Born in Forest Lodge, New South Wales, in 1903, Carl Raymond Lyon attended Ultimo Technical College and studied art with Jack Watkins. After spending some years as a theatrical scenery painter, he went to Queensland as a cane-cutter in 192, hoping to avoid the Depression. By 1931, he was back in Sydney working as a freelance artist. His work was published in Smith's Weekly, the Bulletin, and Humour. Although Lyon's background was in humorous cartooning, he also created numerous adventure comic titles.
Between 1930 and 1957, Lyon produced many cover drawings for western and detective magazines. In 1946, he produced an entertaining adventure comic strip called Tim O'Hara, which appeared in the Daily Mirror. Then came the Australian documentary comic Black McDermitt in 1948, which was of educational interest to children, followed by the adventure magazine The Astounding Mr. Storm in 1954.
In 1957, Lyon took over the comic strip Wally and the Major following the retirement of Stan Cross, and for the next ten years, he continued to produce one of Australia's best-known artistic daily strips. Lyon retired from the strip in 1979 and died shortly after, in 1982.
Carl Lyon studied art under the painter John Samuel Watkins (1866-1942) at Ultimo Technical College, and began his professional art career as a scenery painter at the Greater Union Theatre. The onset of the Great Depression in 1929 forced Lyon to seek work elsewhere, and saw him briefly employed as a canecutter in Queensland, before returning to Sydney (ca.1930-1931). Lyon was an industrious commercial artist throughout the 1930s, producing cartoons, caricatures, and illustrations for Smith's Weekly, The Sydney Mail, The Bulletin, and The Australian Women's Weekly.
In 1936, Lyon created 'Tootles', the first Australian-drawn comic to appear in Humour (New Century Press, Sydney, NSW, ca.1921-1960); in addition, he drew many of the magazine's cover illustrations. Lyon created a domestic comedy strip, 'Shaver, a Dinkum Aussie', for the Daily News in 1938.
Lyon produced many comic-strip serials appearing in various 'one-off' edition comic books issued by Frank Johnson Publications during World War II. Lyon's best-known works from this period include 'K-27 of the Secret Service' (Big Hit Comics, ca.1944), 'Dick Destiny, Detective' (Dynamite Comics, ca.1943-1944), and an early Australian example of the costumed superhero, 'The Eagle' (Challenge Comics, ca.1942). Lyon also wrote and illustrated several children's books for Frank Johnson Publications throughout the 1940s. (See Trigger, The Tale of a Dog; Elaine in the Forest). Lyon produced an historical adventure strip, 'New Chum', set in colonial Australia, which debuted in Syd Miller's (q.v.) short-lived children's tabloid, Monster Comic (Syd Miller Publications, Sydney, NSW, ca.1945).
After serving with the Australian Army during 1942-1945, Lyon returned to newspaper comics, creating the detective series 'Tim O'Hara' for the Daily Mirror in February 1946. This was followed by another historical adventure set in convict-era New South Wales, 'Black McDermitt' (subtitled 'An Australian Documentary'), appearing in the Sunday Sun in 1948. Lyon also drew instalments of the adult adventure comic, 'Devil Doone', written by R. Carson Gold (q.v.) for Man magazine.
During the early 1950s, Lyon drew war comics for Little Trimmer (aka Avian Tempest) (Frank Douglas James, Oakleigh, VIC, ca.1953), and developed his own detective character, The Astounding Mr. Storm (New Century Press, Sydney, NSW, ca.1953). Lyon also painted covers for the many crime, romance, and western pulp novels published by Action Comics, Calvert Publishing, and the Cleveland Publishing Company.
In 1957, Stan Cross (q.v.) approached Lyon to assist him in producing the daily and weekend newspaper editions of his popular comic strip 'Wally and the Major'. Lyon took over production of the weekend edition in 1966, followed by the daily edition in 1970, and continued drawing 'Wally and the Major' until his retirement in 1979.