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Alter Ego #39

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ALTER EGO #39 is the JERRY ROBINSON ISSUE, from BATMAN to BLACK TERROR to COMIC STRIPS—and BEYOND! Behind two fantastic full-color covers by JERRY ROBINSON, we present his longest in-depth interview ever, with the man who became BOB KANE’s first “ghost” on Batman—conducted by JIM AMASH! Half the issue is devoted almost entirely to his Batman work! There’s a multitude of scarce, even never-seen art by JERRY ROBINSON—of the Batman characters, and many more! Also, plenty of rare art by Jerry’s friends & colleagues—BOB KANE, MORT MESKIN, GEORGE ROUSSOS, FRED RAY, JOE SHUSTER, DICK SPRANG, CHARLES PARIS, CHARLES BIRO, STEVE DITKO, & others! Plus: FCA with MARC SWAYZE, C.C. BECK, and the Fawcett/Charlton Connection—MICHAEL T. GILBERT—and MORE!

Text of Alter Ego #39

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  • Alter EgoTM is published monthly by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Single issues:$8 ($10 Canada, $11.00 elsewhere). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $60 US, $120 Canada, $132 elsewhere. All characters are theirrespective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM ofRoy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Jerrys Boysand a Couple of Great Ladies,Too! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2Building Batman and Other True Legends of theGolden Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3Jerry Robinson talks to Jim Amash about being BobKanes Golden Age ghost.

    Comic Crypt: My World: The Al Feldstein Interview, Part II . . 39Michael T. Gilbert concludes his e-mail talk with thegreat EC editor/writer/artist.

    Jerry Robinson (Part II), FCA, & re: . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!

    Vol. 3, No. 39 / August 2004Editor Roy Thomas

    Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorJohn Morrow

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comic Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo White,Mike Friedrich

    Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington

    Covers ArtistJerry Robinson

    Covers Color and LayoutTom Ziuko

    And Special Thanks to:Ger ApeldoornBob BaileyTim BarnesAllen BellmanJohn and FriedelBenson

    Bill BlackJerry K. BoydChris BrownSam BurlockoffBill CainMike CatronBob CherrySidra CohnChet CoxDwight DeckerAl & MichelleFeldstein

    Keif FrommJanet GilbertDick GiordanoStan GoldbergScott GoodellRon GoulartDennis HagerJennifer T.Hamerlinck

    Peter HansenRon HarrisDavid Anthony KraftJane D. LeaveyDan MakeraJoe & NadiaMannarino

    Don MangusHerb McGrathPeter MeskinPhilip MeskinRaymond MillerJason MilletSheldon MoldoffMatt MoringFrank MotlerJake OsterJoe PetrilakSeth PowellJerry, Gro, Jens, & Kris Robinson

    Steven & SharonRowe

    Dennis RoyJohn SchaeferEric SchumacherDavid SiegelFlo SteinbergRichard SteinbergMarc SwayzeDann ThomasDeSha TolarMichael UslanJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Dr. Michael J.Vassallo

    Hames WareRon WebberEddy Zeno

    About Our Cover: Several years back, Jerry Robinson did a limited-edition of thiscover he had drawn, with a few minor differences, six decades ago for Detective Comics#70 (Dec. 1942). It seemed the perfect choice to front the initial half of Jim Amashsinterview with Bob Kanes first regular Batman ghost. [Art 2004 Jerry Robinson;Batman, Robin, & Joker TM & 2004 DC Comics.]

    Above: Jerry R. also sent us a couple of split drawings of Batman and his arch-nemesisThe Joker. Heres the Dark Knight Detectiveor at least half of him! [Art 2004 JerryRobinson; Batman TM & 2004 DC Comics.]


    This Issue Is Dedicatedto the Memory ofGILL FOX

  • [NOTE: Unless otherwise noted, all artand photos accompanying this interviewwere provided by Jerry Robinson.]

    [INTERVIEWERS INTRO: JerryRobinson stands among the top rank ofGolden Age comic book innovators. Hiscontributions to the Batman legend aremonumental: he added a slick, illus-trative style to Bob Kanes cartoon-ishness, was key in the development ofRobin, Alfred the butler, and, perhapsmost importantly, originated the mostfantastic of the Batman villains: TheJoker. This restless, creative force builton his laurels in the field of syndicationwith newspaper features like Jet Scott,Flubs and Fluffs, Still Life, and theamazing Life With Robinson. He alsowrote the hardcover book The Comics:An Illustrated History of Comic StripArt. In addition, Robinson has been achampion of creators rights. He wasinstrumental in getting Jerry Siegel andJoe Shuster their long-awaited due forSuperman, and has worked behind thescenes for others, as well. We dont knowhow many awards are left for Jerry towin (theres a partial list at the end ofthis interview on our flip side); but ifthere are any, we have a feeling hell get those before long, too. Joinus now for a thorough look into the astounding career of a great artistand a fascinating man: Jerry Robinson. Jim]

    They Tell Me I Was DrawingPictures in Kindergarten

    JIM AMASH: When and where wereyou born?

    JERRY ROBINSON: I was born inTrenton, New Jersey, January 1, 1922, toBenjamin and Mae Robinson. I was bornjust at midnight. They told me that thebells of the New Year were ringing as Imade my debut.

    I had three brothers, who are alldeceased. My eldest brother Harold wasa dentist; Avner was a surgeonchiropodist, and Maury was a lawyer. Ihave an older sister Edythe, who was aphotographer before she raised herfamily. I was the baby of the family.Harold was 17 years older than me. Imvery close to all my nieces andnephewsthey are like my own childrento me.

    JA: So you were the only artist in thefamily. What got you interested inthat?

    ROBINSON: I had always drawn as a kid, but not seriously. I assumedId be in some profession, but the only thing I actively wanted to be wasa writer and a journalist. The art, professionally, came quite accidentally.

    Building Batmanand OtherTrue Legends of the Golden Age

    Part I of Our Gargantuan Interview with Legendary Comics Artist JERRY ROBINSONInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash


    Jerry Robinson in the Times Building in Times Square, circa 1940-41and in his studio, in 2003juxtaposed with one of his mostfamous cover drawings, for Detective Comics #71 (Jan. 1943).

    Reproduced from the original art. [Comic art 2004 DC Comics.]

  • I drew for my high school paper and wasan editor. They tell me that I was drawing pictures inkindergarten; while everyone was doing lessons, I was on the floordrawing pictures. I remember drawing a picture of an elephant standingon a mountain peak...how he got there, I dont know. [laughs] At nineor ten, Id be sitting on the floor drawing portraits of my family whilethey sat around talking.

    I drew posters for my high schools plays, like The Pirates ofPenzance. I took all academic courses for the credits needed for college.At that point, I was thinking about journalism as a career. I applied toPenn, Syracuse, and Columbia, on the advice of my high schoolcounselor. I was seventeen when I graduated from high school.

    JA: But a funny thing happened along the way to college. [laughter]

    ROBINSON: Right! Or afunny thing happened on myway to Syracuse. I haddecided to go there. Pennwas in Philadelphia (I knewthe city), Columbia was inNew York (which I didntknow anything about at thetime), but my vision ofcollege came from my timespent at PrincetonUniversity, which was a fewmiles from Trenton. I playedtennis there. It was a smallcollege town, and that wasmy idea of a college. Icouldnt visualize going toone in the middle of a city, soSyracuse sounded like themost attractive place. I wasaccepted at all three, but haddecided on Syracuse at thatpoint.

    JA: Tell me about your early writing and artisticinfluences.

    ROBINSON: I was a writer for my schoolnewspaper, and liked to write short stories. I wasinfluenced by Guy DeMaupassant, Mark Twain, O.Henry... all the great short story writers. In juniorhigh school, I submitted a story to Colliersmagazine which, of course, must have been veryamateurish, but I wish I had a copy of it now. I got

    a rejection letter back, but I was so proud that they actuallyresponded. I showed it to everyone!

