Jerry Ordway

Jerry Ordway

Ordway at the 2012 New York Comic Con.
Born (1957-11-28) November 28, 1957
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller, Inker, Writer
Notable works
The Adventures of Superman
All-Star Squadron
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Infinity, Inc.
The Power of Shazam!
Awards Inkpot Award 1994

Jeremiah "Jerry" Ordway[1][2] (born November 28, 1957)[3] is an American writer, penciller, inker and painter of comic books.

He is known for his inking work on a wide variety of DC Comics titles, including the continuity-redefining Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985–1986), his long run working on the Superman titles from 1986–1993, and for writing and painting the Captain Marvel original graphic novel The Power of Shazam! (1994), and writing the ongoing monthly series from 1995–1999. He has provided inks for artists such as Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, John Buscema and Steve Ditko.[4]

Early life and influences

Jerry Ordway was inspired in his childhood by Marvel Comics, and dreamed of drawing Daredevil, Spider-Man, and the Avengers. To date he has only worked on the latter.

Among the artists he considers influential are Curt Swan, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, John Buscema, Steve Ditko, all of whose pencils he would later ink over. He cites Gene Colan, Wally Wood, Alex Raymond, Hal Foster and Roy Crane as early inspirations. He names contemporaries such as Lee Weeks, John Romita Jr., Ron Garney, Mike Weiringo and Alan Davis, and inkers such as Joe Sinnott, Dick Giordano, Tom Palmer and Klaus Janson.[4]

Ordway attended Milwaukee Technical High School,[5] where he took a three-year commercial art course, before joining a commercial art studio as a typographer in 1976. He subsequently worked his way "from the ground floor up at the art studio" between 1978 and 1981.[2][4]

Comics career

Before beginning his professional career as an inker, Jerry Ordway entered the comics industry as an artist and publisher for small-press comics fanzines. Ordway discovered Marvel comics in "June of 1967," and wrote in 1975 (aged 17) that he had "been drawing superheroes [ever] since." His first published work, a story entitled "The Messenger", appeared in Tim Corrigan's Superhero Comics No. 4 (April, 1975), and his own self-published fanzine Okay Comix followed in May–June, 1975.[1] Okay Comix featured stories by Ordway and his friend Dave Koula, and art predominantly by Ordway himself. Ordway's own hero "Proton" headlined the 'zine, which featured a pin-up of a character "called Acrobat" who was "the first superhero [Ordway] created. His birth was Dec. 1969."[6]

Spending the late 1970s working as a painter in a commercial art studio in Milwaukee, between 1978 and 1979, he provided illustrations for a number of fanzines and pro-zines, including Omniverse and The Comics Journal. His first professional work was for Western Publishing's Golden Books on young-reader Marvel books, and the Superheroes Golden Beginning Stampbook '79.[2][4]

DC Comics

Having produced comics-related artwork for fanzines and licensed publishers, Ordway attended "a talent search at the 1980 Chicago Comicon," held by DC Comics. After showing them his "DC related artwork from the Golden Books," he "walked away with a promise of work."[4] This work began in the summer of 1980 for "DC's anthology comics," (including Weird War Tales and Mystery in Space[2]) in which he "inked Carmine Infantino, Trevor Von Eeden, as well as Joe Staton, and Dave Cockrum." After continuing to work at the art studio for a further six months, inking comics for DC by night, Ordway began "freelancing full time in February 1981." During the mid-1980s, he "shared a studio with other artists, including Machlan, Pat Broderick, and Al Vey."[4]

At DC, he would illustrate All-Star Squadron, a series which he helped launch in an insert preview in Justice League of America No. 193 (Aug. 1981).[7] With writer Roy Thomas, he co-created Infinity, Inc. in All-Star Squadron No. 25 (Sept. 1983)[8] and the new team was launched in its own series in March 1984.[9] Ordway inked DC Comics Presents Annual No. 4 (1985) over artist Eduardo Barreto's pencils and was one of several artists on Batman Annual No. 9 (July 1985), and more notably inked George Pérez's pencils on the epic crossover miniseries Crisis on Infinite Earths in 1985. Ordway inked Superman artist Wayne Boring's pencils for a retelling of the definitive Golden Age Superman origin story written by Roy Thomas in Secret Origins No. 1 (April 1986), which he considers a particular favorite.[4] Ordway was the penciller and inker for the DC Comics adaptation of the 1989 Batman film which was published as a "movie special".[7]

Ordway has noted that "Inking is a weird job, because as much as you put into it, the page still belongs to the penciler."[4]


In 1986, along with writer/artist John Byrne and writer Marv Wolfman, Ordway revamped Superman, in the wake of the Ordway-inked continuity-redefining maxiseries Crisis on Infinite Earths. Launching, with a revised origin and new continuity, in Byrne's miniseries, The Man of Steel, Superman soon returned to featuring in a number of titles. After the titular title Superman was cancelled and replaced with The Man of Steel, it was relaunched as The Adventures of Superman, continuing the numbering of the original Superman series, with Wolfman as writer and Ordway as artist.[10]

