With no formal art training, Basil Wolverton sold his first cartoon to America's Humor magazine in 1926. He was long established as a newspaper artist by the time he started contributing to comic books in 1938. His first regular feature was 'Spacehawk' in 'Target' comics in the mid-1940s. His most famous cartoon appeared on the cover of Life in 1946, when he won a contest for drawing the best depiction of a character alluded to, but never seen, in Al Capp's Li'l Abner strip - 'Lena the Hyena'.
The Lena drawing established Wolverton as a master of comics, and he contributed to Mad magazine in the 1950s, and to the short-lived 'Plop' in the 1970s. Another Wolverton creation, 'Powerhouse Pepper', began in 1942. Powerhouse Pepper was conceived as a character along the lines of Popeye or Alley Oop, an innocent comic hero who could out-punch anyone who pushed him too far. The feature lasted nearly a decade in Joker Comics, and there were five intermittent issues of Powerhouse Pepper comic books produced as well. Wolverton died in 1978.