    As for the comics, the newspapers I saw were the PhiladelphiaRecord and the Inquirer. They had big comics sections and Ilooked forward to seeing them on Sundays, both the humor andthe adventure strips. Some of my favorites were Hal FostersTarzan, Milton Caniffs Terry and the Pirates, Bringing UpFather, and Mutt and Jeff. I read them all. As a kid, when I wentaway to camp, my parents would send me some of the reprintbooks... you know, the ones with the cardboard covers. In fact, Istill own some of them from the early 1930s.

    One had the work of Rube Goldberg, with whom I becamefriends much later, when I was President of the NationalCartoonists Society. Rube was a founder of the NCS and HonoraryPresident and sat in on my board meetings

    Im Bob Kane and I Just Started a New Feature Called Batman

    JA: Now, you didnt go to Syracuse. What happened?

    ROBINSON: Well, a funny thing happened on the way there, as yousuggested. The summer after graduation, I sold ice cream from a cart onthe back of my bicycle. We didnt have motorized carts at that time.Being the newest member of the ice cream firm, I was given the worstterritory, which was on the outskirts of town. I had to pedal all the wayout there before I could start to sell. I was very thin in those daysa 98-pounder. After pedaling back and forth, by the end of the summer, I wasdown to about 78 pounds. [laughs] I was putting away $25 a week,which was good money considering my percentage was 1H a cone.

    That money was forcollege.

    By the end of thesummer, my motherwas worried about mysurviving the firstsemester of college. Sheinsisted that I take$25which I wasloathe to doand goaway to the country fora week to fatten up. $25was all it took in thosedays.

    I was on the tennisteam, since tennis wasmy passion. Tennis wasour family sport: all mybrothers played, andseveral of them (andmy nephews) were

    Trenton, New Jersey, champions. Myfirst day there, I rushed out to the tenniscourt, wearing a painters jacket. Thosejackets were a fad at that time in collegeand were decorated with drawings. I haddone the same, using it for a tennisjacket.

    I was looking for a player, when I felta tap on my shoulder. A guy said, Whodid those drawings? I thought I wasbeing arrested or something. I turned

    4 The Jerry Robinson Interview - Part I

    Jerrys mother and father in Atlantic City, circa 1920and Jerry playing baseball at camp,

    age 9, 1931.

    Rube Goldberg, one of the most famous cartoonists of the early 20th century, gave his name tothe language via his uselessly over-complicated Rube Goldberg machines, as per this samplewhich Jerry Robinson included in his 1974 volume The Comics: An Illustrated History of ComicStrip Art. The photo of Rube in his later years with Jerrys son Jens, at age five, was taken atpopular chorusmeister Fred Warings Shawnee-on-the-Delaware annual bash for the National

    Cartoonists Society. [Strip 2004 King Features Syndicate.]

  • around and admitted, I did. The guy said, Theyre very good. ImBob Kane and I just started a new comicfeature called Batman. I had neverheard of Batman, and I think the firststory in Detective Comics was on thestands at that point.

    Bob was about six years older than me,but was young enough to knock aroundwith. He invited me to go down to thevillage to find a copy of DetectiveComics, which we did. Frankly, I wasntvery impressed. I was used to the morepolished newspaper strip art. Later on, Itold Bob I was going to Syracuse. Hesaid, Gee, I wish you were going to NewYork. I need someone to help me onBatman.

    I dont remember how much money heoffered. I know it was very little, but Ifigured I could make some money while Iwent to school. I said, Hold everything.I was accepted at Columbia and maybe Icould switch schools. It was the end ofthe summer, so I didnt really know if Icould. From the resort, I called Columbiato see if my application was still good,and luckily it was. So I told them I wascoming and immediately called Syracuseto tell them I wasnt coming. I called myfolks at home to tell them about theswitch and that I wasnt coming home; Iwas going straight to New York. Thatshow it started.

    Another funny thing happened when Iwas looking for a way to go from theresort to New York. Now, these resortshad entertainers like Danny Kaye and SidCaesar entertaining; they werent big

    names yet. Jan Pierce, a top Metropolitan Opera star, wasthere that week. I found out he was driving back to NewYork and was encouraged to ask him for a ride. He said itwas okay, so I got to New York in Jan Pierces limousine!

    I started assisting Bob while I was going to Columbia,working mostly at night on the art and going to classes inthe daytime. I was already down to skin and bones, but thiswas a very exciting time for me. I was interested in writing,and comics was a medium that combined writing anddrawing. I had no idea that this would ultimately be myprofession. I just thought that itd be a great way to earn myway through college.

    JA: When you started with Kane, how did he pay you?Were you getting a salary or paid by the page?

    ROBINSON: He paid by the page. Id ink and letter a pagefor $3, if Im not mistaken. I know that by the end of theweek, I didnt end up with any more money than when Iwas selling ice cream. Before long, I was able to get a 50%raise, which brought me up to a magnificent $50 a week.


    The Three of Us Would Kick Around IdeasJA: What were Kanes pencils like at the beginning?

    ROBINSON: In the beginning, theywere fairly tight. They had to be, becauseI had absolutely no experience at all. I wasworking day and night, really sweating itout, to learn the techniques and so forth. Icould copy anything I saw, but I didntthink that was really being an artist. Ithink that was the thing that Bob wasfirst impressed with. I could look at stripsand immediately imitate the style.

    I didnt even know what equipment tousewhat kind of brushes or pen points.I really had to work hard to learn to docomic art and take care of my classes atColumbia at the same time. But it becameexciting as I got into it. Batman wasntan instantaneous success, but it almostwas. Later on, as I got into the swing ofthings, Bobs pencils werent so tight.

    JA: You once told me that Kane got tothe point where hed draw a box andwrite door in the middle of it. Andyou had to draw the door.

    ROBINSON: [laughs] Or car speedingover a bridge... but that was much later. Iknew what he wanted and he knew what Icould do.

    At this time, Bob was living in anapartment on the Grand Concourse in theBronx. I rented a room within walkingdistance from Bob. I worked in my ownroom. Wed get together at some pointduring the day. Bob was living with hisfolks and had one room as a studio. BillFinger would meet us there, and the threeof us would kick around ideas.

    The early work of Bob Kane and his various associates is on view in full-color luscious hardcover volumes of DCs

    Batman Archives, The Dark Knight Archives, and Batman: The Worlds Finest Comics Archivesso heres a circa-1960 (?)

    line drawing that Kane did which was sold via Joe and Nadia Mannarinos All Star Auctions in 2002; thanks to

    Jerry K. Boyd for reminding us about it. [Art 2004 Estate of Bob Kane; Batman TM & 2004 DC Comics.]

    Building Batman- and Other True Legends of the Golden Age 5

    (Left:) Bob Kane and his immortal (co-)creation on the cover of his 1989autobiography, co-written by Tom Andrae. Batman figure by Kane and

    Robinson. (Right:) Afraid we dont have any photos from the day Bob Kane andJerry Robinson met on a tennis court. But tennis remains Jerrys passion, asshown by this photo of Jerry and Mad associate editor Nick Meglin as NCS

    tennis champions, Asheville [NC] in the 1990s. [Batman TM & 2004 DC Comics.]

  • JA: Ive heard that Bob Kanes father was a lawyer.Is that correct?

    ROBINSON: No, I dont think he was a lawyer, though I cant recallwhat he did for a living. Bob had a younger sister who lived there, too.

    JA: You were Kanes only assistant then. But didnt Shelly Moldoffhelp him before you did?

    ROBINSON: Thats correct.

    JA: Im sure Moldoff drew the second Batman story (Detective#28), because it looks like his early work. The art in that one isdifferent from the first and third stories, which look more like theearly Bob Kane work.

    ROBINSON: Id have to see the stories again to compare. But Id besurprised if Moldoff drew the whole story. I cant really say, because Ididnt meet Shelly until years later, when I was told he had worked onBatman before I did. I think Shelly left to do his own features, thoughhe later returned to work for Bob.

