Jerry Iger

Jerry Iger
Born Samuel Maxwell Iger
August 22, 1903
Idabel, Oklahoma
Died September 5, 1990
Sunnyside, Queens, New York City
Area(s) Cartoonist, Writer, Editor, Publisher
Notable works
Eisner & Iger

Samuel Maxwell "Jerry" Iger (/ˈɡər/; August 22, 1903 September 5, 1990)[1] was an American cartoonist. With business partner Will Eisner he co-founded Eisner & Iger, a comic book packager that produced comics on demand for new publishers during the late-1930s and 1940s period known to fans and historians as the Golden Age of Comic Books.

Iger is not related to comic book publisher Fred Iger. Iger was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009.


Early life and career

Jerry Iger was born in Idabel, Oklahoma, near the Choctaw Indian reservation.[2] The youngest of four children of an Austrian peddler who'd settled in what was then the pre-statehood Indian Territory, Iger contracted polio as a child and was cared for by his mother, Rosa.[3] Iger had two sisters,[4] and a brother, Joe, whose son Arthur Iger (b. 1926)[5] would become the father of The Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Robert Iger.[6] Arthur by the mid-1970s was vice president and publisher of the educational division of Macmillan Publishing in New York City.[7]

In 1925, Iger, by then living in New York, and despite no formal art training, became a news cartoonist for the New York American.[8] He entered the fledgling comic-book field 10 years later, contributing such one-page humor strips as "Bobby" (whose eponymous character was based on nephew Arthur),[2] "Peewee" and "Happy Daze" to Famous Funnies, one of those seminal American comic books that reprinted black-and-white newspaper strips in color. Iger became founding editor of another such early comic book, Wow, What a Magazine!, which also included some new material. Wow lasted four issues (cover-dated July-Sept. & Nov. 1936) but brought Iger together with a 19-year-old Eisner — future creator of The Spirit — who wrote and drew the Wow adventure strip "Scott Dalton", the pirate strip "The Flame" and the secret agent strip "Harry Karry".[9]

Comics packager

Main article: Eisner & Iger

After Wow folded, Eisner and Iger, anticipating that the well of available reprints would soon run dry, in late 1936 formed Eisner & Iger,[10] one of the first comics "packagers" that produced outsourced comic-book material for publishers entering the new medium. Eisner & Iger was an immediate success, and the two soon had a stable of creators supplying work to Fox Comics, Fiction House, Quality Comics, and others. Turning a profit of $1.50 a page, Eisner claimed that he "got very rich before I was 22",[11] later detailing that in Depression-era 1939 alone, he and Iger "had split $25,000 between us",[12] a considerable amount for the time.

After Eisner left the firm in 1940, Iger would continue to package comics as the S. M. Iger Studio. He also started the small Phoenix Features newspaper syndicate, which in the early 1950s distributed a comic strip of Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer.[13]

Later career

Iger closed the comics studio in 1955 and served as an art director for the comic-book publisher Farrell Publications, a.k.a. Ajax-Farrell Publications, until 1957, whereupon he moved to commercial advertising artwork. He was a guest of honor at the 1974 New York Comic Art Convention, where he told a panel audience of his plans for an art show to raise money for cancer research, saying his mother had died of the disease.[14] By this time, he made his home in the Sunnyside neighborhood in Queens, New York City.[7]

Blackthorne Publishing has released three compilations of Iger-related comics: The Iger Comics Kingdom (1985); Jerry Iger's Classic Jumbo Comics; and Jerry Iger's Classic National Comics; as well as the six-issue series Jerry Iger's Golden Features (1986).


Iger was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2009.[15]


  1. Social Security Death Index for SSN 095-14-1180.
  2. 1 2 Adelman, Bob. Will Eisner: A Spirited Life (M Press, Milwaukie, Oregon, 2005), ISBN 1-59582-011-6, ISBN 978-1-59582-011-2, p. 351
  3. Adelman, pp. 351–2
  4. Adelman, p. 353
  5. Adelman, p. 352
  6. Adelman, pp. 350–1
  7. 1 2 Adelman, p. 354
  8. Jerry Iger at the Lambiek Comiclopedia
  9. Quattro, Ken (2003). "Rare Eisner: Making of a Genius". Comicartville Library. Archived from the original on December 20, 2009.
  10. Eisner interview, Alter Ego #48 (May 2005), p. 7
  11. Mercer, Marilyn, "The Only Real Middle-Class Crimefighter", New York (Sunday supplement, New York Herald Tribune), Jan. 9, 1966; reprinted Alter Ego #48, May 2005
  12. Heintjes, Tom (September 1992). "The Spirit: The Origin Years" (#3). Kitchen Sink Press.
  13. Walker, Peter; et al. (n.d.). "Mike Hammer > Comics Strip". Retrieved July 7, 2013.
  14. Lovece, Frank (1974 (fanzine published by Paul Kowtiuk, Maple Leaf Publications; editorial office then at Box 1286, Essex, Ontario, Canada N0R 1E0)). "Cons: New York 1974!". The Journal Summer Special. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  15. "2009 Eisner Award winners". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.

Further reading

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