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$ 6.95 In the USA MERRY CHRISTMAS from Roy Thomas Fawcett-Happy Comics Fanzine No. 55 December 2005 ALEX ROSS JACK & OTTO BINDER KEN BALD VIC DOWD BOB BOYAJIAN MARC SWAYZE C.C. BECK EMILIO SQUEGLIO JOANNA PANG of ISIS KURT SCHAFFENBERGER BILL WARD & MORE!!! With Art & Artifacts By: & Art ©2005 Alex Ross; Marvel Family TM & ©2005 DC Comics.

Alter Ego #55

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Special Fawcett and Christmas Issue! Cover painting of the Marvel Family by ALEX ROSS! JACK and OTTO BINDER—legendary Golden Age writer-and-artist brothers—in a candid self-interview never before published, with rare art by C.C. BECK, BILL WARD, BOB McCAY, KURT SCHAFFENBERGER, et al.! Golden Age artists (and brothers-in-law!) KEN BALD and VIC DOWD interviewed by JIM AMASH about their years at Fawcett, Quality, and elsewhere! Double-size FCA section with artists MARC SWAYZE and EMILIO SQUEGLIO—TV’s “Isis” JOANNA PANG speaks—Marvel Family Christmas stories—and Brazil’s Capitão Marvel! Plus: Comics-pro Christmas Card Art from REED CRANDALL—JOE SINNOTT—RUSS HEATH—JIM MOONEY—NICK CARDY—ESTEBAN MAROTO—and others! Bonus: ALEX WRIGHT presents a new 1943 Pin-Up Calendar starring super-heroines portrayed by your favorite movie femme fatales of World War II! Plus—ALEX TOTH—BILL SCHELLY intros a fabled 1966 panel about the Comics Code —MICHAEL T. GILBERT—and MORE!

Text of Alter Ego #55

  • $6.95In the USA

    MERRY CHRISTMAS from

    Roy Thomas Fawcett-HappyComics Fanzine

    No.55December

    2005

    ALEX ROSSJACK & OTTO BINDERKEN BALD VIC DOWD

    BOB BOYAJIANMARC SWAYZE C.C. BECK

    EMILIO SQUEGLIOJOANNA PANG of ISIS

    KURT SCHAFFENBERGERBILL WARD & MORE!!!

    WithArt &

    ArtifactsBy:

    &

    Art 2005 Alex Ross; Marvel Family TM & 2005 DC Comics.

  • 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. Singleissues: $9 ($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.

    FIRST PRINTING.

    This Issue Is DedicatedTo The Memories Of

    Otto & Jack Binder

    Our Annual Fawcett Festival!

    ContentsWriter/Editorial: Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! . . . . . . . . . . . . 2See You On Groundhog Day!

    My First Shazam! Painting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4Alex Ross reveals the story behind this issues colorful Marvel Family cover.

    I Did Better On Bulletman Than I Did OnMillie The Model . . . . . . . 5Ken Bald on drawing comic books (for Fawcett, Timely, et al.) & comic strips.

    I Thought That Comic Books Would Never Last . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22Vic Dowd relates what he feels is the typical cartoonists story.

    Comics Werent MyMain Goal In Life . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35Even so, artist Bob Boyajian accomplished plenty at Fawcett & the Binder shop.

    Comic Crypt: John Stanley, Part III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41Michael T. Gilbert completes his tribute to the great Little Lulu writer/artist.

    Leonard Darvin SpeaksAbout The Comics Code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47Bill Schelly presents Part III of our coverage of the 1966 New York comicons.

    A FCA (Fawcett Collectors of America) Spectacular! . . . . . . . . . . . . 53P.C. Hamerlinck showcases a 1973 conversation between Jack & Otto Binder, a real- life MarvelFamilyJoanna Pang of TVs IsisMarc Swayzea Captain Marvel Christmas& more!

    A Brand New 1943 Pin-Up Calendar &Christmas Cards From The Pros . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Flip Us!About Our Cover: Super-star artist Alex Ross clues us all inon p. 4. [Art 2005 Alex Ross;Captain Marvel TM & 2005 DC Comics.]

    Above: A panel penciled by Golden Age artist Ken Bald from Bulletman #9 (Nov. 13, 1942).Youll see a lot of art from this story in this issue! [Restored art 2005 AC Comics; BulletmanTM & 2005 DC Comics.]

    Vol. 3, No. 55/December 2005EditorRoy 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

    Cover Artists & ColoristsAlex RossAlex Wright

    And Special Thanks to:Neal AdamsHeidi AmashJoanna Pang Atkins

    & Richard AtkinsBob BaileyKen & Kaye BaldBill BlackFrank BrunnerOrlando BusinoBob & Gail

    BoyajianFrank BrunnerNick CaputoNick CardyDewey CassellVic DowdMichael DunneShane FoleyDave FontaineJenna FreeJanet GilbertMatt GoreGary GrothJennifer

    HamerlinckRuss HeathMark & Stephanie

    HeikeShayna IanAdele Kurtzman

    Richard KyleAndy McKinneyJim MooneyMatt MoringBrian K. MorrisAlbert MoyWill MurrayDon PhelpsJohn G. PierceWarren ReeceAlex RossAlex SaviukDorothy

    SchaffenbergerErnie SchroederJoe & Betty SinnottEmilio SqueglioJim StanleyMarc SwayzeDann ThomasMort ToddJim Vadeboncoeur, Jr.Dr. Michael J.

    VassalloHames WareAlex WrightRodrigo M. ZeidanRodriguez ZelisTom Ziuko

  • 2 Title

    ith this issue, Ive had to bite the bullet (if not Bulletgirl) andask publishers John & Pam Morrow to cut Alter Ego backfrom 12 fat issues a year to a mere eight for 2006.

    Im happy to say my reluctant decision had nothing to do with sales.Its just that, with a little encouragement (!) from my loving wife Dann, Isat down recently and added up the amount of work I had to do for nextyear: A/E every month The All-Star Companion, Vol. 2, slated forJune 2006 (it has the page count of two A/E issues, but needs as muchwork as at least four!)two hardcover bookstore books for later in2006 several actual comic books (including at least four issues ofAnthem for Heroic Publications, the first of which goes on sale this verymonthsee opposite page!) all this plus one or two secret projects. Arelatively full plate, considering last month I turned 65old enough forSocial Security and alleged retirement!

    Poring over the above list, I realized something had to give. And theonly thing I could scale back, without giving it up completely, was AlterEgo.

    Please note I didnt bump the mag back to bimonthly, let alone to itsoriginal quarterly frequency. I did what minimally had to be donewiththe fervent hope and intention that, in 2007, well return to monthly

    publication with a vengeance.

    Thus, A/E #56 will go on sale in Februaryactually, most people willsee it closer to Valentines Day than to Groundhog Day, but the lattermade for a catchier titleand we hope youll think it worth the two-month wait. #57 is set for March (a Golden Age of Marvel super-spectacular), then well be monthly from May through August. And werealready planning out next years Halloween and Christmas/holiday issues!

