Anthony Lewis Di Preta was born in Stamford, Connecticut. He attended the Stamford Guild art school, together with Red Wexler and Bob Fujitani. He had his first jobs with an advertising agency and with McCall's Photo Engraving. His first comic work was coloring for Quality Comics and lettering Lyman Young's 'Tim Tyler's Luck'. Di Preta subsequently studied at both Columbia University and the University of Connecticut.
Ghost Guard, Journey into Mystery #7, 1953
He was employed as a letterer by Quality in 1940, where he also got the opportunity to learn the comics profession while working in Lou Fine's Tudor City studio in Manhattan. He drew fillers for Quality and Timely, and illustrated Hillman Periodicals features like 'Buttons the Rabbit', 'Captain Codfish', 'Earl the Rich Rabbit', 'Fatsy McPig', 'One Wing Spin', 'Skinny McGinty' (in Air Fighters Comics) and 'Stupid Manny' (in Clue Comics). His later Quality features include 'Blimpy', 'Windy Breeze' and 'Mayor Midge'.
Joe Palooka (1973)
He moved over to a more realistic style by 1943, when he drew the lead feature, 'Airboy', in Hillman's Air Fighters Comics. He also did superhero features like 'Boy King' and Zippo' (Hillman), and 'Magno' for Ace Magazines. In the second half of the 1940s Di Preta was doing crime stories for Lev Gleason's Crime Does Not Pay and Crime and Punishment. In the following decade he did 'Little Wise Guys' for Lev Gleason's Daredevil, while contributing war, mystery and crime stories to the Atlas titles Adventures into Terror, Amazing Detective Cases, Strange Tales, Mystery Tales, Journey Into Mystery, etc., as well as the humour title 'Adventures of Homer Ghost'.
From the late 1940s, Di Preta moved over to syndicated comic strips, starting with assisting Lank Leonard on 'Mickey Finn'. After working with Leonard for ten years he took over the 'Joe Palooka' strip, succeeding Ham Fisher and Mo Leff. Di Preta illustrated this boxing comic in cooperation with several writers until the final episode in 1984. The next year he succeeded Marvin Bradley on the daily 'Rex Morgan' comic. He retired in 2000 and was succeeded by Graham Nolan.
Rex Morgan M.D.