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1951-06 New Detective
1956-09 Classics #01
1954-Fall Thrilling Love
1956-11 Classics #03
1955-Spr Exciting Love
1956-03 Classics #19
1956-Fall Thrilling Love
1957-05 Dream World
1954-05 Dell Comic
1955-06 The American
1954-11 Cisco Kid Comic
1955-12 Advertisement
















John William Parker, Jr. was born July 16, 1917 in Barrington, Rhode Island. His father, John William Parker, Sr., was born in 1886 in Mansfield, England, and came to America in 1888. His mother, Grace Darling Tyler, was born in 1887 in Rhode Island. His parents married in 1910 and had three children, Mason (b.1913), Dorothy (b.1915), and John (b.1917). The family lived in Barrington at 20 Massasoit Avenue. The father was a mechanical engineer at a machine tool factory.

In June of 1935 John W. Parker, Jr. graduated from Barrington High School, where he had become interested in a career as a commercial artist.

In September of 1935 he began to attend the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. He enrolled as a part-time student, because he had to support himself by working full-time as a staff artist at a local advertising agency. He lived in Providence on Prospect Street. After four years, he was awarded a certificate of course completion in July of 1939.

In August of 1939 he left Rhode Island and moved to New York City to seek his fortune as a commercial artist. He worked as a staff artist at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency at 420 Lexington Avenue. The artist rented a tenement apartment, with a fold-away Murphy bed, in the Bronx on 184th Street.

While working at the ad agency, John W. Parker began to sell free-lance illustrations to pulp magazines. He drew interior black and white story illustrations as well as painted covers. In the autumn months of 1940, he quit the ad agency and started his own free-lance art studio at 330 West 72nd Street.

On January 21, 1941 John W. Parker was drafted in the Army. He served with distinction in the European Theater. He fought in five battle campaigns, was awarded the Silver Star Medal, and received two Purple Hearts. He was honorably discharged on September 20, 1945.

After the war he returned to NYC to resume his career as a commercial artist with a full-time job at the J. Walter Thompson agency. He rented an apartment in Queens.

In 1947 the artist's father died at the age of sixty-one in Rhode Island.

While employed as a staff artist, John W. Parker sold freelance illustrations to Collier's, Coronet, The Elks, and The American Magazine. He also illustrated short stories that appeared in nationwide newspapers through the Hearst Syndicate.

On August 2, 1951 John W. Parker, Jr. married Dorothy Jane Hunt. She was born January 6, 1931 in Swansea, Massachusetts, where her parents were caretakers of the Martin House, an historic landmark museum, built in 1728, and owned by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. She was a high school graduate and worked in Providence as a file clerk at an insurance company. They had six children, John (b.1952), Ford (b.1953), Christian (b.1954), Jill (b.1957), Robin (b.1960), and Paul (b.1962). The family lived in Queens, while the artist commuted to his art studio in NYC.

In 1951 John W. Parker began to paint covers for pulp magazines, such as Exciting Love, Thrilling Love, Popular Love, New Detective, and Love Book. He never signed his work. He hired professional models from agencies, but he also used his wife, relatives and friends as models. He also posed as his own model for reference material.

In 1952 he formed an art agency in partnership with Jay William Weaver (1893-1966), a newspaper advertising artist. Some of their clients were Noxema, RCA, and Remington Firearms.

In 1954 he began to paint covers for comic books that were published by Dell, such as The Cisco Kid and Ben Bowie.

In 1954, after the birth of their third child, the wife and children left Queens and moved to the maternal grandparent's home in Swansea, where they lived on the historic Martin Farm. The artist continued to live in the Queens apartment and worked in NYC five days a week, but on the weekends, he traveled to the Martin Farm to be with his family.

One year later the Parker family left the Martin Farm in Swansea, and moved to 1152 Anna Street in Teaneck, New Jersey. The artist continued to rent his NYC art studio at 270 Park Avenue, but commuted to the city every weekday.

In 1956 he began to paint covers for Classics Illustrated Comics, such as The Three Musketeers, Joan of Arc, Huckleberry Finn, and The Count of Monte Cristo. None of these covers were signed, and none received printed credit.

In November of 1957 John W. Parker and his family left New York and New Jersey and moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he had been hired to work as a staff artist at Scope Studios, and advertising agency located at 3120 Jenkins Street in the Arcade Building. The company was founded by Stephen J. Kusky (1918-1999) in partnership with George S. Erdner (1926-1985). The Parker family lived at 119 Grandview Avenue in Glenshaw, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

In 1961 John W. Parker was made a business partner of Scope Studios. Here is an example of the work he produced in the 1960s for Scope Studios.

In 1962 the artist and his family bought a home at 1799 Sample Road in McCandless, another suburb of Pittsburgh.

In 1963 Scope Studios moved into larger office space in the Arcade Building to accommodate their expanding business.

In 1968 the artist formed a partnership with another graphic artist, Anthony J. Manuel (1936-2003), to found Advertising & Communication Services (ACS) at 212 Market Street in Pittsburgh.

In the 1970s the artist taught illustration at the Ivy School of Professional Art, at 270 Market Street. The school was founded in 1960 by Morris Behr Kirshenbaum (1918-2003).

On May 9, 1982, the artist's mother, Grace Darling Tyler Parker, died at the age of ninety-four in Pittsburgh.

In 1983 John W. Parker, age sixty-six, retired from commercial art.

On July 10, 1991 the artist sold the family home in McCandless, and moved to 142 Sunset Drive in Pittsburgh.

John W. Parker died at the age of eighty-six in the Veterans Administration Hospital of Butler, PA, on February 1, 2004.

                          © David Saunders 2019

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