Jack Oleck

Jack Oleck
Born (1914-03-01)March 1, 1914[1]
Died March 10, 1981(1981-03-10) (aged 67)
Massapequa Park,New York[2]
Nationality American
Area(s) Writer
Notable works
Messalina, DC Comics horror titles

Jack Oleck (March 1, 1914 – March 10, 1981)[2] was an American novelist and comic book writer particularly known for his work in the horror genre.

The brother-in-law of comics pioneer Joe Simon,[3][4] Oleck's comic book career was basically in two parts. During the Golden Age of comics Oleck wrote for EC Comics and the Simon-Jack Kirby Studio. After the mid-1950s temporary collapse of the industry following the publication of Fredric Wertham's Seduction of the Innocent and the establishment of the Comics Code Authority, Oleck left comics, instead writing novels and publishing an interior design magazine. From the late 1960s until his death in 1981, Oleck worked for DC Comics as a writer for their extensive line of horror/suspense titles.


Early career

Oleck's first comics credit was as a writer for Lev Gleason Publications' Silver Streak, in 1940.[4] He served in the U.S. Army during World War II, leaving the service as a sergeant.[5]

Golden Age

In 1948, using his connection as Simon's brother-in-law, Oleck joined the Simon-Kirby studio, which produced material for such publishers as Quality Comics, Hillman Periodicals, and Simon & Kirby's own Mainline Publications.[4] Oleck quickly established himself as "the number one scriptwriter for Simon and Kirby,"[3] producing romance stories, war stories and crime features, in addition to the burgeoning field of horror comics.[6]

EC Comics editor Al Feldstein recruited Oleck in the early 1950s, where he became one of the main writers of Crime SuspenStories. Oleck also scripted stories for EC's The Vault of Horror and Weird Science-Fantasy, as well as the EC Picto-Fiction titles, Crime Illustrated, Shock Illustrated and Terror Illustrated.[6]

Novelist and magazine publisher

After temporarily leaving comics, Oleck was the publisher and editor of Interior Decorator News from 1957-1969.[4] During this period, Oleck wrote a popular pulp fiction historical novel, Messalina, about the Roman empress, which has been republished many times. He penned a second historical novel, Theodora, reflecting his fascination with and great knowledge about the Roman Empire. Oleck followed with a few more, lesser known books as well as at least one television script.

DC Comics

Horror comics made a comeback in the late 1960s, and Oleck joined DC Comics' stable of writers in 1968. His first story for DC, "The House of Gargoyles", was published in House of Mystery #175 (July-August 1968).[6]

He became a regular contributor to such titles as Forbidden Tales of Dark Mansion, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, Secrets of Sinister House, Tales of Ghost Castle, Weird Mystery Tales and Weird War Tales.[6] He also returned to the romance field, scripting stories for DC's Young Love and Young Romance, both titles Oleck had written for in the 1950s which had subsequently been acquired by DC.[4]

For House of Mystery #194 (Sept. 1971), Oleck wrote the seven-page story "The King Is Dead", which was illustrated by Nestor Redondo in his earliest U.S. credit. Conversely, Oleck wrote the final story Golden Age artist Bernard Baily drew, the eight-page "His Brother's Keeper", for House of Mystery #279 (April 1980).[6]

Oleck and artist Alex Niño created the science-fiction feature "Space Voyagers" in Rima, the Jungle Girl #1 (May 1974).[6] Oleck and Alfredo Alcala created Kong the Untamed in 1975, and Oleck was the writer of the short-lived series starring Kong.[7] Oleck's final story for DC was "Legend of the Lost" in House of Mystery #287 (Dec. 1980).[6]

In the 1970s, Oleck wrote horror paperback novels, including two film tie-ins.


Comic books

Charlton Comics

DC Comics

EC Comics

Harvey Comics

  • Alarming Tales #2-4 (1957-1958)
  • Black Cat #62 (1958)

Hillman Periodicals

  • Pirates Comics #1-4 (1950)

Mainline Publications

  • Foxhole #3-4 (1955)

Marvel Comics

Prize Publications

  • Black Magic #35 (1957)
  • Strange World of Your Dreams #4 (1953)
  • Young Romance #4 (1948)



  1. "United States Social Security Death Index," , FamilySearch accessed March 19, 2013), Jack Oleck, March 1981.
  2. 1 2 Social Security Death Index, SS# 115-01-6988.
  3. 1 2 Simon, Joe; Simon, Jim (2003). The Comic Book Makers. Vanguard Productions. ISBN 978-1887591355.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 Bails, Jerry. "Oleck, Jack". Who's Who of American Comic Books, 1928–1999. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
  5. "Behind the Panels". "50 Girls 50" and Other Stories Illustrated by Al Williamson. Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books. 2013. p. 242. ISBN 978-1606995778.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Jack Oleck at the Grand Comics Database
  7. McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Writer Jack Oleck and artist Alfredo Alcala focused on a primitive, powerful theme with which to depict the prehistoric warrior Kong in his debut issue: a growing son's bond with his mother.

External links

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