With Tears in My Soul, pencils attributed to Chris Rule (My Own Romance #6, 1949)

Christopher Rule is best remembered as an inker for Timely Comics and the Atlas line, the predecessors of Marvel Comics. In this function he was Jack Kirby's regular inker during in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Like many pencillers and inkers from the first half of the 20th century most of his contributions were unsigned and thus it remains difficult to identify the majority of his work. The core of his production was however for the Atlas romance and girls' comic books.

Christopher "Chris" Rule was born in 1894. During World War I he fulfilled his military service for the American army stationed in France. In the 1920s and 1930s he started his career as a book, fashion and advertising illustrator. Among his early work was a 'Pinocchio' "put together book" for publisher S. Gabriel & Sons. In 1943 he joined Jack Binder's studio and inked Jack Kirby and France Herron's 'Mr. Scarlet' and Otto Binder and Marc Swayze's 'Mary Marvel' for Fawcett Comics. By then already a veteran artist, Rule was employed by Timely Comics in 1944. His early work included many funny animal comics, paticularly around creations of Paul Terry, such as 'Mighty Mouse'. He was an assistant-inker for Jack Keller's back-up stories in 'Rawhide Kid'. He also pencilled and inked many romance comic books ('Junior Miss', 'Miss America Magazine', 'My Own Romance', 'Faithful', 'Love Classics', 'Love Tales', 'Girl's Life', etc.) throughout the 1940s and 1950s. Most of the pencils of these stories were done by George Klein, Mike Sekowsky or Syd Shores. One of the few identified stories was published in issue #63 of 'My Own Romance' (May 1958), where Rule did the pencilling and Vince Colletta the inking.


Wendy Parker Comics #4 (pencils credited to Chris Rule)

Rule also inked and possibly pencilled many stories starring 'Patsy Walker'. Created by Otto Binder and Ruth Atkinson, Patsy was originally a character in Miss America Magazine who had many romantic-themed adventures aiming at an audience of young girls. Several of these stories were written by Al Jaffee, Al Hartley and later Morris Weiss. Jaffee has stated in a 2004 interview that Rule was the regular artist of Patsy when he took over from issue #5. Still Rule's work is yet to be identified, as Atkinson is regularly credited with the early 'Patsy Walker' issues. The original series - which Rule co-worked on - ran from 1944 to 1967. In 1972 Patsy was reimagined as a female superheroine, written by Steve Englehart. Rule was furthermore a regular penciller for Atlas' other girls' title, 'Wendy Parker Comics' (1953-1954).

Rule also inked the horror story 'Hands of Murder' (1950) by Mike Sekowsky, published in Adventures Into Terror. For Syd Shores he inked the medieval features 'Black Knight' and 'Crusader' in 'Black Knight' (1955), and stories in 'Six-Gun Western' (1957) and 'World of Suspense' (1957). For Werner Roth he inked a story for the mythological comic book 'Venus' (1950). He also contributed to many science fiction and fantasy stories, including 'Famous Explorers of Space' in Space Squadron & Space Worlds.


Cover art with pencils attributed to Chris Rule

The artist holds historical significance for being Jack Kirby's inker after Kirby's return to the company in the late 1950s. He remained Kirby's regular inker during pre-superhero years, contributing to issues #51, 52, 54 and 56 of 'Journey into Mystery' (1959-1960), issue #51 of 'Gunsmoke Western' (1959), issue #86 of 'Kid Colt: Outlaw' (1959), issues # 67-70 of 'Strange Tales' (1959), issue #85 of Love Romances (1960), issues #66 and 67 of 'Battle' (1959), issue # 3 of 'Strange Worlds' (1959), issues # 2-4 and 6 of 'Tales of Suspense' (1959), issues # 1, 5 and 6 of 'Tales to Astonish' (1959), issues # 15, 16 and 18 of 'World of Fantasy' (1958-1959) and 'What Was the Strange Power of Simon Drudd?' in issue #10 of Tales to Astonish (1960). He remained Kirby's inker until Dick Ayers succeeded him.

Christopher Rule retired around 1960 and passed away in 1983 at the age of 88.


Text story from Miss America Comics v7 #2 (art credited by Chris Rule)

Atlas Tales

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