By: Dave Astor
John Cullen Murphy, who drew “Prince Valiant” for nearly 34 years before retiring several months ago, died Friday at the age of 85.
Murphy decided to become an illustrator in 1934, after he was approached by neighbor Norman Rockwell to be the model for a Saturday Evening Post cover. Rockwell went on to mentor Murphy.
The World War II veteran began working on the “Big Ben Bolt” strip in 1949. He took over “Prince Valiant” in 1970 from Hal Foster, who had created the comic 33 years before. In 1979, John’s son — Cullen Murphy, managing editor of The Atlantic Monthly — began writing the strip.
The Sunday-only “Prince Valiant” appears in more than 300 newspapers via King Features Syndicate. Gary Gianni now draws it.
During his career, the late Murphy also served as president of the National Cartoonists Society.