William J. Ely attended the Pratt Institute and worked as a comic book artist from the late 1930s to the early 1960s. Initially working through Funnies Inc, he did art on Dell features like 'Ellery Queen', 'Martan the Marvel Man', 'The Robinsons' and 'Caling All Cars'. He has worked extensively for National/DC titles, starting with features like 'Barry O'Neill', 'Larry Steele', Sandra of the Secret Service' and 'Dale Daring' in the 1930s, to mystery and crime features for House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Casebook Mystery and Tales of the Unexpected in the 1950s and 1960s.
Ely has also drawn adventure comics for Centaur, Fiction House, ACG/Creston, Ziff-Davis, Eastern Color, Hillman, Marvel and Charlton. He has illustrated such superhero comics as 'Rip Hunter, Time Master' and 'The Atom'.