    Meanwhile, enjoy this months Fawcett fiesta, from its lavish Alex Rosscover towell, to its Liberty Belle cover! Designer Alex Wright puttogether such a great 1943 pin-up Christmas calendar (just what youasked for this Yuletide, right? Well, it will be, when you see it!) that wejust had to restore our flip-cover format long enough to show you WWIImovie star Veronica Lake as Libby in full color.

    Dont say we never gave you anything!

    Bestest,

    P.S.: Our letters section will be back next issuecross our heart!

    ADAMSADLERSIEGEL & SHUSTERand HOWARD STERN?

    Edited by ROY THOMASSUBSCRIBE NOW! Twelve Issues in the US: $60 Standard, $96 First Class

    (Canada: $120, Elsewhere: $132 Surface, $180 Airmail).NOTE: IF YOU PREFER A SIX-ISSUE SUB, JUST CUT THE PRICE IN HALF!

    COMING IN FEBRUARYCOMING IN FEBRUARY

    [Art 2005 Neal Adams; Superman TM & 2005 DC Comics.]

    #56

    A superlative 3-S cover drawn & colored by NEAL ADAMS!

    Incredible interviews with Superman creators JERRY SIEGEL & JOE SHUSTERGolden/Silver Age DC production & color guru JACK ADLERplus super-artistsNEAL ADAMS & JOE KUBERT & TV wild man (& comics fan) HOWARD STERNon Adlers amazing career!

    More surprise features on the Man of Steelfeaturing rare art by CURT SWAN,MURPHY ANDERSON, CARMINE INFANTINO, GIL KANE, MIKE SEKOWSKY,NICK CARDY, ANDRU & ESPOSITO, LEE ELIAS, WAYNE BORING, AL PLASTINO,KURT SCHAFFENBERGER, FRED RAY, DICK GIORDANO, JOE ORLANDO, et al.!

    Plus: FCAMICHAEL T. GILBERTALEX TOTHBILL SCHELLY, & MORE!!

    writer/editorial

    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!See You On Groundhog Day!

    A Sensational Symposiumof SUPER MEN!

    WW

    PLUS:

    TwoMorrows. Bringing New Life To Comics Fandom.TwoMorrows 10407 Bedfordtown Drive Raleigh, NC 27614 USA 919-449-0344 FAX: 919-449-0327 E-mail: [email protected] www.twomorrows.com

  • I Did Better On Bulletman ThanI Did On Millie The Model

    Golden Age Great KEN BALD On Drawing Comic Books, Comic Strips, And Lots More!Interview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amashen Bald is remembered by comic book fans for his self-assured, illustrative style. A graduate of Pratt Institute, Kensimply outdrew most of his peers during his career. Not many

    artists can go from art school to being art director at a place like theJack Binder studios as easily as Ken did. Kens style lent itself tovarious genresa must in those days of ever-changing trends. If anartist couldnt go from drawing super-heroes to romance or crimestories or Westerns, he soon found himself unemployed. Ken neverhad that problem. He could change styles effortlessly and effectively:from Captain Marvel to Millie the Model, to newspaper strips like Dr.Kildare and Dark Shadows, and to illustration. To most observers, itappears that theres nothing Ken couldnt doexcept hide from uswhen we came a-callin. This interviews about the only way wecould get this inveterate athlete off the basketball court! Take ten,Ken!Jim.

    Tarzan In The Elephants GraveyardReally Sparked My Imagination

    JIM AMASH: Lets start off at the usual place: when and where wereyou born?

    KEN BALD: New York City, August 1,1920. I was the oldest of five children. Myfather died in 1931, when I was ten. Hewas a policeman in Mount Vernon, NewYork, and worked the morning shift. Hehad what he thought was only a gasattack, and kept on walking. Whathappened was that he had appendicitis,and when he came home that Saturdaymorning, he collapsed in front of us. Iwas the oldest, and the youngest was mysister, who was ten months old at thetime. I had two other brothers, one whowas eight and the other, three. Anotherbrother, Clifford, died at the age of fourmonths. A couple of years later, doctorswould have been able to save my father,but they didnt have the knowledge to doso at the time. Unfortunately, my sisterand I are the only ones left alive.

    JA:What got you interested in writingand drawing?

    BALD: I think most children like todraw. Its only the ones who keep at itthat get anywhere. I used to draw a lot ofactors and actresses faces. Then I sawHal Fosters Tarzan in the newspapers,and seeing Tarzan in the elephants

    graveyard really sparked my imagination. I took every art class I couldin school, and luckily I turned out well enough so that one of my artteachers, Elsie Nourse, got me a scholarship for Pratt Institute. I did wellenough at Pratt that they kept renewing my scholarship each year. Infact, I was number one in my class.

    JA: Before I ask you about Pratt, tell me about the cartoon contestyou won.

    BALD: Oh, that was when I was little kid... about fifteen. I drew aheavy woman with a kid in her arms and three or four kids runningaround, while shes ironing something. There was a load of dirty clotheswaiting to washed in the kitchen. Back then, there was a popular songtitled Alone on a Night like This, but I wont sing it for you. Thewoman is singing Alone. That drawing won me five bucks.

    JA: I know that was a big thrill for you. [Ken agrees] Tell me aboutthe friends you made at Pratt. I know Bill Ward was a fraternitybrother.

    BALD: Thats right. Bill was a year ahead of us and was working at JackBinders shop. He recruited a whole slew of Pratt students: Bob

    KK

    5

    The Bald TruthKen Bald circa the late 1940s, looking like he might be in a wedding party, in a photo sent by

    Dorothy (Mrs. Kurt) Schaffenberger to P.C. Hamerlinck some time ago

    while at right is one of the few Golden Age super-hero stories which has definitely been attributed to Bald,from Bulletman #9 (cover-dated Nov. 13, 1942). This art was restored, with grey tones added, by Bill Black andthe gang at AC Comics, publishers of the most invaluable line of Golden Age reprint comics around. (See their

    comics ad on p. 34.) [Restored art 2005 AC Comics; Bulletman & Bulletgirl TM & 2005 DC Comics.]

  • Boyajian, Vic Dowd, Kurt Schaffenberger, RayHarford, and me, among others, Im sure. Thefive of us started at Pratt in the fall of 1938. Wespent a lot of time together, doing things onweekends, like going to the Palisades. Wed all goout together with our girlfriends. In fact, three ofusRay Harford, Kurt, and myselfmarried thegirls we dated at Pratt. Of course, you know Imarried Vics sister Kaye.

    I played semi-pro football while at Pratt. Ibroke my leg just above my left ankle in my lastyear in high school, though it healed rapidlyenough. Our football team was called theCourtland Tigers, and we played throughoutWestchester Countyour home field being inMount Vernon, though we played in the Bronxsometimes. We never made that much money. Iplayed left half and cornerback; I wasnt veryheavy, but I was tall enough. I was also a kickreturner. My brother was a lineman and wasbigger than me. We wore leather helmets anddidnt have face guards until the last year Iplayed. I broke two ribs in my last game. Wepracticed on Saturdays and played on Sundays. Then I graduated fromPratt. By the way, my son made all-Ivy playing cornerback at theUniversity of Pennsylvania some thirty years later.

