They Also Served: H.J. Ward

Artist & Illustrator


Despite his short life (he died of lung cancer at the age of 35), HUGH JOSEPH WARD cut a wide swath, responsible for some off the most sensational and iconic pulp mag covers of all time, working for Munsey, Dell and Popular, but mostly for Culture Publication’s notorious Spicy line–which means his stuff is right in your face, full of virtually naked babes and drooling, laviscious ghouls (along with the occasional impossibly broad-shouldered hero). He also did paintings for George Trendle’s radio syndicate, and was thus responsible for some of the earliest visual images we have of The Lone Ranger, The Green Hornet and yes, that iconic pic of Superman up there. If that’s not how you picture Superman, you’re wrong.

He was finding steady work in the pulps, and by 1941, he was shopping a portfolio of his illustrations around (been there, done that) to editors and art directors in hopes of landing some gigs in the more lucrative fields of advertising and the slicks.

And then duty called. He was inducted into the American Army in April 1944, but soon after enlistment, Ward began experiencing problems with his shoulder. Less than a year later, he  was dead.


  • Covers for Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective, Spicy Detective, Spicy Mystery, Spicy Western, Ace-High Magazine, Western Story Magazine, Red Star Detective, Wild West Weekly and Sure-Fire Screen Stories.


  • Saunders, David,
    H.J. Ward
     | Buy this book
    (2001, The Illustrated Press Inc.)
    The best reference book on the life work of legendary pulp artist H.J.Ward ever, meticulously researched and beautifully produced, with over 500 illustrations to drool over, including more than 75 original pulp cover paintings as well as a biography, family photos, and a comprehensive checklist. 
  • Dare to Judge This Book
    Some Other Great Pulp & Paperback Cover Artists
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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