Earl Eugene Mayan was born June 19, 1916 in Hempstead, Long Island, NY. His father was Louis S. Mayan, and his mother was Eleanor "Ellen" Mayan. Both of his parents were native New Yorkers. His father was the Chief Clerk at the Telephone Company. His older brother, Louis, was a draftsman. They lived at 205 Lord Avenue in Hempstead, NY.
In 1930 the family bought their own home at 161 Cochran Place, which was valued at $7,500. In 1933 after finishing high school in Hempstead he studied for four years at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. There he met Edd Cartier and H. Winfield Scott, who introduced him to doing story illustrations for pulp magazines.
After graduating in 1936 he and Cartier shared an art studio on the Upper West Side. He found work drawing story illustrations for pulp magazines, such as Action Stories, All-Adventure Action Novels, Clues Detective Stories, Complete Adventure, Complete Sports, Ka-Zar, and Western Fiction. He was paid the standard rate of $7.50 for each one-page drawing and $15 for a double-spread.
In 1940 he began an ongoing assignment to illustrate the adventures of The Shadow for Street & Smith. He got this job by replacing his friend, Edd Cartier, who had resigned after doing it for four years.
On August 19, 1941 he was drafted into the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a private. He was recorded to be single, and to be five-foot-eight and to weigh 144 pounds. After two years of extensive training he was attached to the British 8th Army and sent to England, France, and Germany. He was discharged in the Fall of 1945.
After the war he resumed his career as a pulp illustrator, and worked for Argosy and Adventure. He soon found better-paying work as a freelance illustrator for McCall's Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post.
In 1948 he married Marjorie Mayan and they moved to 10 Henhawk Lane in Huntington on Long Island, NY, where they raised two daughters, Susan and Kathleen.
During the 1950s he also worked as a cover artist for paperback books for such publishers as Bantam Books, Bonanza Books, Dell, Monarch Books, Random House, and Reader's Digest. He also worked for digest magazines, such as Alfred Hitchcock Mysteries, Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone, and Zane Grey's Western.
In the 1960s he worked for men's adventure magazines, such as Adventure, Argosy, and True.
In 1962 he began teaching classes in Fine Art and Illustration at the Art Students League. Teaching brought out his verbal skills and he began to write his memoirs, poetry, and children's books.
In 1995 he retired from teaching.
He continued to paint landscapes, still lifes, portraits, and to explore abstract art.
Earl Mayan died in Huntington on December 12, 2009 at the age of ninety-three.
© David Saunders 2009