EL PASO, Texas, July 23 (UPI) -- Archie Comics artist Tom Moore has died of lung cancer at age 86, leaving a legacy that captured teen angst in comic book form.
Moore's comics picturesquely documented the teenage adventures of red-haired, freckle-faced Archie Andrews and friends.
Brad Wilson, owner of El Paso's All Star Comics & Games, said Moore is a legend in the Texas city, yet many do not realize how much he has influenced comic book art. He added that Moore would frequent All Star as he looked for old issues of his comics.
Moore graduated from Austin High School and served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. That is where he got his start in cartooning, after he drew and showed off a caricature of his captain. He was called to the captain's office and instead of being punished was reassigned to the role of staff cartoonist, commissioned to create a strip called "Chick Call," which ran in military publications.
After leaving the Navy, Moore attended art school in New York through the GI bill. He refined his skills through the guidance of "Tarzan" illustrator Burne Hogarth. Shortly thereafter, he signed up with Archie Comics, whose titular character had been created by Bob Montana in 1941. He got into the rhythm of producing one comic book a month and working six months in advance. During the 1960s, annual sales of the comics reached more than half a milion.
After a break in 1961, Moore returned to cartooning in 1970 and remained with the company through the late '80s. He helped with the revival of Archie's friend Jughead and earned the praise of staffers at the company who celebrated his ability to write gags and produce special pages. He earned the recognition of a cartoonist's cartoonist, though Moore's son said his dad called himself a professional humorist.
He also illustrated Snuffy Smith, Mighty Mouse and Underdog.
The artist is survived by his wife, Ruth, and his children Lito Bujanda-Moore and Holly Mathew.