Superman, by Leo Nowak
The Heat Horror (Superman #18)

Leo Nowak was an American comics artist who worked as an assistant to Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. He illustrated various 'Superman' stories, as well as the additional feature 'Robotman', for the early 1940s comic books of National Periodicals (DC Comics).

Leonard "Leo" Nowak was born in 1907 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He studied art where two of his fellow students were Frank N. Wilcox and Henry Keller. After graduation he tried to make a living as a painter and musician. In September 1940 he painted a mural in a New York nightclub where he heard that Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, creators of 'Superman', were looking for an assistant. Nowak applied for the job and was instantly hired. He replaced Paul Cassidy and remained at the studios until early 1943. His major contribution to the franchise was designing Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor as a bald man. Before Nowak the character was always depicted with red hair. Nowak also illustrated Jerry Siegel's character 'Robotman' (1942) in 'Star Spangled Comics'. Other artists who worked in the "Shuster Shop" during this period were Wayne Boring, John Sikela and Ed Dobrotka.

In 1943 Nowak was drafted in the U.S. army during World War II. After serving as a battalion artist during World War II, he moved to Southern California, where he went into advertising and began painting western murals. For 25 years he was the chief illustrator for Stamps-Conheim Newspaper Advertising Service in Los Angeles. Moving to the desert community of Inyokern in the mid-1970s, Nowak illustrated political cartoons for The Daily Independent in Ridgecrest for twelve years. He passed away in 2001.


Robotman (Star Spangled Comics #12)

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