    [Jack Binder] Treated Me As AMember Of The FamilyJA: Sports is a big topic in my family, too, as my brothers and I are allathletes. So, was Jack Binder the one who hired you?

    BALD: Yes. He had a big home in Englewood, New Jersey. His brotherOtto may have been living with Jack when I started working there,because I remember that Otto got married during my time at Binders.[NOTE: Photos of the Binder brothers appear in this issues edition ofFCA.Roy.]

    Otto was a great comics writer, and he also did alot of science-fiction writing. He wrote wonderfulcomic book stories. He married a very pretty lady,but unfortunately they suffered a terrible tragedy[in the early 1970s]. Their 13-year-old daughter[Mary], who was the apple of their eye, was in highschool. She was walking towards the parking lot,bent down to pick up a book she dropped, andsome hot-rod kids came pulling into the space andkilled her. Otto and his wife were never the sameafter that.

    Id double-date with Jack and his wife, and wedgo visit [main Captain Marvel artist] C.C. Beck,and sometimes Otto came with us. Jack had a lovelydaughter, and his wife Olga was a sweet, great gal.Jack used to say... I think he came from Michigan orsome place with a lot of snow.... I ran barefootedthrough the snow to go to school. You guys dontknow what work is! [laughter] He was a delight!Most guys liked Jack.

    He treated me as a member of the family. Hemade me the art director. We first started working inone of the downstairs rooms of his big home, andwhen he finished fixing up the top floor of his barn,we moved out there. We had close to thirty peopleworking there. After a year, he thought it best to

    move to New York, so we moved the studio to507 Fifth Avenue. That was so much better forme, because I didnt live in New Jersey and thiswas an easier commute.

    Now, you know we were doing piecework onthese pages. Very often, the artists would draw aback view of the characters. The Fawcett officescalled us The Backside Binder Studio. Its veryeasy to draw the back of a character in theforeground to hide details. That was a cute joke,but there was enough truth in it that we wantedto change that perception.

    JA:What did you start out doing in the Bindershop?

    BALD: I started out doing main figures, and Ithink I made $4 a page for that. The art cost foran entire page was around $17.50. I had anability to get reasonable likenesses of people. Imay have done some secondary figures, too, butas we got busier, I concentrated on the mainfigures. For instance, Id draw the Bulletman and

    Bulletgirl figures, and other artists did the rest. Fawcett was our mainaccount, and then we started producing a lot of work for Street & Smith.We did Captain Marvel and then, of course, DC sued Fawcett overthat character. That suit dragged on for years and years.

    JA:How did you find out about the lawsuit? And what was thegeneral reaction to it?

    BALD: I guess they just told us. We didnt see any real comparisonbetween the two. I suppose you could make every super-hero seem thesame if you base it solely on their having super-powers. I did not thinkCaptain Marvel was in any way a take-off on Superman. Billy Batsonwas a kid who said Shazam, and he was not like Clark Kent, a meekand mild adult who only needed to take off his business suit to becomeSuperman.

    JA:One of the things that was alleged wasthat some Fawcett artists used Superman artas swipes.

    BALD: That was not true. I never saw thathappen. But I was out of comics and into theservice by December of 42. I was only therefrom May 41 until December 42less thantwo years. C.C. Beck had a formula fordrawing Captain Marvel, so there was no needto swipe from Superman. If someone hadswiped from Superman in the studios, Id haveknown about it, and that did not happen whileI was there. I dont think C.C. Beck wouldhave stood for that, either, and he more or lesssaw everything that was done on CaptainMarvel.

    JA: I agree, because the C.C. Beck I knewdidnt even like Superman, and he certainlydrew better than Joe Shuster. Id like tochange subjects now and ask you about thesoftball games you guys played. You did thatin New Jersey, right?

    BALD: Right. In New York, wed work late,but not as late as we did in New Jersey. Wewere all young then. Wed take a two-hourlunch and play during that time. After that,

    Dig My Grave Deep Very DeepAfter the first Johnny Weissmuller-starring

    movie, Tarzan the Ape-Man, was released inearly 1932, the Tarzan Sunday comics page

    quickly picked up on the concept of the fabledelephants graveyard, as illustrated by

    Harold R. Foster. This panel is from the strip for9-25-32. Thank Goro for those wonderful

    NBM/Flying Buttress volumes of the completeFoster & Hogarth years! [2005 Edgar Rice

    Burroughs, Inc.]

    Youve Gotta Be A Football HeroKen (at left) and his brother Walter in 1939. He

    says its the year before our face guards.Ouch! Photo courtesy of Ken Bald.

    6 Ken Bald On Drawing Comic Books, Comic Strips, And Lots More!

  • wed work and then go have dinner in town. Sometimes we went back tothe barn and worked until 11 or 12 oclock.

    JA:Who came up with the idea for the softball teams?

    BALD: I think Fawcett did, so they could play the Binder team. [Writerand sometime editor] Rod Reedwhom I liked very muchgot theFawcett team together. We had been playing among ourselves in New

    Jersey. Wed play eachother and, at times, wedplay the Fawcett team. Itwas fun. We were allyoung, and then the olderguys came in and playedwith us.

    JA:Who were the goodball players?

    BALD:Well, if you askedRod Reed, hed have said Iwas Pee Wee Reese [Hall ofFame shortstop of theBrooklyn Dodgers.Jim.]

    We werent outstanding, but were good enough.

    JA: Ive read that Mac Raboy was a good ballplayer.

    BALD: Otto Binder said that, and you know,he was wrong. Mac did not play with us.Possibly Otto had Mac confused with me. Idont know why he thought Mac played.

    JA: Did C.C. Beck play?

    BALD: No, he didnt. I knew Beck throughJack Binder and we did some of the CaptainMarvel stuff, but I didnt see much of Beck

    during that period. After the war, I saw Beck and his wife Hildy, whowas very nice. I went out to dinner with my date and the Becks a fewtimes before the war. I liked C.C. very much. Jack was a charmer, and Icouldnt have had a better boss. He was like an older brother, in a way.

    JA: Did everyone else feel the same way about Binder?

    BALD: No. No, but a lot of fellows really liked him. He hadtrouble with a couple of fellows. One fellowI hesitate to give hisnamedidnt like Jack and felt he was being taken advantage of.

    JA:Were there any practical jokers in the studio?

    BALD: Not really, because we were too busy.

    JA:Who was the art director when you started working there?

    BALD: Actually, Jack was. There were only five or six guys therethen. But when the studio got bigger, a very nice fellow named PeterRiss became the art director. Pete didnt like the job; he wanted todo his own stuff. Thats when Jack asked me to be become the artdirector. I thought the money was pretty good, and I could still dothe main figures on the pages as well as drawing the covers.

    The Prestige Of Being A New York StudioJA: So you were paid a salary for being the art director, but youalso got paid for your other work.

