Peter Anthony Costanza was born May 19, 1913 in Manhattan, NYC. His father, Benedict Costanza, was born 1884 in Italy and emigrated to America in 1904. His mother, Elvira Costanza, was born 1892 in Italy and emigrated in 1905. His parents met in NYC and married in 1909. They had four children, of which he was the first born. His sisters Teresa, Gilda, and Gloria were born in 1915, 1917 and 1924. His family lived at 440 Avenue E in Bayonne, New Jersey. His father worked as a tailor at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.
In June 1931 he graduated Bayonne High School, where he had become interested in a commercial art career.
By 1934 he was drawing pen and ink illustrations for pulp magazines. His work appeared in Ace-High Magazine, Action Stories, Dime Western, The Lone Ranger, Super Sports, Sports Winners, Complete Northwest, Thrilling Western, Popular Detective, and Famous Western.
In 1939 he began to draw comic books for Fawcett publications, where he worked as assistant to C. C. Beck in creating Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family.
In 1941 he married Yolanda C. Scarinci. She was born August 23, 1910 in Crecchio, Italy. Her parents were Constantino and Rosaria Lombardi Scarinci. She worked as a salesperson for the Sears Roebuck Company of Hackensack, NJ.
On June 18, 1942 he registered for military service in WWII. He was stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, where he produced instructional publications and training posters in a graphic arts department. He was honorably discharged on May 4, 1943.
After the war he and his wife moved to Hasbrouk Heights, New Jersey, where they raised two sons, Edward and Peter. The family attended Corpus Christi Church in Hasbrouck Heights. Later in life they attended St. Ann's Church in Hampton, New Jersey.
In 1944 he returned to work at Fawcett Comics. According to another Fawcett artist, Marc Swayze, "As C. C. Beck's assistant, Costanza never fully emerged from the older artist's shadow. Pete was a fast layout artist and a great joker. He was a wonderful man to know."
He stayed with Fawcett Comics until they folded in 1953 after losing an expensive and long-running lawsuit over Captain Marvel's alleged infringement of DC Comics' copyrighted character Superman.
In 1954 he began to work for Gilberton Company's Classics Illustrated Comics. This same publisher also employed several other ex-pulp artists, such as H. C. Kiefer, Gerald McCann, and Norman Saunders.
During the 1950s he supplemented his income by doing freelance work illustrating stories in pulp magazines, such as Future Fiction, Double Action Western, and Famous Western.
In 1966 he began to draw for DC Comics, where he contributed to several Jimmy Olsen stories.
In 1971 he suffered a stroke that left his right side paralyzed, which forced him to retire.
While in retirement he learned to paint with his left hand, He went on to create hundreds of oil paintings of adventure, romance and American History.
Peter Costanza died in Hackensack, NJ, at the age of seventy-one on June 28, 1984.
© David Saunders 2011