    JA: Thats right. Now, Kane was still doing other features besidesBatman, like Ginger Snap and Rusty and His Pals.

    ROBINSON: Thats right. He started those before I joined him, and Iworked on them, as well as Clip Carson. I worked on all of Bobsfeatures when I started, until Batman took over. I think I still have theart to a complete four-page Rusty and His Pals, but itd take anarchaeologist to find the pages right now.

    JA: How did you manage to get the entire story? They werent lettingthe artists keep the work, were they?

    ROBINSON: Theyd let you have it. They didnt care; they weredestroying it all. Thats how I got the Batman covers and a completeBatman Joker story I did. After the art went to the engraver, unlesssome editor wanted a page back for some other purpose, after they shot

    the negatives, they destroyed the art.

    JA: I always thought they refused toreturn any art.

    ROBINSON: No, not at that stage.The only thing I had to make sure todo was to call the engraver to send thework back before it was destroyed.Many times, I did a cover that I likedand didnt call in time, or Id forget andtheyd tell me, Its gone.

    JA: So the engraver was destroyingthe pages and not DC themselves?

    ROBINSON: Right. They had nofurther use for the art, and the publishersaw no value in storing them. Neitherdid the artists, actually. I just wantedsome back if I was satisfied with thatparticular cover or story. Fred Ray didthe same thing. Wed occasionallyexchange artlike, if Fred did aSuperman cover that I liked, then Idtrade him a Detective cover. Weoccasionally worked together on some onthe Worlds Finest covers. He did theSuperman figure and I did the Batman andRobin figures. Later, we lined the walls ofour studio with them. Fred was awonderful guy and a great talent. His greatSuperman covers are classics; his CongoBill was beautifully drawn.

    I Was Living, Sleeping, and Eating BatmanJA: So you met Bill Finger pretty early on. What were your earlyimpressions of both Kane and Finger?

    ROBINSON: You must remember that I was only seventeen, and awhole new world was opening up for me. I was like a blotter, soaking upevery new thing. Kane seemed to be a rather glamorous figurehad hisown studio (in his familys apartment, but it was a studio), and was anice-looking guy. He was about 5 10, and slim. He was a ladies man.He aspired to a life of glamour.

    We had a very good relationship. Wed go out for lunch or dinnertogether and spend the whole time talking about Batman. I was living,sleeping, and eating Batman, except for when I was in class atColumbia.

    Of course, I met Bill almost as soon as I started. Bill was a very genialguy, very dedicated, with a great sense of humor. He was a realcraftsman who conscientiously worked on new plots and characters. Hewas a great writer and creator, but writing didnt come easy for him.Some writers just dash off a story. Bill was too much of a craftsman todo that. It just didnt flow that easily for him, so he had to work veryhard on his stories. That often caused him to be late on deadlines, whichwas the big bone of contention with the editors. They really put himthrough a lot of needless agony over that. It was terrible.

    Bill wasnt that assertive or that secure. His name wasnt on thefeature and he didnt have any ownership rights. It was a shame, becauseBill was the writer. He developed the concept and visual of Batman withBob. He created all the major characters, except for The Joker. Billshould have been credited as the co-creator of Batman, just as Siegeland Shuster were on Superman.

    Sheldon Moldoff in 1938, with his artfor the inside back cover of

    Action Comics #1plus page 1 of the second Batman story, fromDetective Comics #28 (June 1939),

    which Jim Amash and others feel is at least partly drawn by Moldoff.

    If so, Bob Kane sure started havinghis new super-hero ghosted early!For interviews with Shelly on his

    Batman, Hawkman, and otherart, see Alter Ego V3#4 and Alter Ego:

    The Comic Book Artist Collection,both still available from

    TwoMorrows. The latter, however, is nearly sold out!

    [Comic art 2004 DC Comics.]

    6 The Jerry Robinson Interview - Part I

  • JA: Why do you think that didnthappen?

    ROBINSON: Bob had sold work toDC before, doing mostly humorcartoons. He wasnt doing anyadventure work early on. That was abig transition for him, by the way; itwasnt easy. Actually, I think thatswhy he wound up with the style heused on Batman, because hisexperience wasnt as an adventureartist.

    So Bob knew the people at DC,and he was the one who took thefeature to them and sold it under hisname. I dont think DC even knew ofBills existence then. Bill didnt go tothe offices. Bob delivered the work, orelse his father would. I didnt godown there, either, so they didntknow about me, until the time Billand I decided to leave Bob Kane.

    Bill and I asked Bob for a suitable raise, after about a year or so,when the feature had proven successful, and Bob was making a lot moremoney. We didnt get it, so Bill and I decided to go to DC... well, we hada lot of offers by this time. Everybody wanted to get their hands onanybody who had anything to do with the success of Batman. And therewere only the three of us at that time, and they werent going to get

    Bobwho was under contract to DCsothey went after us.

    I remember meeting with Busy Arnold,who was the publisher of Quality Comics.Hed take me to lunch every couple ofweeks, trying to persuade me to join him.One time, he wanted to make me theeditor, offering me carte blanche on anyfeature I wanted to draw or anything Icared to create. Id have been an editor at18 or 19, running the whole thing, so thiswas a very attractive offer. It was also alittle bit scary. When DC heard about this,they got on their horses and hired both Billand myself. From then on, I worked

    directly for DC and was paid by them, not by Bob.

    JA: So, because Bob Kane went to DC with Batman withoutFinger, he was able to insure that his name was the only one to appearon the feature.

    ROBINSON: Thats the way it worked.

    Fred Ray times four! (Left:) In Batman: The Worlds Finest ComicsArchives, Vol. 1, Fred Ray is credited with this cover for Worlds

    Finest #4 (Winter 1941), though Jerry says he was sometimes askedto work on the Batman and Robin figures on those classic

    compositions. (Center:) Ray himself preferred drawing the long-running Tomahawk feature, as per this page from Star

    Spangled Comics #90 (March 1949); this tales splash was seen inA/E #19, which also sported a Fred Ray proto-Tomahawk coverand a short talk with Jerry about Ray. (Right-center:) Photo ofFred Ray, courtesy of Ron Webber &!Dan Makara. (Right:) FredRays favorite work was the historical booklets he researched,wrote, and drew, often for sale at national landmarks, such as

    one about Valley Forge. With thanks to Don Mangus. [DC art 2004DC Comics; Valley Forge art 2004 Estate of Fred Ray.]

    We ran this photo of Bill Finger in A/E #19but how could we not show the unacknowledged co-creator of Batman? Bills byline, of course, shouldve been up there with that of Robt Kane on the intro panel

    in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939), la Siegel & Shuster on Superman. [Comic art 2004 DC Comics.]

    Building Batman- and Other True Legends of the Golden Age 7

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  • Al Feldstein is truly an original in the comic field. He started outillustrating stories for Fiction House and other comic publishers in the40s. In 1948 he began working for Bill Gaines Entertaining Comicsgroup (EC), where his abilities as a writer and editor helped turn afailing company into one of the great success stories of the 50s.

    Feldstein repeated his success when Mad-founder HarveyKurtzman quit Mad magazine in 1956. Gaines briefly consideredcanceling the magazine, then asked Feldstein to take over as Madsnew editor. Gaines decision proved to be a wise one. UnderFeldsteins 29-year editorial reign, Mad became a sales phenomenonand a beloved cultural icon.

    Two issues ago, Al discussed his early career and his emotionalmeeting with Ray Bradbury at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con. Inthis concluding chapter, Feldstein talks about EC artist Wally Woodand My World, their most famous story together. Well also learnwhat Als been up to recently.

    The following e-mail interview took place between August 7 andOctober 18, 2002.

