Bill Ward
Born William Hess Ward
(1919-03-06)March 6, 1919
Died November 17, 1998(1998-11-17) (aged 79)
Nationality American
Area(s) Penciller
Notable works Torchy

William Hess Ward (March 6, 1919 - November 17, 1998), known as Bill Ward, was an American cartoonist notable as a good girl artist and creator of the risqué comics character Torchy.


Early life and career

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Ward grew up in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where his father was an executive with the United Fruit Company.[1]


Torchy #5 (July 1950). Cover art by Ward.

Still rooming at his college fraternity house, he received a call from Pratt regarding another job, assisting comic book artist Jack Binder. He joined Binder's small art studio, a "packager" that supplied outsourced comics pages to fledgling comic book publishers, where Pete Riss was his assistant. The studio was relocating from The Bronx to Ridgewood, New Jersey, at the time, to the upstairs loft of a barn. There, Binder drew layouts for Fawcett Comics stories, for which Riss penciled and inked figures and Ward drew the backgrounds. Features included Mister Scarlet and Pinky, Bulletman, Ibis the Invincible, Captain Battle, the Black Owl, and the adapted pulp magazine features Doc Savage and The Shadow. The studio grew to about 30 artists, with Ken Bald as the art director.

Ward's first credited works are writing and drawing an episode each of the two-page humor features Private Ward in Fawcett's Spy Smasher #2 (Winter 1941) and Bulletman #3 (January 14, 1942), published closely with each other.

Shortly thereafter, Quality Comics editor George Brenner hired Ward to write and pencil the hit aviator feature Blackhawk of World War II. Ward artwork for Military Comics #30-31 (July–August 1944), with the next several issues generally but unconfirmably credited to Al Bryant.[2]


Torchy made her comic-book debut as star of a backup feature in Quality Comics' Doll Man #8 (Spring 1946), and continued in all but three issues through #28 (May 1950), as well as in Modern Comics #53-89 (September 1946 - September 1949). A solo series, Torchy, ran six issues (November 1949 - September 1950).

Several Torchy stories, including some Fort Hamilton strips, were reprinted in Innovation Comics' 100-page, squarebound comic book Bill Ward's Torchy, The Blonde Bombshell #1 (January 1992). Others have been reprinted in fy Pages #1 (1987); AC Comics anthology Good Girl Art Quarterly #1 (Summer 1990), #10 (Fall 1992), #11 (Winter 1993), and #14 (Winter 1994), and in AC's America's Greatest Comics #5 (circa 2003). Comic Images released a set of Torchy Trading cards in 1994.[3]

Ward drew an original cover featuring Torchy for Robert M. Overstreet's annual book The Comic Book Price Guide (#8, 1978).

Later career

Pussycat-BillWard images

Ward panels from "The Adventures of Pussycat"

Ward's last confirmed comic-book work is at least one Blackhawk story in Blackhawk #63 (April 1953); another story in that issue is unconfirmed but generally credited to Ward. His last unconfirmed but generally accepted comic-book works appeared the same month: a Blackhawk story in Blackhawk #65 and a Captain Marvel Jr. tale in Fawcett Comics' The Marvel Family #84 (both June 1953).

Ward turned to magazine cartooning afterward, doing humorous spot illustrations, some featuring Torchy, for such publications as editor Abe Goodman's Humorama. Some of Ward's gag comics were collected in the Avon Books paperback Honeymoon Guide (#T-95, 1956; reprinted as #T282, 1958). Ward was also a regular artist for the satirical-humor magazine Cracked.

He did very occasional comic-book humor stories, such as the four-page "Play Pool" in Humor-Vision's satiric Pow Magazine #1 (August 1966), and, that same decade, episodes of "The Adventures of Pussycat", a risqué feature about a sexy secret agent, which ran throughout various men's adventure magazines published by Martin Goodman's Magazine Management Company. Ward dabbled in underground comics, drawing a pornographic "Stella Starlet" story in publisher John A. Mozzer's Weird Smut Comics #1 (1985) and a "Sugar Caine" story in issue #2 (1987); both were written by Dave Goode.

Ward illustrated erotic stories, written by himself, in such men's magazines as Juggs and Leg Show — an article a month for the former in his later years.[4] During this period he also did cover and interior illustrations for various paperback publishers of softcore and hardcore pornography, especially those owned by William Hamling;[5] and illustrations (primarily covers) for Screw.[6]

In a rare turn doing a mainstream comics character, Ward drew the four-page part one of a Judge Dredd story, "The Mega-City 5000", in the weekly British comic book 2000 AD #40 (November 26, 1977), reprinted in Judge Dredd: The Early Cases #3 by Eagle Comics (April 1986).



  1. Kroll, Eric. "The Best Eye Candy Money Can Buy: The Life of Bill Ward, Good Girl Artist". Archived from the original on March 6, 2009. Retrieved 2011-01-14. .
  2. Ward stated in his autobiography that he succeeded Reed Crandall, the preeminent artists of Blackhawk artist, when Crandall was drafted into the U.S. Army, but Crandall first drew the feature in Military Comics #12-22, and he was succeeded primarily by the team of the penciler John Cassone and the inker Alex Kotzky before Ward took over.
  3. Archive of Allender, Dave, ed. "Bill Ward: 50 Fabulous Years of Torchy Comic Images - 1994" (trading card checklist). Original page
  4. Kroll, p. 3. Link retrieved 2007-12-06.
  5. Linderman, Jim. "Bill Ward Paperback Book Covers" BuzzFeed October 2009
  6. Ward, Bill. "Cover" Screw March 7, 1994 (Issue 1305); New York: Milky Way Productions


External links

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