Monday, November 7, 2022

Comics: Ray Holloway, Letterer

Raymond Alphonso “Ray” Holloway was born on June 8, 1920, in Columbus, Ohio, according to his World War II draft card. His parents were John Holloway and Mable Akers. 

In the 1930 United States Census, Holloway and his parents lived at 428 Denmead Avenue in Columbus. His father worked in construction. 

I believe Holloway was mentioned in the Columbus Dispatch, March 9, 1934.
Junior High Clubs Elect New Officers
Organizations at Champion Avenue School Select Leaders.

Officers have been elected at Champion Avenue junior high. The clubs, officers and sponsors are listed below: 

...Short Story—Octavia Jones, sponsor; Richard Moore, president; Raymond Holloway, Vice President, and Benny Watson, secretary. 
The 1940 census said the Holloway family were Columbus residents at 247 17th Street. 

During World War II, Holloway enlisted in the National Guard on March 10, 1941. 

Holloway was in New York city for a period of time. He and nineteen-year-old Gladys Mitchell obtained a marriage license on August 21, 1942 and were married the next day. 

The marriage ended in divorce according to a notice in the Columbus Dispatch, December 27, 1944. 

Discharged from the Army, unemployed Holloway filled out another World War II draft card on December 11, 1944. His address was 142 St. Clair Avenue in Columbus. A second address, 419 East Main Street, was added on October 4, 1945. Holloway was described as five feet nine-and-a-quarter inches, 155 pounds, with brown eyes and black hair. 

At some point Holloway returned to New York City and found work in the comic book industry. Information about his art training has not been found. The Tom Brevoort Experience posted a 1948 photograph of Holloway with Syd Shores, Dave Jaffee, Ezra Jackson, Art Simek, Art Weiss and Alan Sulman.

Holloway and Thelma Equiller DeWitt obtained a Manhattan marriage license on February 7, 1948 and married the following day. The marriage application said Holloway’s occupation was “letterer art”. 

The 1950 census listed Holloway, his wife and three children, Daniel, and fraternal twins, Raymond Jr. and Sandra. The family lived in Manhattan at 2175 Fifth Avenue. Holloway was a letterer at a publications firm. 

The Grand Comics Database has many of Holloway’s comics credits from 1951 to the 1980s. Comic Book FX has some panels of Holloway sound effects. 

Journey into Mystery #93, June 1963

Tales of Suspense #50, February 1964

Tales to Astonish #85, November 1966

Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999 said Holloway used the pen name Sherigail. However, it was Morrie Kuramoto who used his wife’s name, Sherigail, as a pen name. 

Marvel’s fan magazine, FOOM, #17, March 1977, published a bullpen photograph that included Holloway. 

A stroll down Memory Lane with the boys from the Bullpen: 
left to right, the top row includes Joe Letterese, Morrie Kuramoto, 
Dan Crespi, Sal Contrera, Herb Cooper, Artie Simek, Vince 
Madafferi, Carl Burgos, Stan Starkman, Neva Del Vecchio 
and Chris Rule. Bottom row: Sol Brodsky, Ray Holloway and 
Stan Goldberg. Whew!

On May 29, 2016, Monomythic posted “The Timely Life of Marvel Comics Pioneer Allen Bellman”. Bellman talked about race in the comic book industry and said: 
… This was a generation that read books like Little Black Sambo in primary school, Bellman explained, something that would be unheard of today. 

“We had one black artist, Ray Holloway. He was a freelancer and he did a comic strip Scorchy Smith for the Associated Press,” he added. “There was no animosity against color. I never heard anybody say or use the N-word. Some guys were nasty, but, eh... ”
American Newspaper Comics (2012) named the artists who drew Scorchy Smith, from March 17, 1930 to December 30, 1961: John Terry, Noel Sickles, Bert Christman, Howell Dodd, Frank Robbins, Edmund Good, Rodlow Willard, Al C. Hollingsworth, George Tuska, and Milt Morris. Bellman may have confused Holloway with Hollingsworth who was Black.

Holloway passed away on May 21, 1989. The Social Security Death Index said his last residence was Jamaica, New York. He was laid to rest at the Calverton National Cemetery

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  1. Thanks for this information. I know that Holloway did a lot of uncredited lettering for early Marvel (and Atlas) in the 1950s and early 60s and switched to DC in 1963 when Marvel hired Sam Rosen to help out Art Simek (He got a couple of credits for The Inferior Five but did about a decade worth of lettering for them uncredited. His workload when he returned to Marvel in 1974 was sporadic (not enough to make a living), but I recognized his lettering in Spidey Super Stories from mid-1975 (taking over from Simek after his death) until the title was cancelled in the early 1980s.

  2. I’m Raymond Jr. One of the twins and he worked to support a family of six! Much loved still!