    Whose World?MICHAEL T. GILBERT: A couple of years ago, I wrote an overviewof Wally Woods career for Alter Ego, Vol. 3, #8. At one point Ireferred to your My World script as Feldsteins ... love letter toWood. One reader wrote and suggested that wasnt quite accurateand sent me a scan of the printed comic, autographed by you to him.On the My World splash page you inscribed:

    With deference to the artist, actually this is MY compilation ofMY WORLD. Al Feldstein.

    For those unfamiliar with the story, My World featured anumber of seemingly unrelated sci-fi images, leading to the punchlinewherein the storys artist, Wally Wood, tells the reader: My world isthe world of science-fiction... for I am a science-fiction artist. Myname is WOOD.

    Its commonly believed that you wrote this story to showcase Wally

    Woods art. However, this was the first time I heard itsuggested that youd considered placing yourself in the lastpanel. Presumably the punchline would have been changedto: My world is the world of science-fiction... for I am ascience-fiction writer. My name is FELDSTEIN.

    On the surface, it certainly makes just as much sense foryou to spotlight the writer as the artistinasmuch as youcreated the words that inspired Woods pictures. Can you tellus a little more about that decision?

    AL FELDSTEIN: My World was a spontaneous story, writtenon a day when Bill Gaines was not feeling well and we hadntplotted anything for that days assignment. So I went off toimprovise something.

    Since Wally Wood was up (the artist due for the next story Idwrite, as per our schedule), I got the idea of just doing a showcase script

    The splash page of My World from Weird Science #22 (Nov.-Dec. 1953):script by Al Feldstein, art by Wally Wood. Reprod from those

    fabulous hardcover reprint volumes published by Russ Cochran. [2004 William M. Gaines Agent.]

    My World: The AL FELDSTEIN InterviewPart IIConducted & Transcribed by Michael T. Gilbert


    Al Feldstein (left) and Wally Wood in the early-1950sheyday of EC, as seen in the pages of its comics.

    [2004 William M. Gaines Agent.]

  • of sci-fi scenes and story highlights. It was unplanned and unplotted,and I intended it to be a flowery homage to sci-fi.

    When I got to the end of the story, I was faced with a dilemma. Do Iwrite: This is my world...for I am a science-fiction- writer???andtake the credit for painting all those word-pictures and scene-situationsId just written about for Wally to illustrate?

    Or do I write: This is my world... for I am a science-fictionartist?thereby acknowledging Wally as the illustrator... and giving up my claim to the entire concept, the loving descriptions, etc., etc.?

    I had never originally planned that the story focus on me inparticular. It was a calculated decision, arrived at when I reached that lastpanel.

    Of course, I chose the latter alternative...having never before takenwritten credit for any other stories that Id written for the line of ECtitles under my editorship

    ...a policy I have come to regret overthe years, because I have never reallyreceived the full and proper credit dueme for authoring them all.

    Such is life.

    MTG: Its unfortunate that your claimto the story has been overlookedthough its understandable. Youdesigned the story so Wood had a largesignature in the final panel, but youdidnt give yourself a writing credit.

    FELDSTEIN: It was only in later yearsthat I regretted it... because My Worldcame to be known as Wally Woodstribute to sci-fi/fantasy...and I wassomehow left out of the loop.

    MTG: It showed remarkable creativegenerosity. Somehow I cant imagineStan Lee doing a similar story withJack Kirby in the 60s and Stanwriting himself out of the final panel.

    FELDSTEIN: No comment.

    MTG: I think you were right to use theartist in the final panel, since comicsare such a visual medium. But it mustbe frustrating to see it become someone elses signature piece. I thinkit says a lot about your relative lack of ego.

    FELDSTEIN: On the contrary, it says a lot about my relatively suffi-cient ego... and the fact that I wasnt in dire need of inflating it.

    My attitude at the time was: I am a professional. I am doing this for aliving to feed my family and pay my bills. So compensate me accord-ingly. And the hell with any accolades!

    MTG: And yet that hell with any accolades attitude doesnt quitejibe with your more recent comments about My Worldand yourunderstandable disappointment that its generally considered a Woodstory. Have your views concerning the importance of getting creditchanged over the decades? I also apply this question to your long andsuccessful career editing Mad, which many have taken for granted.

    FELDSTEIN: I really think that I have answered your question previ-ously, Michael. Over the years after my retirement, for a while I stoodsilently by as I was deliberately written out of the history of Mad, and I

    watched as my important contribution to the success of EC was severelydownplayed. Until, I felt, it had become intolerable... and I decided todo something about it.

    So...yes, my feelings about proper credit have changed over thedecades.

    Mainly, its time I claimed what is rightfully mine!

    Woods World!MTG: While Im on the subject, have you ever read My Word, the3-page story Woody did for Big Apple Comix in 1973? Wood wrote itas a rather bitter parody of My World, and I was wondering whatyou thought of it. Were you at all offended by this version of yourstory?

    FELDSTEIN: In 1973, I was totally involved in Mad magazine and myeditorship of that publication... and I was no longer following what was

    being done in the comic book industry...either by other publishers... or by otherartists not associated with Mad. As faras I was concerned, the industryoperating under the Code... was dead!

    I believe that Wally was no longerworking for me (for a variety ofreasons) when he did the piece and,without seeing it... if, as you say, it wasa bitter parody... I would have tochalk it up to deep-seated anger orresentment or revenge. Or a combi-nation of all three. If you would care tosend me a copy of My Word, Id behappy to give you my thoughts on it.

    [NOTE: After Feldstein was sent acopy of Woods story from Big AppleComix, he responded as follows:]

    FELDSTEIN: I have no commentabout the piece. It was written anddrawn by a very angry, frustrated, anddisillusioned fading talent. And I reallydont think that it could properly becalled a version of My World. Itbore no resemblance to it, even as aparody! It severely lacked the loveand the reverence of the sci-fi/fantasy

    genre that I injected into the original piece.

    MTG: There has been some discussion about Woods abrupt departurefrom Mad in 1964, after appearing in every issue since the first in1952. A number of people have voiced conflicting opinions about thebreakup. Id like to get your side of the split.

    The story has it that you rejected a comic-strip parody that Woodillustratedand when you requested changes, he blew up and quit.Some have suggested that Woods art on that final rejected job wassimply substandard. Interestingly, years later, Wood himself looked athis art again and came to the same conclusion. He felt it was terriblework.

    FELDSTEIN: He was right. But that wasnt the one and only reason.

    I had finally had enough of Wallys growing alcohol problems, hisrepeated failures to meet his deadlines, and the deteriorating quality ofhis artwork... not to mention his aggressive and hostile attitude.

    We printed the final panels of both My World and My Wordback in our Wally Wood issue, Alter Ego V3#8but heres the

    latter again, courtesy of Big Apple Comix publisher Flo Steinberg,and still with Wallys scatological reference blacked out.

    [2004 Estate of Wally Wood.]

    My World: The Al Feldstein Interview-Part II 41

  • $5.95In the USA



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  • Alter EgoTM is published monthly by TwoMorrows, 10407 Bedfordtown Drive, Raleigh, NC 27614, USA. Phone: (919) 449-0344. Roy Thomas, Editor. John Morrow, Publisher. Alter Ego Editorial Offices: 32 Bluebird Trail, St. Matthews, SC 29135, USA. Fax: (803) 826-6501; e-mail: [email protected] Send subscription funds to TwoMorrows, NOT to the editorial offices. Single issues:$8 ($10 Canada, $11.00 elsewhere). Twelve-issue subscriptions: $60 US, $120 Canada, $132 elsewhere. All characters are theirrespective companies. All material their creators unless otherwise noted. All editorial matter Roy Thomas. Alter Ego is a TM ofRoy & Dann Thomas. FCA is a TM of P.C. Hamerlinck. Printed in Canada.


    ContentsYou Dont Know If YouCan Do Something UnlessYou Try It!. . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

    Jerry Robinson talks with Jim Amash about hiscreative life after Batman.

