J. Koerner is the author of what is said to be the first actual superhero comic: 'Hugo Hercules'. The strip appeared in the early 20th century in the Chicago Tribune, a newspaper of which Koerner was a staff artist. Koerner was born in Lunden, Germany and emigrated to Clinton, Iowa in 1880. He moved to Chicago in 1898, where he began his collaboration with the newspaper. Koerner didn't feel the potential of a superhero at the time, and ended his collaboration with the Tribune to study fine art under Howard Pyle. In his later years, he became an accomplished painter and western illustrator, among others for the Evening Post's series 'Traveling the Old Trails' and 'The Covered Wagon'.
Images and text derived from an article by Peter Maresca in Comic Art #7Artwork © 1938 William H. D. Koerner
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Last updated: 2008-05-09