Serene Summerfield, the preferred pen-name of Serena Summerfield, (August 9, 1885 - July 1966) was a commercial artist and one of the first women to contribute original work to comic books.
Life and CareerEdit
Summerfield was born in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to Morris and Anne (Davison) Summerfield. Her father was a German immigrant and dry goods and women's clothing merchant. By 1908, the family had moved to the Bronx, and Summerfield was attending Cooper Union, where she won a design award for a Renaissance-style inlaid table top. By 1910, she was working as a wallpaper designer. By 1920, she and her brother Jerome we both working as "reproductional artists".
After a brief period in Baltimore, Summerfield moved to Brooklyn in 1922 with her parents. Her earliest published work were illustrations for 40 Years of Hardware, the memoirs of businessman Saunders Norvell. By 1925, she had her own studio. By 1930, she was working as a poster artist, possibly for the same company as her brother Jerome, the Nuart Poster Company.
Her first known comics work was a two-page science-fiction piece entitled "Stratosphere Special", which appeared in New Comics #4 (cover dated March-April, 1936) for DC Comics predecessor, National Allied Newspaper Syndicate, Inc. The second and last installment appeared in New Comics #5. She then took the concept to Henle Publications as the near-identical "Space Limited (Above the Stratosphere)", which was published in Wow, What A Magazine! #1-4.
The rest of her career is unclear, though it is possible she worked for the Iger studio during the Golden Age. Very little else is known about her, aside from the fact that she never married and died in 1966 at the age of 81.
- Quattro, Ken. "Serene Summerfield: The First Lady of Comic Books", The Comics Detective, 2 Dec 2010
- 1940 US Census record