After graduation from high school, Russell (Russ) Manning studied at the Los Angeles Art Institute. Soon after completing his studies, Manning was sent to Japan, with the intention of being shipped to Korea. Instead of fighting in the war, Manning drew cartoons for the base newspaper and took on map-making.
In 1953, Manning joined the Dell Publications team that created the 'Tarzan' comic, among others. Manning worked on their entire line of comics, including 'Brothers of the Spear' and 'Korak', before he took over the 'Tarzan' comic from Jesse Marsh in 1965. Soon, United Feature Syndicate put Manning on the daily 'Tarzan' strip as well. Although he was praised by everyone for his work, the 'Tarzan' feature was a commercial failure. In 1972, Russ Manning left the daily strip to concentrate on the Sunday pages and on 'Tarzan' stories for the European market (Germany, Scandinavia).
Russ Manning also created the science fiction comic series 'The Aliens' (1963-70) and 'Magnus, Robot Fighter' (1963-68) for the Gold Key comic books. Especially 'Magnus', stood out for its excellent artwork. The hero was a kind of Tarzan of the future and was taken over by Dan Spiegle and Paul Norris after Manning's departure. In the 1980s and 1990s, the comic character was taken over by publisher Valiant (later Acclaim), and new comics appeared in the series.