    BALD: Oh, yeah! And when we moved to New York, the glass-paneled door read Jack Binder Studios - Ken Bald, Art Director.That was the office part for Jack, Wendell Crowley, and myself. Therest were in a great big room, and at one point, there were 35 artistsin there. I was thrilled to see my name on that door.

    Now, the guy who had painted all this stuff on the door had justleft, when the phone rang inside the office. I turned the door knoband pushed the door with my shoulder. The knob didnt turn fullyand the glass breaks and shatters on my feet! [laughs] I thought,

    I Did Better On Bulletman Than I Did OnMillie The Model! 7

    Well Root, Root, Root For The Home TeamWeve run this photo of the Binder studio baseball team twice beforeincludingjust last issuebut couldnt resist showcasing it again, this time with Ken Baldspersonal IDs of most of the players. Artist Nat Champlin told us in A/E, Vol. 3, #3,

    that he set the camera on delayed action and jumped back into the pictureandstill managed to look nice and relaxed, third from the left, sitting! Unidentified by

    Ken in the photo are two of the standees: Dick Rylands (second from left) andJohn Westlake (on far right). Ken adds the info that this pic was taken across the

    street from the studioone of our two-hour lunch and softball breaks1941.

    Two Shopmeisters: Beck & Binder(Left:) Otto Binders note on this photo he sent Roy Thomas circa 1964: On the left is Charles ClarenceBeck, chief artist for Captain Marvel from the very start to the very end1940 to 1953. He is now living inFlorida and doing commercial art. Thats just a friend in the middle; on the right is Pete Riss, deceasedsome years ago, who worked in Jacks art shop while it lasted, then did romance comics, Westerns, andsuch for Fawcett, Goodman, and several other old-time comics publishers. Actually, Beck drew the first

    Captain Marvel story in 1939, though it was cover-dated Jan. 1940.

    (Right:) 1941 photo of the original studio in Jack Binders home, prior to its moving into the large barnin Englewood, New Jersey. (Clockwise, from lower left:) Vic Dowd (whose own interview follows this

    one)Jimmy Potter (whose life was cut short in a training accident during World War II)Bob Boyajian(his interview follows Dowds!)and Ken Bald. We cant be sure what feature the lads are drawingbut

    from the amount of flames on these pages, maybe its Ajax the Sun Man, a series none of the artistsinterviewed in this issue recalls ever drawing, but which ran for several years in Street & Smiths DocSavage. (We showed a sample of it in A/E #49.) Fawcett and longtime pulp-mag publishers Street &

    Smith were the Binder shops two chief clients. Photo courtesy of Ken Bald.

  • Oh, my God! But Jack was great about it, and called the guy back toreplace the glass. I felt like such a dumb kid. And I was a kid! I was 21at the time. Its one of those things you never forget!

    Now, I lived in Mount Vernon, and it used to take me two hours eachway to get to Pratt. When I got home, Id have to do my homework.But when youre young, you dont need much sleep and can keep thosekinds of hours. When I got the job with Binder in New Jersey... now, ifId had a car, I could have gotten there in a half hour. But I had to take atrolley, then the subway, and finally a bus. I did that for one monthbefore Vic Dowd and I decided to share a room close by. We did thatuntil Vic got appendicitis. Oh, he was so sick! He didnt come back towork for Binder after that. They had sulfa drugs by then, so Vic was ableto get the treatment he needed. They didnt have those drugs when myfather was stricken, or theyd have been able to save his life. After Vicleft, Kurt Schaffenberger and I took a room together at Ma Bogartshouse.

    JA:Why did Jack Binder move his operations to New York?

    BALD: I think because we were doing so much work for Fawcett andStreet & Smith that he wanted to be closer to them. And there was theprestige of being a New York studio.

    JA:How much artwork did Jack Binder do in the shop? It seems likehed been too busy to do a whole lot, but I know he signed a lot ofstories.

    BALD: He didnt do any of our artwork, but he had done artwork. Iremember him coming around showing us how to draw an ear. He had aformula for drawing the inside of an ear and so forth. He did some art-directing, initially, but I never saw him put pencil or pen to paper. Hewas like the company salesman; he got us the work. Wendell Crowleyhandled all the business and the numbershe was the office manager.

    JA:What do you remember about WendellCrowley?

    BALD: I remember his voice and his height. Ittook a lot to make Wendell laugh. He had a

    serious countenance and was the seriousone. He saw things in numbers, but he

    was certainly easy enough to get alongwith. We were pretty different from

    each other.

    JA: Did you know Al Allard?

    BALD: He was an art director forFawcett, and I think he came out to Binders whenwe had the ball games and picnics. The Fawcettemployee I knew the best was Rod Reed. We gotalong very well and he was astute enough to think Iplayed shortstop like Pee Wee Reese. [laughter] Years

    later, Kurt showed me a letter that Rod had written,and in that letter he asked about me, and thats when he

    made the Pee Wee Reese comment.

    Doing Comics Gave Me A Very Good IdeaOf How To Tell A Story

    JA:How long were you Jack Binders art director?

    BALD: Less than a year and a half. I became art director in August orSeptember of 41 and held that position until I left for the service.Outside of what I told you earlier, my duties included making sure theartists did what they were supposed to do and that the work got out ontime.

    JA: Did the fact that you started out as a peer and then became a bosshave any effect on the others?

    BALD: Not then, but when I came back from the service, Jack Binderand Beck wanted me to become art director for the group that they had.I did it as a favor for Jack, but left after a month, because I could seesome of the fellows didnt like being told to change this or that. I didntwant any part of that. Id been a captain in the Marines. I left to do myown stuff. There werent problems like that during my first go-round. Ithink everyone took it well when I was in charge.

    JA: In Sterankos History of the Comics, Otto Binder gave you a lotof credit with regard to how the pages were divided up between theartists. How involved were you in that?

    BALD: I had a lot to say about it. Doing comics gave me a very goodidea of how to tell a story. The reader should know whats going onwithout word balloons explaining everything, though text is important. Ifelt some artists didnt do that. We were there to tell the story. We didntbreak up panel arrangements in the way that its been done since, but wetried to get a variety of shots so we could get rid of that BacksideBinder reputation. I cant take that much credit for the division oflabor, but Jack and I had something to do with how it was done.

    JA:What do you remember about your Street & Smith work? I haveyou listed as doing The Shadow, Rex King, Doc Savage,Blackstone the Magician, and Ajax the Sun Man. And did youprefer working on these features as opposed to Fawcetts? Or did itmatter?

    BALD: I dont remember Ajax the Sun Man, but I remember theothers. It didnt really matter what company I was doing work for,though I did like Blackstone the Magician and Doc Savage. I didSpy Smasher, Golden Arrow, Captain Midnight, and Bulletman

    Takin A WhizIts generally difficult, if not impossible, to be certain which storiesKen Bald drew for Fawcett, but at one time or another he workedon Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher, and (earliest) Golden Arrowall

    pictured in this ad for Whiz Comics, which appeared in Spy Smasher #7(Oct. 1942). [2005 DC Comics.]

