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Best known for his work on DC’s Superman family of titles and Marvel’s Spider-Man comics, Jim Mooney (1919 – 2008) launched his professional comic career with work in the pulp magazine Weird Tales.  He went on to illustrate The Moth for Fox’s Mystery Men Comics (issues #9-12), Camilla and Suicide Smith for Fiction House, and funny animal stories for not only the Catholic-oriented Treasure Chest but also the company that would eventually become Marvel (Timely Comics).

As the popularity of funny animal stories declined, Mooney began to cast about for other work.  Landing at DC, he began illustrating Batman as a ghost artist for Bob Kane after Dick Sprang left the series. From there, he went on to illustrate the features “Dial H for Hero” and Tommy Tomorrow in House of Mystery and Action Comics, respectively. He also illustrated the Superboy series and, most famously at DC, Supergirl.

From 1959 to 1968, Mooney illustrated the adventures of the Maid of Might in her backup feature in Action Comics. Though credit for the creation of Supergirl goes to Otto Binder and Al Plastino, Mooney ultimately became the quintessential Supergirl artist, illustrating the stories that laid the foundations of her biography and that would go on to influence the latter characters that would assume her name.

Mooney left DC after the company began moving their artistic style towards that of Neal Adams. Joining Marvel, he inked The Amazing Spider-Man over penciller John Romita, Sr. from 1968 until 1970.  He also worked on such titles as The Spectacular Spider-Man, Marvel Team-Up, Man-Thing, Spidey Super Stories, and others.

In his later career, Mooney also illustrated Star Rangers, Ann Rice’s The Mummy comic adaptation, Elvria, Mistress of the Dark, Soulsearchers, and Lady Supreme.

But it is for Kara Zor-El, Supergirl, that Mooney remains most remembered by fans. Though she died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, with even the memory of her existence erased after the merging of DC’s multiverse into one unified existence, she nevertheless remains fondly remembered by fans and even makes infrequent appearances in DC continuity. In the Christmas story “Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot” by Alan Brennert and Dick Giordano, she appears (in regular clothing) to a discouraged Boston Brand (Deadman) reminding him that he is human and that his spirit, at least, survives and that he should be thankful for that. Surprised that she can see his normally invisible ghost-form, Brand asks who she is. “My name is Kara,” she says. “Though I doubt that will mean anything to you.” Brennert and Giordano dedicated the story to Otto Binder and Mooney, concluding “We still remember.”

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