J. David Spurlock

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J. David Spurlock
Born (1959-11-18) November 18, 1959 (age 61)
Memphis, Tennessee
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer, Penciller, Editor

Jess David Spurlock (born November 18, 1959) is an author, illustrator, editor, and artist's-rights advocate best known as the founder of Vanguard Productions, a publisher of art books, graphic novels, and prints.

Early life

J. David Spurlock was born on November 18, 1959 in Memphis, Tennessee.[1][2] He moved to Dallas, Texas in 1973.[2]


He has taught art at The University of Texas at Arlington, the Joe Kubert School, and the School of Visual Arts in New York.[3] He has served as a president of the Dallas Society of Illustrators.[4]

As a comic book artist, he co-penciled and inked the alternative press comic Sparkplug #1 (March 1993), from Heroic Publishing's Hero Comics imprint, credited as David Spurlock. The following year he contributed a text page to a Dallas, Texas, tribute comic honoring industry legend Jack Kirby, who had recently died.[4]

Spurlock founded Vanguard Productions in 1993,[5] although he had used that name, in conjunction with Sparrowlake Enterprises, to self-publish the comic book Badge #1 in 1981.[6] The company initially had been founded to publish a comics anthology, Tales from the Edge, with 15 issues released as of 2010.[7] The company then moved into art books, biographies and eventually graphic novels, including Neal Adams' Monsters (2003),[8] (originally serialized in the comics anthology series Echoes of Future Past, published by Adams' Continuity Studios), with four additional story pages plus additional Adams material.[9] DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz, an architect of the Silver Age of Comic Books, said "Spurlock's line of books serve as the vanguard of Silver Age comics histories."[10] Other comics magazines and collections published by Vanguard beginning in 2001 include Space Cowboy, Jesse James Classic Western Collection, Steve Ditko: Space Wars and Wally Wood's The Complete Lunar Tunes and The Wizard King.[11]

In an article on the Fort Worth, Texas, comics artist Pat Boyette, Don Mangus, who assisted Spurlock during this time, wrote of the early Vanguard comics that,

David was showcasing top-flight magazine illustrators and comic book talents in his Tales from the Edge comic book title[, in which he] either reprinted underexposed, hard-to-find 'gems', or debuted intensely personal (and thus unseen in the staid, traditional illustration markets) projects that the creators were eager to see displayed for public distribution. The initial concept ... was to combine the modern, cutting-edge illustrators such as Barron Storey, Marshall Arisman, Bill Sienkiewicz, George Pratt, etc., legends in the editorial realm of magazine illustration, with the more traditional and mainstream graphic storytelling by comic book veterans such as Pat Boyette, Wally Wood, and Howard Nostrand (often through reprints). Bridging this mix was to be David Spurlock's own quasi-retro, 1950s-styled space-western [feature], "Rick Montana, Space Cowboy", which he would draw in a genre-appropriate [Al] Williamson/'Fleagle'-homage art style.[12]

Philanthropic works

Spurlock co-created the Wally Wood Scholarship Fund with Wood's brother, Glenn Wood, for students of the School of Visual Arts.[13][14] In a joint venture with Marvel Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors, Vanguard Productions in 2002 sponsored artist Jim Steranko's "The Spirit of America" benefit print,[15] created to fund an art scholarship "for victims of anti-American terrorism".[16]

In 2008, Spurlock, with artist and publisher Neal Adams and the David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies Arts & Letters Council, spearheaded a petition campaign in which over 450 comic book creators and cartoonists urged the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to return to artist Dina Babbitt seven portraits she was forced to paint in the Auschwitz death camp in 1944.[17]

Awards and nominations

Vanguard Productions' Hal Foster: Prince of Illustrators, Father of the Adventure Strip was a finalist for a 2003 Independent Publisher Book Award (the IPPY) in the "Popular Culture" category.[18] It was nominated for a 2002 Eisner Award for "Best Comics-Related Book".[19]

Vanguard's Wally's World: The Brilliant Life and Tragic Death of Wally Wood, the World's Second-Best Comic Book Artist (2004), by Spurlock and Steve Sarger, was nominated for a 2007 Eisner Award for "Best Comics-Related Book".[20]

The original self-published limited edition of The Art of Nick Cardy by John Coates (Coates Publishing, 1999), which was reissued in a wider edition by Vanguard in 2001, was nominated for a 2000 Eisner Award for "Best Comics-Related Book".[21][22]

In March 2011, he was named Inkwell Awards Special Ambassador. He still holds that recognition at present.[23]

Bibliography as publisher


  1. Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on October 29, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 Spurlock, J. David "The J. David Spurlock – Edgar Rice Burroughs Connection", Volume 2195, n.d.
  3. The Spirit Archives, Volume 24 (DC Comics, 2008), Introduction, p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4012-1698-6
  4. 4.0 4.1 J. David Spurlock. Grand Comics Database
  5. Baker, Bill. "In Praise of Great Men", Comic Book Marketplace #111 (April 2004), p. 29
  6. Badge, Vanguard Productions, 1981 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  7. Tales from the Edge at the Grand Comics Database
  8. Baker, pp. 29–30
  9. NealAdams.com: News: "Neal Adams Monsters Book Proofs Just Arrive. Wow!", n.d.
  10. Baker, p. 30
  11. Vanguard Productions at the Grand Comics Database
  12. Mangus, Don. "A Tribute to Pat Boyette", Comicartville Library, n.d., 2003. WebCitation archive.
  13. Vanguard Productions, Wally Wood Scholarship Fund
  14. Baker, p. 31
  15. "The Spirit of America", Vanguard Productions, 2002. WebCitation archive.
  16. "New York Comic Con Releases Expanded Guest List for their February Show", New York Comic Con press release, January 20, 2009, via Comic Book Resources. WebCitation archive (requires scrolldown).
  17. Open Letter from Neal Adams & J. David Spurlock for Holocaust Survivor, ComicsBulletin.com, September 24, 2008
  18. Independent Publisher, 2003 Independent Publisher Book Awards Results
  19. Hahn Library, "2002 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards"
  20. "2007 Eisner Nominations", ComicsBeat.com, April 19. 2007
  21. Hahn Library, "2000 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees and Winners"
  22. Vanguard Productions, The Art of Nick Cardy page
  23. "Inkwell Awards Ambassadors"


External links

Media related to J. David Spurlock at Wikimedia Commons