    Butthe beneficent Mr. B. drew the sketch at right of the Big RedCheese specifically as a gift for Jim Amash. And, incidentally, for therest of us! [Art 2005 Ken Bald; Captain Marvel TM & DC Comics.]

    8

  • I Thought That ComicBooks Would Never Last

    VIC DOWD Relates What He Feels Is The Typical Cartoonists StoryInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amashhis interview is a good example of why Alter Ego exists. VicDowds career has been documented, though not nearly as fullyas it should have been. Beyond that, Im often surprised at

    what unrevealed aspects of peoples lives are sitting there, waiting tobe uncovered. Im not just talking about new information on whatcomic creators did during their careers, but in the non-comicsportions of their lives, too. I wont spoilthe surprise for you, because youll seewhat I mean when Vic talks about hiswar experiences. Around those events,Vic discusses his career at Fawcett andTimelyamong other placesand thepeople he knew. And thanks to thewealth of material that Vic sent us, you get to seehow well-rounded and versatile an artist Vic hasbeen over the years.Jim.

    It Was A Logical ProgressionJIM AMASH: Id like to know about your background and what gotyou interested in drawing.

    VIC DOWD: I was born in Brooklyn, New York, November 7, 1920. Iwas always drawing. My story is the typical cartoonists story. I grew upin a very athletically-oriented neighborhood, in that those were the dayswhen kids played ball without parental supervision. I belonged to aneighborhood team, started playing stickball, and when we got older, wewere playing softball and basketball... whatever the team sport of theseason was, was what we played. But, as a little kid, my mother neverhad any problems with me because I liked to draw.

    It was an uncle who alerted my parents to the fact that I had morethan just a typical little boys interest in drawing. I was the class artist ingrammar school, and it was suggested that I do more with it. I took artclasses in high school, and by the time I was finished, I had a portfoliothat got me into Pratt Institute. It was a logical progression; each schoolI went to told me to continue on.

    I was always interested in drawing. I used to read the newspaperstrips and spend time looking at the rotogravure section, especially theHearst rotogravure section. I was a fan of Alex Raymonds work as farback as I can remember: both his Jungle Jim and Flash Gordon strips. Idevoured magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and thewomens magazines, for their illustrations. That was my art gallery. As Isaid, its a typical story for cartoonists of my generation.

    I made copies of the covers in the magazine sections of the Sundaynewspapers. Theyd be painted by well-known illustrators likeMcClelland Barclay and James Montgomery Flagg. As a matter of fact, Iwent to high school at Brooklyn Tech, which was a very good school,but was mainly turning out engineers. The reason I went there wasbecause they had a very good art department. I took college preparatorycourses all through high school, but the extra art was done after hours,so I couldnt try out for the baseball team, which practiced at 3 oclock. I

    took an hour and a half every afternoon, drawing from a clothed modelor drawing each other, if no model was available. I was always drawingpeople. My ability to draw people helped me get into Pratt.

    JA: I have a note here that says you grew up in France.

    DOWD: No, I spent my 9th birthday in France. My mother was Frenchand was a World War I war bride. She married my father, who was Irish-American, and in the American Army. He was stationed in France in1918, which was where they met and married. In those days, when awoman married an American, she automatically became an Americancitizen, which is very different from the way it is today. My motherspoke English, so she must have had a good education in France.

    Part of her training wassince these were the war years, and beforeAmerica got into the warthat in school, she wrote letters to English

    TT

    (Above:) Vic Dowd before his painting At the Cannons, which wasdisplayed at the Westport Arts Center in Westport, Connecticut, in 2003.

    Photo courtesy of Vic.

    (Left:) Alas, neither Vic nor we have been able to positively identify anycomic book work that was definitively hisbut researcher Jim Vadeboncoeur,

    Jr., sent Jim Amash these two pieces of art from Super Magician #5 (May1942), published by Street & Smith and starring Blackstone the Magician,into which the artist sneaked his initials and last name! The first detail, near

    the C! in case it doesnt show clearly hear, says V.C.D. & plus anothername we cant readwhile the second detail, now that its been magnifiedseveral times, clearly shows the name Dowd at the base of an object near

    the ladys foot.

    Jim V., whos kept a record of such things, says that this issue has some ofthe best sneaks [of artists hidden names] ever to appear in comics! He goes

    on: 1st page of Blackstone is pure Binder Shop with many hands at workon the center-spread where background artist Clarence Rousch delivers yet

    another great sneak (oddly, spelling his name Roush!). Unfortunately,neither Jim V. nor Jim A. has an actual copy of actual issue so we could show

    you the full pages that went with them, but heyyou do what you can![2005 the respective copyright holders.]

    22

  • fighting men, whose names were assigned to her in school. Thatsharpened her English and kept up the morale of the soldiers. As far asmy being in France, my grandmother was in France when I was a littleboy, and we visited there a couple of times. I did live in France for a yearand went to school, but I was happy to come back to the United Statesand rejoin my pals.

    Besides my ball-playing friends, I found a friend in Brooklyn, wholiked to draw and paint. On rainy days, wed do that together. Wed alsogo to the Brooklyn Museumall of which kept us out of the pool hall.In my neighborhood, people played fair and fought fairno piling on ifa fight broke out. I think the movies and church influenced us to behonest people.

    My sister Kaye married Ken Bald. I didnt meet Ken until I went toPratt. We hit it off immediately, and we used to visit each other at ourhomes, which is how he met Kaye. Ken had a similar background,though he grew up in Mount Vernon. We had a lot in common.

    The Four MusketeersJA:What was Ken like in school?

    DOWD: He was low-key, didnt come on strong, but wasvery confident and good at what he did. We were equallyfriendly with Bob Boyajian and Ray Harford. We used tocall ourselves The Four Musketeers. We met in our firstyear of Pratt, went to Jack Binders together, and stayedfriends all throughout these years, though Ray Harfordpassed away a couple of years ago. Al Duca was there,too, though I lost touch with him after we worked atBinders.

    Kurt Schaffenberger was there, but Ken got to knowhim better than I did. Kurt marriedyoung, Ken married young, sothey socialized together. I didntget married until I was 30. Kurtand Dottie got married before Kenand Kaye didin fact, Kaye was18 when they got married. Kaye isthree years younger than I am. Shemarried Ken while he was in theMarines.

    JA:When you were at Pratt, didyou have a particular art careerchoice in mind?

    DOWD: Yes. Ken and I... and Ithink Bob, too... signed up to takea class with Monty Crews, whowas a professional illustrator, doingwork for pulps like Blue Book.What happened was the pulps tooka big hit when comic books camealong. There had been some verygood illustrators and writersworking in the pulps, like DashiellHammett, Austin Briggs, and EdCartier. Both Ken and I wanted towork in pen and ink, or brush andink, so pulps seemed to be thelogical place for us to work. Butthe pulps were dying.