    Gill Fox A Cartoonist to theVery End . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

    Jim Amash on a comic book pioneerwho was also afriend.

    re: [correspondence, comments, & corrections] . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37

    FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America)#72 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43

    P.C. Hamerlinck presents Marc Swayze & the Fawcett/Charlton/Toby Connection.

    Jerry Robinson (Part I) & Comic Crypt . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!

    About Our Cover: Our own peerless colorist Tom Ziuko assembled this magnificent montageof Jerry Robinson and some of his greatest post-Batman work. (Clockwise, from top left:)Green HornetBlack Terror (done with Mort Meskin)AtomanStill LifeLife withRobinsonand advertising art with a space theme. Actually, Green Hornet and Atomanwere covered near the end of Part I on the other sidebut whats a few pages amongfriends? [Comic book & advertising art 2004 the respective copyright holders; Still Life & Lifewith Robinson 2004 Cartoonists & Writers Syndicate.]

    Above: Dont bother looking for the other half of this splendidly-rendered Joker head by Jerry R.It doesnt existany more than the other half of the Batman face does on our flip-side contentspage. Or maybe we should put the two togetherand wind up with a comic book charactereven weirder than Two-Face! [Art 2004 Jerry Robinson; The Joker TM & 2004 DC Comics.]


    Vol. 3, No. 39 / August 2004Editor Roy Thomas

    Associate EditorsBill SchellyJim Amash

    Design & LayoutChristopher Day

    Consulting EditorJohn Morrow

    FCA EditorP.C. Hamerlinck

    Comic Crypt EditorMichael T. Gilbert

    Editors EmeritusJerry Bails (founder)Ronn Foss, Biljo White,Mike Friedrich

    Production AssistantEric Nolen-Weathington

    Covers ArtistJerry Robinson

    Covers Color and LayoutTom Ziuko

    And Special Thanks to:Ger ApeldoornBob BaileyTim BarnesAllen BellmanJohn and FriedelBenson

    Bill BlackJerry K. BoydChris BrownSam BurlockoffBill CainMike CatronBob CherrySidra CohnChet CoxDwight DeckerAl & MichelleFeldstein

    Keif FrommJanet GilbertDick GiordanoStan GoldbergScott GoodellRon GoulartDennis HagerJennifer T.Hamerlinck

    Peter HansenRon HarrisDavid Anthony KraftJane D. LeaveyDan MakeraJoe & NadiaMannarino

    Don MangusHerb McGrathPeter MeskinPhilip MeskinRaymond MillerJason MilletSheldon MoldoffMatt MoringFrank MotlerJake OsterJoe PetrilakSeth PowellJerry, Gro, Jens, & Kris Robinson

    Steven & SharonRowe

    Dennis RoyJohn SchaeferEric SchumacherDavid SiegelFlo SteinbergRichard SteinbergMarc SwayzeDann ThomasDeSha TolarMichael UslanJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Dr. Michael J.Vassallo

    Hames WareRon WebberEddy Zeno

    This Issue Is Dedicatedto the Memory ofGILL FOX

  • [Mort Meskin] Was aTremendous Artist

    JA: Getting back to Meskinwhatwere your early impressions of MortMeskin personally and profes-sionally?

    ROBINSON: He was a tremendousartist even when he was at MLJ. I gotto know him, and brought him up toDC, because they paid better and hadmore important features. WhitEllsworth immediately put him towork on Johnny Quick andVigilante, both of which, I believe,were created by Mort Weisinger.Meskin was the first artist on thesefeatures. [NOTE: Actually, ChadGrothkopf drew the Johnny Quickorigin in More Fun Comics #71(Sept. 1941), but Meskin soon tookover DCs second speedsterandwas indeed the original artist ofVigilante, which was launched in Action Comics #42 (Nov. 41). Roy.]

    Mort was about six years older, very quiet, reserved, and brightveryprogressive in his politics. We saw eye-to-eye on most issues. He was theonly one in our circle at the time who had studied art. He went to PrattInstitute, one of the best art schools in New York. If I had any troublewith a figure, Id ask Mort for help. But he wouldnt tell me anything!He said, Work it out. It was frustrating, but it was best thing he coulddo. If hed showed me how to fix it, then I wouldnt have learned

    anything. Id sit there for an hour,trying to get it right. Mort said,Once you get it right, youll knowit. That was his philosophy. Ilearned a lot by watching himwork. Mort knew how to draw andcompose drapery, perspectiveheknew everything. He was veryinfluential to all of us, but particu-larly to me.

    JA: There were times whenothers, like Charlie Paris, JoeKubert, and Cliff Young, inkedhis pencils. Do you rememberhow complete Morts pencilingwas when someone else did theinking? I imagine his pencils weresomewhat sketchier when he didhis own inking.

    ROBINSON: Yes, they were.Mort did a lot of the drawing whenhe inkedwe both did. Sometimes,when we worked as a team, wedexperiment. Wed do a story with

    pencils so tight, they almost looked like they were inked. Other times,we literally tried to do a story without any pencils. Wed have to clearlyvisualize the scene before drawing it with the brush. Sometimes weactually pulled it off.

    We occasionally made copies of the pencils because we liked thecertain quality in the pencils that changes when you ink them. I alwaysfound it a challenge to make the inks look as good as the pencils. I usedto hate it when I saw a job Id done a few months earlier, because Id seeall the things I could have done differentlybetter. Improvement in

    You Dont Know If You Can DoSomething Unless You Try It!

    The JERRY ROBINSON Interview Part TwoInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash[continued from flip sidewithout further ado]


    Mort Meskin (left) and Jerry Robinson (right), shown in photos closer tothe era they were co-producing beautiful super-hero pages like the aboveone from a late-1940s issue of Standard/Nedors Black Terror. The Meskin

    photo is courtesy of his sons Peter & Philip Meskin; Jerrys photo wastaken by noted photographer Rudy de Harak, 1950s. Jerry says this was

    his first and last modeling job (probably illustrating effects of heavysmoking). Weve no idea why the logo and some of the lettering are

    missing from the Terror pagebut youre just interested in the artworkhere, right? [Comic page 2004 the respective copyright holders.]

  • your drawing comes from an awareness of your workfrom taking adispassionate look at it, which you can do months later. Youre too closeto the work while doing it.

    JA: I know Mort was a stutterer, which was probably one of thereasons he was shy.

    ROBINSON: Id agree with that, because it can be inhibiting. But itwas a symptom of other problems.

    JA: Before we get into that, Id like you to describe what he was likebefore his nervous breakdowns.

    ROBINSON: We used to go bowling together, as I told you earlier.When he worked, he was very intent, concentrating and focused on thepage. Mort was losing his hair, and there were some long strands on top,and when he was deep in thought, hed have a brush in one hand andtwirl the hair on top on his head with the other. [laughter] We all dothings like that. For instance, often Id be using a pen, and then need abrush, so instead of putting the pen downa Gillotte 290Id put itbetween my teeth. Then Id forget about the pen and it would fall andstab me on the hand. I still have a couple of those tattoo marks on myhand.

    JA: What kind of roommate was he?

    ROBINSON: We had a lot of fun together and had a lot in common.We talked about comics, social issues, and politics. We went to movietheatresa lot of foreign films, which influenced our storytelling. Wewent to museumstook some classes together in Greenwich Village. Itwas a great time to be young in New York. We had enough money to dowhat we wanted. And there were plenty of girls who fortunately lovedcartoonists. I remember he bought one of the early recording machines.Mort loved to record his singing, as did I. We liked to sing the popularsongsand some Spanish numbers. Mort also loved to dance, and weoccasionally went to village dances.

    JA: Morts son Peter told me that Mort didnt stutter when he sang.

    ROBINSON: Thats true. His stuttering wasnt constant. It didntprevent him from communicating. Maybe he stuttered more when hebecame nervous. I dont know what would trigger it. I was happilysurprised when Peter told me that Mort didnt stutter in his last years.

