 1972.

When, in the 1970s, DC acquired the rights to the Marvel Family, Schaffenberger was one of the key players in the revival of those characters. The late 1970s saw him contribute outside the Superman family of titles, including work on titles such as Wonder Woman and Super Friends.[5]

In 1980, Schaffenberger was again leading a Superman family title, The New Adventures of Superboy,[13] the final, post-Legion title for the original Superboy. Somewhat metaphorically, the Superboy- and Supergirl-less DC universe that followed the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths turned out to be a mostly Schaffenberger-less one as well. He largely retired from comics soon after helping with the final pre-Crisis Superman tale "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?"[14]

Schaffenberger was a special guest at the 1996 San Diego Comic Con.[15]

Personal life

Schaffenberger and his wife, the former Dorothy Bates Watson,[16] who married in Englewood, New Jersey, on March 30, 1946,[17] had two children, Susan and her three-years-younger brother, Karl.[18] The family lived for four decades in the same house in River Edge, New Jersey, before moving in 1989.[19]


Schaffenberger's work won him the 1984 National Cartoonists Society Award in the "Comic Book" division.[20] He received an Inkpot Award in 1996.[21]


Apple Press

  • Mr. Fixitt #2 (1990)

Claypool Comics

  • Phantom of Fear City #4–7, 9–11 (1993–1995)

DC Comics

Fawcett Comics

HM Communications, Inc.

Marvel Comics

3-D Zone

  • Daughters of Time 3-D #1 (1991)


  1. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  2. ^ Social Security Death Index, Social Security #040-14-9389.
  3. ^ "Kurt Schaffenberger (as Lou Wahl) Unknown Worlds #57 Cover Original Art (ACG, 1967)". Heritage Auctions.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Jimmy Olsen's Pen-Pals," Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #155 (January 1973).
  5. ^ a b Kurt Schaffenberger at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Voger, Mark (2003). Hero Gets Girl! The Life and Art Of Kurt Schaffenberger. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 102. ISBN 1-893905-29-2.
  7. ^ Jones Jr., William B., Classics Illustrated: A Cultural History, with Illustrations (Jefferson, NC, and London: McFarland & Company, 2002), p. 101.
  8. ^ Voger 2003, pp. 43–45.
  9. ^ a b Eury, Michael (2006). "Kurt Schaffenberger: Ladies' Man". The Krypton Companion: A Historical Exploration of Superman Comic Books of 1958-1986. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1893905610.
  10. ^ Forbeck, Matt (2014). "1960s". In Dougall, Alastair (ed.). Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 95. ISBN 978-1465424563. In this wacky story, written by Leo Dorfman and drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger, Catwoman kidnapped Lois Lane as she was investigating the Penguin's escape from prison.
  11. ^ McAvennie, Michael (2010). "1960s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. She started trading in her generic blouse-and-pencil skirt combinations for a "mod" wardrobe filled with printed dresses, go-go boots, mini-skirts, and hot pants.
  12. ^ Barr, Mike W. (2002). Comic Book Artist Collection Volume 2. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 55–61. ISBN 978-1893905139.
  13. ^ Manning, Matthew K. "1980s" in Dolan, p. 186: "After recently departing the pages of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, Superboy was free to pursue his own adventures...in this premiere issue written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Kurt Schaffenberger."
  14. ^ Voger 2003, p. 90.
  15. ^ Hamerlinck, P.C. (November 2020). "The 1996 San Diego Comic-Con Kurt Schaffenberger Panel". Alter Ego. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (166): 4–16.
  16. ^ Voger, Voglesong, p. 15
  17. ^ Voger, Voglesong, p. 20
  18. ^ Voger, Voglesong, p. 56
  19. ^ Voger, Voglesong, p. 101
  20. ^ "1984 National Cartoonists Society Awards". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012.
  21. ^ "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.

Further reading

  • Interview, Comic Book Marketplace #59 (May 1998) pp. 18–33. Gemstone Publishing.

External links

Preceded by
Superman's Girl Friend, Lois Lane artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by "Supergirl" feature
in Action Comics artist

Succeeded by
Preceded by "Supergirl" feature
in Adventure Comics artist

Succeeded by
Preceded by
Mike Sekowsky
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen artist
Succeeded by
Preceded by
"Jimmy Olsen" feature
in The Superman Family artist

Succeeded by
John Calnan
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