    Bill Ward was the one who gotus to go to Binders. He had been a

    year ahead of us in school, but he was a fraternity brother of Ken, Bob,and mine. We were in Alpha Pi Alpha. Bill did wonderful girlie cartoons,even in school. Hed cover the walls with full-page cartoons, with a nice,flowing line. He was a personable guy. He did layouts in Binders shop,and so did a wonderful artist named John Spranger.

    Then, there was a fellow named Clem Weisbeckera real characterfrom Greenwich Villagewho was older than we were. He was a tough-talking New York-accented artist, who apparently did very goodpaintings of animals. What he did for Binder was to lay out the pages;they were rough and vigorous. Ken and I would rub the pages downwith a kneaded eraser before we worked on them. I did main figures,someone else did secondary figures, and another person would dobackgrounds.

    I was good at drawing pretty women, because, as I told you, Idpracticed drawing them from the rotogravure sections of the newspaper.Remember the Petty girls? I used to draw those when I was very young,and Petty drew perfectly-proportioned women, so I developed theknack of drawing them very early on.

    JA: Is there anything in particular you remember about Weisbecker?

    DOWD: I remember being amused by him. We used to take these longlunches, which wasnt always good, because we were doing piecework.If you took two-hour lunches, you werent making any money. Beingsingle, I didnt care and would just work later at night. Ken and I gottired of commuting to Binders shop in Englewood, New Jersey, so for awhile we rented a room near Binders.

    No ClemBut Heres The BillIts frustrating not to be able to run work by Golden Age artist Clem Weisbecker, whos recalled in this issue by both

    Vic Dowd and the Binder brothers (see FCA section). Ye Editor recalls the late Gil Kane mentioning him as drawingCaptain America stories for Timely during the early 1940s when Gil was briefly passing through Martin Goodmans

    companybut, far as we know, no one has yet identified any stories to which he contributed.

    Bill Ward, happily, is another matter. He can be seen in a photo on p. 7, as well as in this tiny photo of PFC Wardfrom his World War II days. Its surrounded here by:

    (Top right:) A strip done for the Army circa 1943, featuring Ack-Ack Amy, the prototype of his postwar Torchy donefor Busy Arnolds Quality Comics Group. [2005 Estate of Bill Ward.]

    (Above left:) A Bulletman panel he drew for an issue of Master Comics, as retouched and grey-toned by Bill Blacks ACComics for the b&w Men of Mystery #38 [Restored art 2005 AC Comics; Bulletman TM & 2005 DC Comics.]

    (Bottom right:) The first of four daily-style strips done circa 1990 for W.O.W. The World of Ward #1, published by AlliedAmerican Artists, a division of Mort Todd Ltd.also the source of the PFC Ward photo. Note the reference to drawing

    Captain Marvel and to Fawcett editor Wendell Crowley! With thanks to Mort Todd. [2005 Estate of Bill Ward.]

    I Thought That Comic Books Would Never Last 23

  • Getting back to Weisbecker: wed have lunch and hed tell theseraunchy stories about his escapades with loose women. He was a littleguy, not very good-looking, but gave the aura of being completely self-confident. He was a Jimmy Cagney, John Garfield type. But he coulddraw, though I never saw him draw realistic people. He exhibited hispaintings in Greenwich Village. I dont know how long he was atBinders, but I know he was already there when I started.

    JA: Ive heard he had a drinking problem. Do you remember that?

    DOWD: No, I dont. Im not surprised if he did, but I never knewabout it. How he got to Binders, I couldnt tell you. I just know hecould draw very quickly and lay out a page in minutes. The long shot,close-ups... all roughly drawn, but full of verve! He drew with the sideof his pencil and would just swing it in there, so that when you rubbed itslightly with an eraser, you could correct any drawing that needed it, orjust finish the drawing.

    At some point, I got appendicitis. I was still living at home inBrooklyn, and got these terrible stomach pains, so the next day theytook out my appendix. I didnt do any more work for Binder after that.I was ready to join the Army, because if I didnt enlist, Id have beendrafted. We were kind-of recruited at Pratt, so I decided to join theArmy and not work for those few months between recovering from myoperation and going into the service. I had a perfectly good recovery,dated a lot, and had fun with my friends, before I had to serve mycountry. I graduated from Pratt in May 1941, and went into the servicein August of 1942, so I couldnt have been at Binders for more than ayear. I also worked with the Fawcett studio in New York, but not forlong.

    I remember a lot of people from my Binder days. Jimmy Potter wasthere, and he left to become a pilot in the Army Air Corps, where hetrained others to become fighter pilots. He wrote to us while we wereworking at Binders and said, Im very anxious to go overseas, if thesekids dont kill me before I get my chance. And sure enough, someonefroze while at the controls, and they crashed, killing both men. Jimmywas a happy-go-lucky type; a big smile on his face... nothing fazed him.Jimmy Potter was at Binders when I started, and he died while I wasstill working there, so you can see he wasnt in the service long. Hisdeath was a big dose of reality to all of us.

    JA: I can understand that. What do you remember about JohnSpranger?

    DOWD: He was a very quiet guy. I believe he tightened up Clemslayouts and drew the main and secondary figures. He drew with acontrolled line; it wasnt emotional at all, but was well done and clean,and lent itself to drawing Captain Midnight or whatever. He drewwith a mechanical pencil. Spranger was German, and his pencil line wasGermanic. He was a solid draftsman. I probably inked some of his work.I didnt ink secondary figures. I drew pretty girls and heroic men, but Ialso inked main figures, so I must have inked some of his work. I alsofinished some of Clems layouts.

    Another fellow who worked there was Andr LeBlanc. He drewwonderful villains and secondary characters. He was from Haiti and wasa very cocky, self confident guy. I know he had a very long art career.

    JA: Tell me about Ray Harford.

    DOWD: Of the four of us from Pratt, Ray was the quietest. He smokeda pipe, and looked very English, Id say. He came from a nice, refinedfamily. We were so friendly that we visited each others homes, and gotto know each others parents. Ray, Bob, Ken, and I would visit quiteoftenwe were all very close friends. Among the four of us, Ken and Iwere the closest, of course. Ken was so much like the people I grew upwith, but different enough to be interesting. In fact, my wife and I werejust over at Ken and Kayes house a couple of weeks ago. We all wish welived closer. If we did, Ken and I could play golf together, instead of himstill playing basketball. Hes too old for that! [mutual laughter]

    Ray married Edith while we were at Pratt. After the war, he moved toRochester, New York, and drew newspaper illustrations for variousdepartment stores. He had a very nice career there. He must have donewell, because he belonged to the Oak Hills Country Club, which has avery famous golf course. Im sorry we didnt keep in closer touch in hislater years. Edith died first, and Ray remarried. Wed exchangeChristmas cards, but that was about it. You know, its hard to see peopleas often as you want when were living in Connecticut and hes inRochester. I was busy with four children and being a freelance illus-trator, and he had a family and career, too.

    Have you talked to Bob Boyajian?

    JA: Yes, I have. He, like you, was a little surprised that someonewould want to interview him. But he was very gracious and helpfulto me.