    JA: Both you and Mort left your DC staff jobs around 1946. Do youknow why he quit DC for a while? I heard it was because certaineditors were giving him a hard time.

    ROBINSON: That could be part of it. Mort liked to work on his own.He wasnt much of a mixer and most of his friends, including me, hadleft. I dont think he was that close to anyone else there, and so he

    Heres a real oddity, courtesy of Jerry: a Meskin splash page from a 1942 issueof Lev Gleason Publications Boy Comics. Bombshell, Son of War appearedin Boy #3-7, and was apparently scripted by Dick Woodbut weve no ideawho Michael is, unless it was an attempt by Meskin at a secret identity

    of his own. Jerry owns the original art of this page, which has been hand-colored. [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

    In our extended coverage of Mort Meskin in A/E #24, we ran the splash andother panels of his Johnny Quick story Mayhem in the Meal-O-Mat! Heres

    page 7 of that tale from Adventure Comics #127 (April 1948). The story isunsigned, but may have been done before he and Jerry joined forces on both

    JQ and Vigilante at DC. Or did they prefer not to co-sign the Johnny Quickstories, although Mort had often signed them previously? [2004 DC Comics.]

    You Dont Know If You Can Do Something Unless You Try It! 3

  • decided to get his own place to work. I was in Florida at the time, andjoined him before long.

    In 1949, Mort began teaching at the Cartoonists and IllustratorsSchool, which later became the School of Visual Arts. Thats where I metand became close friends with one of the founders, Burne Hogarth, ofTarzan fame. One day, Mort asked me to talk to one of his classes. I didthat a few times. Mort began having problems at that time and didntwant to teach anymore. Mort was a wonderful teacher, but it was hardon him. So, in effect, I took over Morts class, which is how I got intoteaching. I taught there for ten years.

    We Decided to Do All Four Features as a TeamJA: What gave you the idea to share a studio together?

    ROBINSON: I had just come back from Florida and was starting tolook for new accounts. Thats what led me to The Black Terror andFighting Yank. Mort was doing Johnny Quick and Vigilante, andwe decided to do all four features as a team. We did other freelance jobsfor Simon & Kirby and a few other places. We felt it was easier to worktogether as partners, rather than just studio mates. If I felt like inking,Id just ink. Other times, I just wanted to pencil. Mort was the sameway. It worked because the different challenges enhanced our work andkept our interests high.

    JA: You did The Black Terror and Fighting Yank for StandardPublications. Do you remember who wrote them or who your editorwas?

    ROBINSON: No. We had very little contact with them. Most of thetime, the scripts were delivered to us, and we had someone else deliverthe finished work. We often did the same with our DC work.

    JA: You didnt have much contact with Joe Simon and Jack Kirbythen, did you?

    ROBINSON: There were a few times when I went to see them topick up a script and touch bases with them. We dealt with bothSimon and Kirby, though I believe Joe was the one who handled thescripts.

    JA: Why do you think the DC editors gave Mort such a hard time?Was it just because they could?

    ROBINSON: Well, theyd dominate anyone they could, Bill Fingerbeing an example. Vulnerable people make easy targets. Morts stutteringand quiet reserve made him a target. Most of them knew little about art,

    but they had validjudgments about writingand storytelling, soanytime they sawsomething that didntmatch their interpre-tation of the script,theyd critique it. Whatwe, the artists, didinsteadand we nevertold themwas tochange their scripts ifsomething wasntworkable.

    JA: Morts emotionalproblems seem to havestarted in the late 40s,early 50s. You have anyidea what caused thoseproblems?

    ROBINSON: No... hejust suffered fromdepression. It wasdifficult for him.Sometimes hed try towork through it and

    A Black Terror splash by Robinson/Meskin, minus lettering. So masterfullybeshadowed were the pages of this Standard/Nedor series done by the team that

    even one of their more audacious conceptssplitting the Terrors domino masks intwo so they become in effect merely spectral shadows around each individual eye

    contributes to the grim effect. [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

    The domino mask of Standard/Nedors Fighting Yank, on the other hand, vanishedcompletely, as per these panels. Robinson/

    Meskin work appeared in Fighting Yank #25-29, the series last five issues, behind

    Alex Schomburg covers. Reprod from DavidAnthony Krafts Comics Interview magazine.

    [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

    You Dont Know If You Can Do Something Unless You Try It! 5

  • [FCA EDITORS NOTE: From 1941-53, Marcus D. Swayze was atop artist for Fawcett Comics. The very first Mary Marvel charactersketches came from Marcs drawing table, and he illustrated herearliest adventures, including the classic origin story, Captain MarvelIntroduces Mary Marvel (CMA #18, Dec. 42); but he was primarilyhired by Fawcett Publications to illustrate Captain Marvel stories andcovers for Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures. He alsowrote many Captain Marvel scripts, and continued to do so while inthe military. Upon leaving the service in 1944, and after drawingtales of Mr. Scarlet and Ibis the Invincible, he made an arrangementwith Fawcett to produce art and stories for them on a freelance basisout of his Louisiana home. There he created both art and story forThe Phantom Eagle in Wow Comics, in addition to drawing theFlyin Jenny newspaper strip for the Bell Syndicate (created by hisfriend and mentor Russell Keaton). After the cancellation of Wow,Swayze produced artwork for Fawcetts top-selling line of romancecomics, including Sweethearts and Life Story. After the companyceased publishing comics, Marc moved over to Charlton Publications,where he ended his comics career in the mid-50s. Marcs ongoingprofessional memoirs have been FCAs most popular feature since hisfirst column appeared in FCA #54, 1996. Last time, Marc spoke of his

    admiration of the determination and hard work of artists C.C. Beckand Mac Raboy, and singer Bing Crosby. In this issue, Marc gives usa glimpse of what wouldve happened if Captain Marvel hadappeared in Fawcetts romance comics! P.C. Hamerlinck.]

    Thought provoking ... a most moving account recently seen about thefall, then rise again, of the fabulous comic book super-heroes of the1940s. I wasnt still around when the rise again period began, but itseasy to remember the fall. It wasnt nice. Very likely caused many alovable hero to be abandoned along the wayside. Also some artists, somewriters, some editors ... probably a few publishers ... and many, manyfaithful young readers.

    It wouldnt be quite fair to lay the blame on the super-heroes. Theywouldnt have left their readers. The readers left them. The vast, ficklesegment of humankind that had kept them aloft and financiallyhandsome issue after issue, year after year, had weakened ... faltered ...withered ... meaning they were reading something else!

    It was those comic book romances ... thats what they were reading,according to sales reports. Makes a person wonder why the super-heroesdidnt stand their ground and face the music.

    Or gone with the tide ... joined up with the romances. Think of it! Allthose mystic forces busy patching up broken hearts and drawing lonelylovers closer!

    It wouldnt have been easy. The grim face of that favorite from thepages had changed very little throughout an entire career of overpow-ering evil. Any attempt to change it to one of arduous compassion ...might break something.

    (c) mds[Art & logo 2004 Marc Swayze; Captain Marvel & TM 2004 DC Comics]

    Annoyance puzzlement. whatever the expression, Captain Marvel hadworn it long before the original version of this story was published in True

    Confidences #3 (April 1950). [New art 2004 Marc Swayze; other art 2004 therespective copyright holders; Captain Marvel TM & 2004 DC Comics.]



    Captain Marvel in Fawcetts popular romance comics? He could have played thepart well, Marc Swayze suggests. Here, Marc has shoehorned him into the malelead in Sweethearts #108 (Feb. 1952). Maybe a super-hero who possessed the

    wisdom of Solomon couldve been a bit more tactful? Special thanks to Marcsgranddaughter DeSha Tolar. [New art 2004 Marc Swayze; other art 2004 the

    respective copyright holders; Captain Marvel TM & 2004 DC Comics.]

