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Comic Creator

Mike Esposito

Joe Gaudioso, Mickey Demeo

(14 July 1927 - 24 October 2010, USA)  United States

Mike Esposito

Undercover Information, by Mike Esposito

Mike Esposito was born in New York City in 1927. He wanted to become an animator at Disney, but his parents wouldn't let him move to California. He then attended the Music and Art High School in Manhattan, where he met his future collaborator Ross Andru. After his military service, Esposito started doing comics for Fiction House and later National Comics, before starting his own studios with Andru in the early 1950s. As Mikeross Publications, they produced numerous cover illustrations. In the early 1950s, their studio published it's own titles, 'Mister Universe', the romance comic 'Heart and Soul', the satiric humor comic 'Get Lost' and a couple of 3-D romance comic books. For DC, they illustrated war stories, and for Standard Publishing and EC, they produced horror stories. Their production studio folded when the Comics Code was enforced.

Esposito and Andru continued their work for DC Comics, where they often collaborated with writer/artist Robert Kanigher. They worked on such war titles as 'Star Spangled War Stories', 'All-American Men of War', 'Our Army at War', 'G.I. Combat' and 'Our Fighting Forces'. They had a long runs on 'Wonder Woman' (1958-67) and 'The Flash' (1967-70), created 'Suicide Squad' in 'The Brave and the Bold', as well as 'Metal Men' (1963-68), and drew the early issues of 'Rip Hunter, Time Master' (1961).

Esposito additionally was an inker for Irv Novick and Curt Swan's work in the 'Superman' titles. Under the names Joe Gaudioso and Mickey Dee, he was anonymously also an inker for Marvel Comics, including Jack Kirby's 'Fantastic Four Annual', Don Heck's 'Iron Man' and John Romita's 'Amazing Spider-Man'.

In 1970, Esposito and Andru made a poor attempt at starting a new production company, Klevart Enterprises. They continued their cooperation in the Skywald titles Nightmare, Psycho, Wild Western Action, The Bravados, Butch Cassidy and Hell-Rider. For Marvel, they did the 'Marvel Team-Up' title and later several issues of 'Amazing Spider-Man'. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Esposito served as an inker on nearly every superhero title, varying from 'X-Men' to 'The Avengers', and most of the 'Spider-Man' spin-off titles.

Esposito's work for Marvel declined in the mid 1980s, and he became art director at Archie Comics. He inked many of Stan Goldberg's stories in the Archie titles until 1997. Mike Esposito spent his final years in Lake Grove, New York, on Long Island.

Last updated: 2011-01-14

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