    DOWD: He would be. Now, Bob got a job in Akron, Ohio, right afterthe war. You have to realize that after all of us got out of the service, wecouldnt wait to get our lives started again. Bob got a job with theFirestone company. Ray got the job I mentioned earlier, though I dontremember the name of the place he worked at. I think each of them didthat, thinking theyd stay for a short time, and get some experience.Well, Bob stayed until he retired, when he moved to Vermont. And Raystayed in Rochester until he died.

    Another Name From The PastJA:What do you remember about Al Duca?

    DOWD: Al had a peculiar sense of humor. He was funny, and he camefrom Boston, so he had a slight Boston accent. Hed say something, andif you didnt react immediately, hed say, Do you get the humor in it?Well, of course we get the humor in it, Duca. What do you think wedid...crawl out from under a rock? Thats how we teased him. He wasvery friendly and amusing. But I lost touch with him when I got appen-dicitis. The last time I heard about Al was from Bob Boyajian. And Rayhad been very ill the last couple of years of his life, so I was unable totalk to him. You know, these things happen when you get older.

    Obviously Ken and I were the closest of any of us, partly because hemarried my sister, whom Im very close to. Ken and I think of each

    Shopping AroundDid we run this photo of the Binder shop before? No mattereither way, weconsider ourselves damn lucky to have it (courtesy of Vic)! Clockwise fromtop left, where studio head Jack Binder stands puffing on his pipe are: KenBaldSam Brooks (in back, top right)Vic Dowd (with suspenders)Ray

    Harford (also with pipe)and Bob Boyajian, whose interview follows this one.Wish we had more shots like this!

    24 Vic Dowd Relates The Typical Cartoonists Story

  • ob Boyajian may be an unfamiliar nameto most of A/Es readers, but dontblame Bob for that! He only worked for

    Jack Binders shop, which supplied several comicbook companies (including Fawcett) with art andstories, for a little over half a year in 1941. Thenhe was sent to work directly for Fawcett, where,again, he worked only for half a year. The policiesof both places didnt allow artists to sign theirwork, and if not for a combination of the recordsJack Binder kept and the memories of those whoknew him, Bob might have totally faded into comicbook obscurity. But you know uswere not aboutto let that kind of thing happen if we can help it! Sonow Bob tells his story for the first time. Hey, hiscomic book career might have been short and sweet,but its worth remembering, both for its own sakeand for the light it sheds on other events and person-alities. Jim.

    APOLOGIA from the Editor of Alter Ego:Somehow, in the 11th hour, as this interview wasbeing prepared for publication, I discovered that, insome manner, photocopies of several pieces of BobBoyajians later, non-comics art had been mis-filed,and they could not be located in time for inclusionwith this interview. Since Bob had been unable tosend any comic art that was specifically his, weveinstead illustrated this section with related work. Weoffered him the option of our postponing publicationof his interview till a later date, when those photo-copies have been found or replacedbut, because of his friendship forKen Bald and Vic Dowd, he preferred that it still be included in thisissue, so weve done the best we can. I want to take this space toapologize personally to Bob for the mis-filingand assure both himand A/Es readers that, as soon as the missing work is available, wellrun a special section spotlighting it!Roy.]

    Pratt Institute Was Where I Met Ken Bald, Vic Dowd,And Ray Harford

    JIM AMASH: Lets start off with my basic opening questions, whichare: where and when were you born? And tell me about your time atPratt Institute.

    BOB BOYAJIAN: I was born in New York City, January 17, 1922.Pratt Institute was where I met Ken Bald, Vic Dowd, and Ray Harford.We were classmates, studying illustration. We were allowed to leaveschool before Commencement, but we did graduate. Jack Binder, who

    had a shop out inEnglewood, New Jersey,and was an artist himself,was an agent who gotwork from various comicbook publishers. A lot ofus went straight fromschool to Binders shop.

    Kurt Schaffenberger was with us at Prattand, unlike me, he stayed in comics. Bill Ward was a year ahead of us atPratt and was the one who told us about Jack Binder. I believe westarted at Binders in May of 1941.

    The war was coming and we all knew wed be in the service beforelong, so working for Binder sounded like a pretty good idea. Jobs werehard to find then, because employers were afraid to hire men who mightbe drafted at any time. So this was a chance to earn some money, and Ithink we were all single then. I lived with my folks in New York Cityand made the commute opposite from most of the commuters in themorning. I think that was true of the others, too.

    JA: Did Binder do the actual hiring?

    BOYAJIAN: Yes. And it was all piecework. We werent paid salaries.We got paid by how much work we did. We worked upstairs in his barn,and there was as many as 18 to 20 of us there.

    When I started there, I was doing everything that came my way. Itwas an assembly-line process. Someone, usually Jacks brother Otto,started by writing a script. Then someone laid out the pages, and

    B

    Comics Werent My MainGoal In Life

    Nevertheless, Artist BOB BOYAJIAN Talks To Us About Life At Fawcett& The Jack Binder ShopInterview Conducted & Transcribed by Jim Amash

    35

    B

    A Man For ManySeasons

    Bob Boyajian in a phototaken in 2003 by wife GailBoyajianand an ad from

    (and for) Fawcetts comics,many of which were

    produced by the Jack Bindershop for which he worked,

    and on some of whichBob worked. [Restoredart 2005 AC Comics.]

  • someone, usually Kurt Schaffenberger, lettered the pages. Then someonewould pencil in the main figures, and someone else drew thebackgrounds. Three people usually inked the pages: one would do themain characters, someone else the secondary figures, and a third inkedthe backgrounds.

    I started out at the lowest level as a background penciler. Gradually, Iworked myself up. We did a bunch of features, and I eventually had oneall to myself, which was Golden Arrow. We didnt work on CaptainMarvel at Binders, which is why Ray Harford and I eventually wentover to work in Fawcetts art department. They obviously needed help,and Jack Binder wanted to stay on Fawcetts good side, so he sent usthere. I did Captain Marvel covers.

    JA: Did you do Golden Arrow at Binders?

    BOYAJIAN: Yes, pencils and inks, but I only did a few stories. When Iwent to work directly for Fawcett, I stopped drawing the feature. Hewas a back-up feature in Whiz Comics.

    JA:What do you remember about Jack Binder?

    BOYAJIAN: He was something of a character. He had a checkeredcareer and had done some art, though I never saw any that he had done.

    He was in his late 30s and came from Chicago. Ken knew him better,because he [Ken] became the art director at the shop before he went intothe service.

    I remember that it was hot in the summer time and terribly cold inthe winter. Binder installed a couple of fans for the summer months. Inthe winter, he put in a wood stove. The first guy in was supposed to startit. We worked in our overcoats because it took until noon before theplace got warm enough to take them off.

    JA: Pete Riss was Binders art director before Ken was. What do youremember about him?

    BOYAJIAN: He was a Russian. Hed tell us Russian stories, but wasvery low-key and hardly ever raised his voice. He gave up the artdirectors job and became a regular shop worker. I dont think Pete wasthe kind of guy who enjoyed bossing people. He was quite a good comicbook artist. Kurt Schaffenberger was more outgoing.