When Wolfman departed the title, Byrne briefly took over scriptwriting duties before Ordway assumed the mantle of writer-artist and took over the series solely. Switching from The Adventures of Superman, Ordway became the writer-artist on the companion title Superman vol. 2 between #34 (Aug. 1989) and #55 (May 1991), before later returning to Adventures of Superman as writer and sometimes as cover artist from issues #480 (July 1991) to #500 (June 1993). Ordway was the writer and primary artist for the story in which Clark Kent proposes to Lois Lane.[11][12] While writing for the Superman family of titles, Ordway cowrote such storylines as "Panic in the Sky"[13] and "The Death of Superman" storyline in 1992. After seven years working on the character, Ordway largely left the Superman titles in 1993, although he would make frequent returns to the character as writer and throughout his career, co-writing Adventures of Superman with Karl Kesel from issues #539540, 558562, 564567 in 1996, and 19981999.[7]

During the 50th anniversary celebrations for Superman, he inked John Byrne's pencils for the cover of the March 14, 1988 issue of Time magazine[14] and an interior spread celebrating the Man of Steel's anniversary. Ordway has produced a large number of covers for DC from 1982 onwards, including for issues of Secret Origins and the painted cover art to the hardcover reprint collection The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told.[15] He produced the cover art for the prestige format graphic novels, Superman: The Earth Stealers in 1988 where he inked Curt Swan's pencils and Superman For Earth (1991), among other work.[7]

Captain Marvel

Main article: The Power of Shazam!

In 1994, Ordway masterminded the return of the original Captain Marvel to the DC Universe with the 96-page hardcover graphic novel The Power of Shazam!, which he both wrote and painted. The story saw Ordway depict the revamped origins of the former-Fawcett Comics superhero. It proved to be a success, and was followed by an ongoing monthly series, also titled The Power of Shazam! (which ran between 1995 and 1999). Ordway wrote and provided painted covers for the entire run of the regular series, as well as illustrating fill-in issues between series-regular artists Peter Krause and Mike Manley.[16] Towards the end of the series run, he again took on the dual role of writer & artist.

Non-DC work

During the mid-1980s, Ordway provided covers and occasional artwork to titles from a number of different comics companies. Companies included Wendy and Richard Pini's WaRP Graphics, AC Comics, Charlton Comics, Paragon Publications and fan-turned-pro Marty Greim. For Eclipse Comics, Ordway provided pencils for a short "Epilogue" story in Mark Evanier's DNAgents No. 18 (Jan. 1985).[7] He produced Munden's Bar for First Comics, and provided pencils and inks on an issue of T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents.[2]

For Image Comics, Ordway co-created the character WildStar with Al Gordon in 1993, and published his creator-owned one-shot The Messenger in July 2000.[7]

Although the vast majority of Ordway's professional work has been produced for DC, Ordway inked issues of Marvel's Fantastic Four. He produced occasional work for Marvel between 1984 and 1988, then returned a decade later to write and illustrate a three-issue arc of Avengers (vol. 3) #16–18 (1999), guest artist on Captain America (vol. 3) #32 (Aug. 2000) with writer Dan Jurgens, as well as penciling the four-issue crossover mini-series Maximum Security (#1–3 and prologue Dangerous Planet) in 20002001.[7]

Other DC work

As well as inking most of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ordway inked the second of DC's continuity-redefining event titles in 1994 by inking writer-artist Dan Jurgens' pencils on Zero Hour: Crisis in Time.[17] In 2001, he drew the one-shot Just Imagine... Stan Lee with Jerry Ordway Creating the JLA as part of Marvel-stalwart Stan Lee's foray into the DC Universe, in which the two of them re-imagined DC's Justice League of America. He inked the last year (May 2002May 2003) of the Batman-related title Azrael: Agent of the Bat (#88100), and provided the artwork for a six-issue story arc in Wonder Woman (vol. 2, issues #189194), with writer Walt Simonson in 2003. In 2004, Ordway was inker on JLA issues #9499, the “Tenth Circle” story arc which reunited the former Uncanny X-Men creative team of writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne. From 20032008, he provided new covers to the Superman: The Man of Steel series of six trade paperbacks, collecting the early adventures of the Post-Crisis Superman.[7] To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the original Crisis, DC published Geoff Johns' Infinite Crisis limited series (Dec. 2005June 2006), for which Ordway provided the artwork for the flashback scenes set on Earth-Two, including a recreation of the cover to Action Comics #1, which he cites as another favorite piece of his.[4] In the wake of Infinite Crisis, he inked Dan Jurgens' pencils once again in the "History of the Multiverse" back-up stories in the weekly comic book Countdown (issues No. 39 and No. 38, Chapters 11 and 12) (October 2007).[7]

His work since 2008 includes pencilling three issues of The Brave and the Bold (volume 2) (#11–13, MayJuly 2008) with writer Mark Waid, and pencils for Justice Society of America Annual No. 1 (Sept. 2008), alongside some interior artwork for the ongoing Justice Society of America series during late 2008.[7] In 2012, Ordway worked on a Challengers of the Unknown storyline for DC Universe Presents with DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio.[18] Later that same year, he drew a Human Bomb limited series which was written by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti.[19] Ordway and artist Steve Rude produced a Superman story for DC's Adventures of Superman digital series in 2014.[20]


