Airboy by Fred Kida
Airboy Comics V2 issue 12, 1946

Fred Kida was an American comic book artist, whose career began during the Golden Age of comic books, and spanned almost 50 years. Coming from a family of Japanese-American descent, he was born in Brooklyn and raised in Manhattan. He attended the American School of Design from 1938. Kida broke into the comic book profession as an inker and background artist at the Jerry Iger Studios in 1941. In the following year, he moved to Quality where he drew his first own feature 'Phantom Clipper' for Military Comics. He then worked for Hillman Periodicals for seven years on feature like 'Iron Ace', 'The Boy King', 'The Heap' and 'Gunmaster'. His most notable work for Hillman was on the 'Airboy' feature from 1943 to 1948, that was created by Charles Biro.

After leaving 'Airboy' in 1948, Kida began to split his time mostly between Charles Biro's crime books at Lev Gleason and Stan Lee's Atlas line. He was one of the prominent contributors of stories to Biro's 'Crime Does Not Pay' title until 1953. Other work he did for Biro included romance stories and the features 'Desperado', 'Air Devil', 'Pee Wee and the Little Wise Guys', and 'Uncle Charlie's Fables'. At Atlas Kida mainly concentrated on war and western features, such as 'Ringo Kid', but he also drew for the horror titles, and for 'Bible Tales for Young Folk', 'Tales of Young Folk', 'Waku Prince of the Bantu', 'The Black Night', 'Lorna the Jungle Girl' and 'Willie the Wise-Guy'.

Airboy by Fred KidaClue Comics, by Fred Kida

Besides Lev Gleason and Atlas, Kida additionally ghosted for Bob Fujitani on the 'Judge Wright' newspaper strip in 1947-1948, and made the monthly features 'Science Silhouettes' and 'Eagle Trailer' for Boys Life magazine. His art further appeared in 'Buster Brown' promotional comics and comic books published by Avon Comics. Other 1950s work included adventure, crime, western, mystery horror, and romance stories for Toby Press, Dell, Feature Comics, Charlton, and Harvey.

Marvel Tales, by Fred Kida
Spider Waits (Marvel Tales #105, Feb 1952)

He left comic books in the late 1950s, and then mainly focused on magazine and newspaper work. He had assisted Dan Barry on the 'Flash Gordon' daily strip since the mid 1950s, and remained associated with the comic with some interruptions until 1971. During the 1960s, he was one of Milton Caniff's assistants on 'Steve Canyon', and he also worked for George Wunder on 'Terry and the Pirates'. He returned to comic books in the 1960s, as an inker for several Marvel titles, and a penciller for 'Captain America' and 'What If…?'. He was hired to replace Larry Lieber as the artist of the daily 'Amazing Spider-Man' strip in 1981, and continued to work on the feature until his retirement in 1991.

When he passed away in 2014, Fred Kida was one of the last remaining artists from the Golden Age of Comic Books. On a personal base, he also served as an elder in the Port Chester Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses.

Spider-Man by Fred Kida

Fred Kida obituary by The Comics Journal

Last updated: 2015-05-01

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