Alex Raymond is the creator of Flash Gordon, as well as Jungle Jim. He was hired to do both in direct competition with popular comic strips featuring Buck Rogers and Tarzan. His first job in comics was assisting Russ Westover with Tillie the Toiler. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1944, and was stationed on the USS Gilbert Islands. There, he saw action in Okinawa and Borneo. After the war, Raymond began a new comic strip, Rip Kirby. During his career, he also illustrated Secret Agent X-9, which was written by The Maltese Falcon author, Dashiell Hammett. He won the Billy DeBeck Memorial Award in 1949 for Rip Kirby, and was inducted posthumously into the Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1996. He was also the President of the National Cartoonists Society from 1950 through 1951. Raymond died at the age of 46 in a car accident, survived by his wife and children. He is the great-uncle of actors Matt and Kevin Dillon.