Jerry Ordway received an Inkpot Award in 1994.[21]

Personal life

Ordway is married to Peggy May Ordway (b. 1959).[2][3]


DC Comics

America's Best Comics

  • Tom Strong #5, 20-21 (penciller); #22, 31-32 (artist) (1999-2005)
  • Tom Strong's Terrific Tales #3, 6 (artist) (2002-2003)
  • Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct #1-5 (artist) (2005-2006)

First Comics

Image Comics

  • Action Planet Comics #3 (writer/artist) (1997)
  • Phantom Force #2 (inker) (1994)
  • WildStar: Sky Zero #1-4 (penciller) (1993)

Marvel Comics

  • Avengers vol. 3 #16-18 (writer/penciller) (1999)
  • Captain America vol 3 #32 (artist) (Aug. 2000)
  • Domination Factor: Avengers #2, 4, 6, 8 (writer/penciller) (1999-2000)
  • Fantastic Four #276-283 (inker); #294-296 (penciler) (1985-1986)
  • Hulk #9-11 (writer) (1999-2000)
  • Maximum Security #1-3 (penciler) (2000-2001)
  • Maximum Security: Dangerous Planet #1 (penciler) (2000)
  • Thor vol. 2 #9 (inker) (1999)
  • Thor 2000 #1 (artist) (2000)
  • U.S. Agent #1-3 (writer/penciller) (2001)
  • What The--?! #2 (inker) (1988)


  1. 1 2 Ordway, Jerry "What? Another 'zine?" in Ordway's Okay Comix No. 1 (May–June, 1975), p. 2
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Jerry, Bails; Ware, Hames. "Jerry Ordway". Who's Who in American Comics. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  3. 1 2 Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "Jerry Ordway interview". RoughHouseInk. 2006. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2012.
  5. "Jerry Ordway". Lambiek Comiclopedia. August 27, 2010. Archived from the original on May 6, 2012.
  6. Okay Comix No. 1 (May–June, 1975), p. 24
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Jerry Ordway at the Grand Comics Database
  8. Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 203. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The children of the original Justice Society of America made their smash debut in this issue by writer Roy Thomas and penciler Jerry Ordway...All-Star Squadron #25 marked the first appearances of future cult-favorite heroes Jade, Obsidian, Fury, Brainwave Jr., the Silver Scarab, Northwind, and Nuklon.
  9. Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 207: "Written by DC's Golden Age guru Roy Thomas and drawn by Jerry Ordway, Infinity, Inc. was released in DC's new deluxe format on bright Baxter paper."
  10. Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 226: "The original Superman title had adopted the new title The Adventures of Superman but continued the original numbering of its long and storied history. Popular writer Marv Wolfman and artist Jerry Ordway handled the creative chores."
  11. Ordway, Jerry (w), Jurgens, Dan; Breeding, Brett; Gammill, Kerry; Swan, Curt; Ordway, Jerry; Byrne, John (p), Breeding, Brett; Janke, Dennis; Byrne, John; Ordway, Jerry (i). "Krisis of the Krimson Kryptonite, Part 4: The Human Factor" Superman v2, 50 (December 1990)
  12. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 247: "When [Clark Kent] proposed to his longtime love Lois Lane, he did so in a modest fashion...Lois accepted and comic book history was made, served up by writer/artist Jerry Ordway."
  13. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 253: "In this seven-part adventure...writers Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Roger Stern, and Louise Simonson, with artists Brett Breeding, Tom Grummett, Jon Bogdanove, and Bob McLeod assembled many of DC's favorite characters to defend the world."
  14. Friedrich, Otto (March 14, 1988). "Superman at 50". Time Archive 1923 to the Present. New York, New York: Time. Retrieved December 26, 2011.
  15. The Greatest Golden Age Stories Ever Told. New York, New York: DC Comics. 1990. p. 288. ISBN 0-930289-57-9.
  16. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 269: "Writer Jerry Ordway chronicled the further adventures of Billy Batson, the World's Mightiest Mortal, in the new ongoing effort The Power of Shazam!, alongside artists Mike Manley and Peter Krause."
  17. Manning "1990s" in Dolan, p. 266: "In DC's newest summer blockbuster Zero Hour, writer/artist Dan Jurgens and finisher Jerry Ordway crafted a five-issue story that began with issue #4, and counted backward to zero."
  18. "DiDio Takes "Challengers of the Unknown" Into "DCU Presents"". Comic Book Resources. November 10, 2011. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  19. Campbell, Josie (September 14, 2012). "Exclusive: Palmiotti & Gray Detonate a 'Human Bomb'". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013. Jerry is the artist on it and we could not be happier.
  20. Khouri, Andy (April 11, 2014). "Jerry Ordway & Steve Rude's Adventures of Superman Is Like 'A Lost Fleischer Cartoon'". ComicsAlliance. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014.
  21. "Inkpot Award Winners". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012.
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