  • Couch PotatoesIn late 1953, Fawcett left the comic book

    business. The protracted lawsuit initiated byNational/DC over the alleged copyrightinfringement by Captain Marvel in relation toSuperman had swung against them, so they quit anddeceased.

    Since early pronouncements in 1948, the anti-comics campaign had been gaining momentum. Itsfinest hour would be televised, with the US SenateSubcommittee on the Judiciary to InvestigateJuvenile Delinquency, held at Foley Square, NewYork, on April 21-22, with a reprise on June 4,1954. Dr. Fredric Wertham, M.D., became the Subcommittees starwitness, and his scathing anti-comics tirade Seduction of the Innocent(1954) was a Book Of The Month Club best-seller. Comics were infor a difficult time.

    Under interrogation from the committee, William M. Gaines,publisher and owner of EC (Entertaining Comics), would shock thenation in a discussion of taste and a severed head on the cover of a comicbook. Censorship was just around the corner, in the form of theComics Code Authority (CCA), 1955. Television, a relatively newcontraption, with its ability to capture nationally-broadcast shows insight and sound and beam them right into your living room, was rapidlygaining popularity. It would turn the nations children from delinquentreaders of four-color comics, into couch potatoes, almost overnight!

    S-H-A-Z-A-M!Ironically, the seeds of Fawcetts destruction had been sown when its

    very first newsstand comic appeared, featuring a superman hurling anautomobile. It was Whiz Comics #2, dated February 1940. Its prede-cessor and #1 issue was a pair of proof (ashcan) first editions, namedFlash Comics and Thrill Comics. Both featured story and art of thesame costumed hero, Captain Thunder. However, rival publishers DCand Better (a.k.a. Standard/Thrilling) were already in the process of

    launching their own Flash Comics and ThrillingComics, respectively, so the title was changed toWhiz at the last moment. History also decreed thatthe new Fawcett character be hastily renamedCaptain Marvel, for reasons still not 100% clear,when he debuted in Whiz. Other super-hero titlesfrom Fawcett soon followed, including MasterComics, Nickel Comics, Slam Bang Comics,Wow Comics, Americas Greatest Comics,Bulletman, Captain Marvel Jr., Spy Smasher, etal. By 1942, America was at war, and super-herobooks were popular, with the hated Axis leaders,Hitler, Mussolini and Tojo, providing suitableopposition for these colorful fictional heroes andheroines.

    Post-war, Fawcett expanded and diversified with titles such as ComicComics, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny, George Pals Puppetoons, LanceOCasey, Mary Marvel, and Nyoka the Jungle Girl. During 1946Captain Marvel Adventures reached the unique position of beingpublished every two weeks. By 1953, Fawcett had a large stable of comicbooks, which were published in four main areas: super-hero, western,romance, andwell, miscellaneous, for want of a better word. But thedemise of its extremely popular and profitable super-hero line, centeredaround several comics starring Captain Marvel and his spinoffs, camewith the settlement of the lawsuit in 1953, and one of the most successfulpublishers of comic books elected not to carry on. As Roscoe Fawcett,one of the owners, was quoted as saying in P.C. Hamerlincks FawcettCompanion: Losing Captain Marvel kind-of took the heart out of thewhole thing. Marvel Family #89 (Jan. 1954), with its And Then ThereWere None! cover teaser, would prove the last Fawcett super-hero title,and soon the entire comics line was no more.

    Under the Western StarsIn the latter 1940s, Fawcett had begun producing a host of western

    comics, most of whose titles ended officially with the word Western.These featured the fictional exploits of several real-life movie stars whothrived in the 1940s (or, in a couple of instances, in the 1930s!). The most

    Evolution of a hero! The covers of bothashcan editions and the published versionof what became the premier issue of Whiz

    Comics. Fawcett mightve been betteradvised to use the dungeon scene on

    Whiz, too, rather than waving a red flag(complete with lightning bolt) in the DC

    bulls face by having Captain Marveltossing around a flivver, much as

    Superman had on the cover of ActionComics #1 a year and a half earlier.

    [2004 DC Comics.]

    And Then There Were None!Charlton and the Remnants of the Fawcett Comics Empire-Part Iby Frank Derby Motler


  • famous comic book starring a movie cowboy was probably rival DellsRoy Rogers; but Fawcett managed to corral such iconic western-moviestars as Tom Mix (who had actually died in 1940, but lived on via radio,where he was portrayed by a voice actor) and Hopalong Cassidy. ActorWilliam Boyd had played Cassidy in a series of low-budget filmsbetween 1934 and 1948. These had become an early TV phenomenon,due to the actors ownership and clever marketing of his old movies onthe new medium. Under his own name, he would also star in his ownFawcett title, Bill Boyd Western, with no connection to the Hoppycharacter.

    The Fawcettformularequired a full-color, close-upphoto of thestar as thecomics frontcover, oftenwith an actionscene on theback cover. Theinteriorssupplied three ormore shoot-em-up stories, withone or twocomedic shorts.Fawcett also hada couple of morelight-heartedwestern comics,starring sidekicks Gabby Hayesand Smiley Burnette; the formerhad a lengthy run.

    In all, Fawcett published overtwenty different western titles,

    which also included at various times Lash LaRue, Monte Hale, RockyLane, Tex Ritter, Six-Gun Heroes, Young Eagle, et al. The first four ofthe preceding list spotlighted individual film starsSix-Gun Heroes wasan anthology featuring movie cowboys who also had their own titlesand only Young Eagle, about a Native American, was a total original.Charlton generally continued the pre-existing numbering of those seriesit picked up from Fawcett.

    The last Fawcett comics hit the newsstands in late 1953and the firstCharlton editions appeared with January 1954 cover dates, using up

    several photo covers from Fawcetts inventory. Thenew stories andlater coverswere oftendrawn by StanCampbell orDick Giordano,both of whomachieved apleasing style,with goodlikenesses.

    Of theFawcett westerntitles named inthe above fourparagraphs, allbut HopalongCassidy, TomMix, and thealready-canceled

    Smiley Burnette becameCharlton titles. At least one loneHoppy story appeared in thenow-Charlton anthology comicSix-Gun Heroes. After that,however, DC rather than CDC

    (Left and center:) A relatively late bloomer at Fawcett was Nyoka the Jungle Girl, inspired by a movie serial and launched in her own ongoing comic in 1945after a 1942 Jungle Girl one-shot. After an experimental photo cover on Nyoka #25, that of #30 (April 1949), seen here, launched a tradition which lasted till the

    titles Fawcett finale with #77 (June 1953). The artist of the interior page from #30 is uncertain, but researcher Hames Ware thinks it may be Art Pinajian.

    At right is the gorgeous cover of CDCs Nyoka #16 (April 1954), which continued the numbering of that companys previously humorous Zoo Funnies. Art is by Maurice Whitman, who drew many a lushly-illustrated Kanga adventure for Fiction Houses Jungle Comics. [Nyoka TM & 2004 AC Comics.]

    ...And Then There Were None! 47

    (Left:) When it came to those Saturday-afternoon cowboy movies, singer/actor TexRitter wasnt in a league with Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, or even Rocky Lanethough his warbling of High Noon in that 1952 film made a strong impact. Evenso, his comics title lasted a healthy 46 issues at two companies between 1950-59!Seen here is the Fawcett cover of Tex Ritter Western #1 (Oct. 1950). The Charltonrun began with #21 (March 1954). (Center & right:) CDCs covers for Lash LaRue,Monte Hale, and other westerns soon ceased using photos la Fawcett. Monte

    Hale #87 (Oct. 1955) features a small snapshot, but Lash LaRue #51 (Nov. 1954) is apure line-drawing by Stan Campbell. [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

  • wound up with Hopalong Cassidy (then the most popular cowboy heroafter Roy Rogers and maybe Gene Autry). Cassidy #86 (Feb. 1954) wasthe first from DC; Gene Colan and later Gil Kane were two of the newartists. Fawcetts few remaining western series (e.g., Tom Mix and RodCameron, both of which had lasted into 1953) were not picked up byCharltonor anyone elsethough a Cameron story or two did windup in the CDC version of Six-Gun Heroes. (In a bizarre twist, in theearly 1970s DC would also acquire the rights to the much-loved Big RedCheese and relaunch him and the rest of the Marvel Family in a comictitled Shazam!though the series floundered after an indifferent run.)

