Robert Kanigher

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Robert Kanigher ( June 18, 1915 - May 6, 2002 ) was an American comic book writer . Kanigher was best known as the creator of the cartoon character The Red Lightning (English "Flash" ).

life and work

Early years (1915-1945)

In the 1930s, Kanigher began publishing poetry and articles in magazines. In 1932 Kanigher won the "Collegiate Short Story Contest" organized by the New York daily newspaper The New York Times , a writing competition for short stories. As a result, he wrote some radio plays for the radio, as well as some stage pieces.

As authors who influenced him, Kanigher named James Joyce , Sophocles , Sigmund Freud , Shakespeare , Gorky and Dostoevsky .

In the 1940s Kanigher began writing comic books for various publishers. He wrote the series Blue Beetle for the "Fox Feature Syndicate" , Steel Sterlin for MLJ (later Archie Comics) and The Web , and Captain Marvel Adventures for Fawcett Comics . In 1943 he also wrote the essay "How to Make Money Writing for Comics" one of the first secondary works to deal with the comic medium. Since the sales figures were almost satisfactory, a counterpart for the acoustic medium followed in the same year with "How to Make Money Writing for Radio" .

Kanigher's years with DC (1945–1987)

In 1945 Kanigher began writing for DC Comics. Within a short time he also took on editorial tasks. In the 1940s and early 1950s he wrote such series as Justice Society of America , Hawkman , Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman . He also edited the latter title. As an author, he also created numerous popular characters at this time, such as the superhero Black Canary , who is marketed to this day as one of the title characters in the series Birds of Prey , the schizophrenic crime fighter "The Thorn" or the anarchic "Harlequin".

From 1952 Kanigher DC Comics edited and wrote war comic series GI Combat , Our Army at War , Our Fighting Forces , All-American Men of War and Star-Spangled War Stories . For these series he created, among other things, the characters Sergeant Rock (together with the cartoonist Joe Kubert ), Enemy Ace and The Unknown Soldier , as well as the series The Haunted Tank , all of which received not only their own continuous features within different series, but in the course of the Years have all been elevated to the protagonists of their own ongoing comic series and / or comic novels named after them. In 1956 Kanigher began to write the series "The Flash" which was to become his most commercially successful and artistically most effective work (see section: Kanigher's "Red Flash" ).

He has also written countless romantic and love comics, horror and science fiction comics, as well as western comics such as Trigger Twins .

For the anthology series Showcase , Kanigher created the fairly successful series Sea Devils around a group of adventurous deep-sea divers. Other creations that Kanigher contributed to the Showcase series were the Scandinavian Middle Ages Viking Prince series , the obscure adventures of the Baloon Buster and, above all, from 1962 the artistically highly acclaimed science fiction series Metal Men (from Showcase # 37), which included the eventful The experiences of a group of thinking and feeling robots and their creator, Professor Magnus, are told. For the Batman series , he also created the figure of the eco-terrorist Poison Ivy , who became widely known outside of the medium .

In 1974 Kanigher created the critically acclaimed comic novel "Rima the Jungle Girl" about a girl living in the African jungle. In the late 1970s, there was also the unusual series Ragman , a combination of Jewish cabbalism with the classic American superhero comic in the form of a mystic comic series.

It was only in 1987 that Kanigher stopped working on DC's war comic series: by then he had written the Sergeant Rock and Haunted Tank series for well over 20 years.

Kanigher's "Red Lightning"

Kanigher's most important creation was undoubtedly the superhero " Der Rote Blitz " (Flash II). This was based on the character "The Flash", alias Jay Garrick, created during the Second World War . Kanigher adopted the concept of a man who is able to run at "super speed", but changed both the secret identity of the Flash - which from then on was no longer businessman Jay Garrick, but police scientist Barry Allen - as well as its visual appearance, the background story and the backdrop against which his adventures took place. The world of Flash, conceived by Kanigher and designed by his partner, the draftsman Carmine Infantino in impressionistic, straightforward images, was first presented to a broad readership in Showcase # 4 from 1956. The concept proved so popular that a "superhero renaissance" broke out on the American comic market, during which dozens of series were revived (including Green Lantern , The Atom and Hawkman) as well as numerous new series such as Spider-Man , The Hulk and X-Men were recreated.

As the author of the Flash series, Kanigher created such well-known comic villains as the insane time traveler Abracadabra , who mistakenly thinks himself a magician because of the superior technology available to him, the dark adept of occult rituals Doctor Alchemy , the resourceful thief Shadow Thief and above all the chaotic-sympathetic, youth-friendly "children's birthday villains" from the "Rogue Gallery", each of whom is equipped with a typifying, trashy gimmick: Captain Cold with an ice gun, the Weather Wizard with a magic wand that lets him control the weather, the trickster with all kinds of carnival paraphernalia Rubber chickens, The Top with a spinning top , Heat Wave with a flame pistol, Pete Piper with a magic flute, the Rainbow Raider with a mind-controlled walk-in rainbow and Captain Boomerang with Australian throwing sticks. Add to this the Flash's hometown, Central City, as well as his fiancée, Iris West, and the inevitable junior partner, Kid Flash .

The private citizen

Together with his wife Benrice, Kanigher had two children - Jan Kanigher and Evan Kanigher. Apart from his professional activity, he occupied himself with fencing, skiing, action painting and writing poetry.