    Romance in Four ColorsRomance comics represented another major genre published by

    Fawcett. One of the companys innovations had been Negro Romance,which complemented its several earlier sports titles which had givenprominence to major African-American athletes of the day.Fawcetts proficient romance titles contained occasionalstories by Bob Powell, George Evans, Marc Swayze, MikeSekowsky, Shelly Moldoff, and Bob McCarty to enliveninterest. Sweethearts #120 (March 1953) featured the cultclassic I Lived in an Atom Blast Town, whilst thepreceding issue had sported a Marilyn Monroe photo cover.Fawcetts other long-running titles were Romantic Secrets,Romantic Story, and Sweetheart Diary. These four, plusNegro Romance and the western/romance hybrid titleCowboy Love, were transferred to the ownership ofCharlton/CDC (Capital Distributing Co.).

    As with the westerns, formerly-Fawcett romance materialappeared in comics bearing the CDC symbol beginning inearly 1954, with a few initial issues using photo covers. Itproved an erratic start. Romantic Story was suspended foreight months after just five issuesRomantic Secrets startedwith Vol. 2, #5, ignoring its original Fawcett numberingwhile Charltons Sweethearts premiered logically with #122,before an inexplicable switch to Vol. 2, #23, for thesecond. In 1957-58, Sweethearts spotlighted brief biogra-phies of several popular stars, whose black-&-white photoswere featured on those issues covers, surrounded byconventionally-drawn female admirers. Young heartthrobcelebrities utilized in this way included actor Sal Mineo and

    singers Tommy Sands,Ricky Nelson, PatBoone, and JimmieRodgers, in Sweethearts#39, 40, 42, 44, and 46.Young Lovers #18(May 1957), one ofCharltons originaltitles, featured the in-demand Elvis Presleyspecial issue.

    Other examples ofthis curious mix ofphotos and art can befound in CharltonsMy Little Margie #1-16 and Funny Animals#88-89. The latter borethe (very large!)subtitle The MerryMailman, andstarred actor RayHeatherton, whilstactress Gale Storm was

    featured as the adventuresome Margie, with Charles Farrell as herirascible father. Both were popular TV shows of the time; Margie hadbeen big on radio, as well. CDC otherwise abandoned the photo coversof the Fawcett era, in favor of line-drawn ones.

    Funny Peculiar!Some of Fawcetts most intriguing titles had been in the miscella-

    neous group: a mnage of adventure, crime, horror, movie and TVadaptations, sports, and humor.

    Pinhead and Foodini #1-4 (1951-2) had featured the adventures oftwo mischief making-puppets, adapted from an early TV series withhostess Doris Brown and puppeteer Morey Bunin. The puppet pair hadappeared in an earlier series from Continental, and in Stanhalls JingleDingle Christmas Stocking (1951).

    All three issues of Fawcetts Negro Romance had photo covers, as per #2 (Aug. 1950), seenhere. CDCs issue #4 (May 1955) was a reprint of Fawcetts second issue, with a line-drawing

    cover; there was no fifth issue. [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

    (Left:) With its fifth Fawcett issue (March 1947), Hopalong Cassidy sported a photo cover, as did most covers thereafter. Hoppy had begun as a one-shot in 1943 and commenced regular publication in 1946. (Center:) A single Hopalong Cassidy

    story popped up in the CDC-continued Six-Gun Heroes #24 (Jan. 1954), the first Charlton issue. (Right:) The DC cover for issue #88(April 1954) uses the same photoand even yellow backgroundas had Fawcetts #11 in 1947, though with two added line drawings.

    [2004 the respective copyright holders.]

    48 Charlton and the Remnants of the Fawcett Comics Empire -Part I

  • Another Fawcett TVspin-off had been CaptainVideo, with gorgeous artby George Evans,sometimes assisted by ayouthful Al Williamson;this was based on thepopular live-action showon the DuMontnetwork.

    There had also beenFawcett Movie Comicsand Motion PictureComics, which hadadapted more than thirtypopular films of the time,including now-collectiblescience-fiction adaptationsof Destination Moon,The Man from Planet X,and When WorldsCollide. The first-namedmovie rendition would bereprinted by Charlton,utilizing the original splashpage as the front cover,in Space Adventures

    #20 (March 1956). It would be recycled yet again in May 1958.

    Sports comics had likewise been a staple at Fawcett, highlightingsuch stars as Don Newcombe, Larry Doby, Ralph Kiner, RoyCampanella, Joe Louis, Yogi Berra, and especially JackieRobinson, the African-American who had broken the colorbarrier in baseball in 1947. The company also had published ananthology title, Thrilling Stories of Baseball.

    There had been a good half dozen horror and crime titles fromFawcett, as well, including This Magazine Is Haunted and StrangeSuspense Stories. Other esoteric titles had included Bob Swift, BoySportsman and Hot Rod Comics.

    From this enterprising assortment (in addition to the laterDestination Moon reprintings), Charlton elected to continue DonWinslow, Funny Animals, Nyoka, Ozzie and Babs, ThisMagazine Is Haunted, and Strange Suspense Stories. In lateryears, Charlton obtained the rights to Beetle Bailey, Rocky andBullwinkle, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jungle Jim, ThePhantom, Popeye, Quick Draw McGraw, Top Cat, and YogiBear from Gold Key and King, among other companies.

    The humorous Ozzie and Babs (an Archie wannabe) wasretitled TV Teens but continued the original Fawcett numbering.After two issues, the numbering was changed, perhaps areflection of US Post Office requirements to retain mailing privi-leges. TV Teens #6 (Jan. 1955) witnessed the introduction ofFawcetts naval hero Don Winslow, before that title switchedto its final feature, Mopsy. After his Charlton debut in TVTeens, Don Winslow of the Navy, once a popular fictitious heroon radio and TV and even in two movie serials, appeared as athree-issue series, preserving the Fawcett numbering. Mopsy, starof a newspaper comic strip, was a dark-haired flapper, ignorant ofthe effect she had on men and prone to risqu situations. Asdrawn by her creator, Gladys Parker, the effect is quite addictive.Although her comic book appearances ceased at Charlton in July1956, her comic strip continued until just before Parkers death in1966.

    Since the mid-1940s, Hoppy the Marvel Bunny had been the long-eared hero of both Fawcetts Funny Animals and his own title. He canbe considered the non-human member of The Marvel Family, though heseldom actually appeared with Cap, Mary, and/or Junior. Some timebefore the slightly-renamed Funny Animals had been acquired byCharlton, Hoppy had been altered into a standard non-super-poweredrabbit. Thanks to collector George Ramseys detective work (see Alter

    A montage of Fawcett titles thatwerent continued by Charlton:

    Pinhead and Foodini (#2, Sept. 1951)Captain Video (#1, Feb. 1950) Fawcett

    Movie Comic (though its DestinationMoon adaptation from #2 in 1950 was

    reprinted by Charltontwice!) JackieRobinson (#1, no date, but late1949/early 1950) and StrangeSuspense Stories #3 (Oct. 1952,

    with splash by George Evans). [2004the respective copyright holders.]

    50 Charlton and the Remnants of the Fawcett Comics Empire -Part I

    Fawcetts Funny Animals had relied uponoriginal characters like Hoppy the Marvel

    Bunny, Sherlock Monk, et al.but CDC soonveered off with a licensed TV property, asper the cover of its issue #88 (Jan. 1955).The interior art is by Fred Ottenheimer.

    [2004 the respective copyright holders.]