    JA: Even though Ive interviewed Ken Bald, Id like to hear yourimpressions of him.

    BOYAJIAN: He was a terrific art director and a marvelous artist. Hes avery good friend. Hes always had a great work ethic. I remember whilehe was doing the Dr. Kildare newspaper strip, he was also working as anillustrator. And hes still working, doing television storyboards. Hes justamazing!

    JA: Did you get to know Otto Binder?

    BOYAJIAN: Not really, though hed come to the shop every once in awhile with his scripts. He worked at home.

    Bob Butts was also a classmate at Pratt. He was a hard-working, quietman. I dont think he was the type to have wanted an art directors job.He was quiet in school and on the job.

    The Fawcett GangJA: Id like to throw a few more names at you to see what youremember about these people, starting with Vince Costello.

    BOYAJIAN: He was a classmate, too. We all wanted to be illustratorsand doing comic books was pretty close, so we were willing to do ittemporarily.

    JA: Ray Harford.

    BOYAJIAN: He was a close friend of mine. I was the best man at hiswedding. We both served in the same outfit in the war, as did Vic Dowd.We were in the camouflage outfit. Ray was born in 1920, and was justshort of turning 80, when he died in 1990.

    I actually heard about the birth of his son before he did. I got a V-mail from my mother, who saw his mother, and got the news. My V-mailgot to me before Rays got to him.

    There was a fellow who wrote scripts. His name was WendellCrowley, and he was a very tall guy. I think he only had one good eye.He was at Binders, but later went to Fawcett and eventually became theCaptain Marvel editor.

    Al Duca went on to quite a different career. He wasnt in comics toolong. He invented a kind of acrylic paint and had an association withMIT, developing methods of casting sculpture. He had a nice career as apainter, too. He was from Boston, and I think he went back there afterthe war.

    Al was at Pratt with us, and he was quite a character. He did amarvelous imitation of Groucho Marx. He did not go into the service, butI dont know why. Al and I went back to our 45th reunion at Pratt, with

    A Golden Arrow For A Golden AgeBoyajian, who drew the Golden Arrow series in Whiz Comics briefly, atsome time between 1942-44, may or may not have drawn this story from

    issue #33 (Aug. 1942), featuring the archer who fought crime in an Old Westsetting. But, as it happens, Ye Editor owns a coverless copy of one of those

    giant Xmas Comics that Fawcett put out during the war years, which includesthe contents (minus covers) of entire issues of Captain Marvel, Spy Smasher,Bulletman, Wow Comics, and Whiz Comicsso we thought wed give it ashot. What say, Bob? Recognize this work as yours? [2005 DC Comics.]

    36 Bob Boyajin About Life At Fawcett & The Jack Binder Shop

  • [Art

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  • Introductionby Michael T. Gilberthe following John Stanley tributeappeared in the 1976 NewconConvention booklet, written by

    convention organizer Don Phelps. Were pleasedto reprint Mr. Phelps insightful article, withonly minor editing.

    John Stanleyby Don PhelpsIn 1968, Bill Spicers Graphic Story Magazine

    carried an interview with Dan Noonan in whichhe paid tribute to a fellow artist and story manwith whom he had worked at Western PublishingCompany. The colleagues name was John Stanley,and Noonan remarked that he regarded Stanley asa brilliant idea man. He also noted that Stanleyhad been responsible for the Little Lulu comicbook stories. Well, this article made me aware of the name John Stanleyfor the first time, but Little Lulu was certainly not unfamiliar to me.

    During the 50s, my reading habits, as far as comic books wereconcerned, started when I was five years old with a subscription to WaltDisneys Comics and Stories. From then on, the whole Dell menageriebecame fast and lasting childhood friends. Gradually, though, tasteschanged, and Superman and his family displaced much of the Dellcoterie but not all! Someone quite unknown to me at that time wasdoing masterful things with a character called Scrooge McDuck. But justas masterful to me were the stories contained within a seemingly innocu-ously-drawn comic book called Little Lulu.

    Published monthly, Little Lulu featured an average of four stories anissue but what stories! They were cohesive and tightly constructed,with nary a loose thread in the plot. Most importantly however, theywere unsurpassed on a purely literary level by any of the so-called kidstrips done then or now. John Stanley was, of course, the reason for thestrips success. He both wrote and drew the early Four Color issues, andhe continued to write the Little Lulu and Tubby stories right upuntil he left the books to work on other chores during the late 50s. Hisdealings with Western Publishing became so strained toward the end (thelate 60s) that he turned his back completely on comic book work, andhe is now working for a silk screening company in upstate New York.He is understandably bitter about his handling at Western (for years theLulu books have featured reprints of his stories without any credit orcompensation), the company he had toiled for for over twenty years.Because of this and the fact that he is a shy man by nature, the last everto blow his own horn, so to speak, it has been difficult for anyone infandom to contact him.

    Bob Overstreet and I visited Stanley for the first time a number ofmonths ago. He was tremendously gracious and every bit as unassumingas I found Carl Barks to be upon my first visit with him. There are manysimilarities between the two men, paramount of which is their disbeliefthat their work is being taken so seriously, or, more aptly, that theirwork is being enjoyed by such a growing number of fans. Fan mail wasnever forwarded to them, so they had no idea just to what extent, if any,their work was being appreciated. To find out so long after the factsurely was a bit overwhelming. The personal history of both Barks andStanley is still hazy, but we have garnered some facts about the elusiveMr. Stanley:

    John Stanley was born in Harlem, N.Y. onMarch 22, 1914. His high school artistry was goodenough for him to win a two-year scholarship tothe New York School of Art. He felt very uncom-fortable there, as most of his classmates were well-to-do and, being a city kid, he did not really blendin. After finishing his two years, he landed a jobwith the Max Fleischer studio, then in New York.He began as an opaquer, did some inking and in-between work. Before rising to assistant animatorstatus, John left Fleischers to work for HalHorne, who was hiring artists to work on theMickey Mouse Magazine. Besides drawingcharacters and illustrations for the magazines,Stanley also drew some covers, among which mayhave been the very first large-size Mickey MouseMagazine cover!

    Through his association with Horne, Stanleynext went to work for the Kay Kamen outfit,drawing characters for the Disney merchandiseitems including the character drawing for one ofthe Mickey Mouse watches.

    Around this time (1937-1940) Stanley attendedthe Art Students League evenings, taking up

    lithography. By his own admission, he didnt learn much about lithog-raphy, but he did meet a group of good-time guys who believed inrevelry and a whole lot of tipping the elbow it was a more personallysatisfying experience than his stint at the New York School of Art hadbeen. John freelanced for a year, selling cartoons to various magazines,before going to work for Western Publishing under editor OscarLebeck. With regards to his being given the Lulu job: Oscar handed methe assignment, but Im sure it was due to no special form of brilliancethat he thought Id lend to it. It could have been handed to DanNoonan, Kelly, or anyone else. I just happened to be available at thetime. Thus, with typical Stanley modesty, we learn about the

    Mickey Mouse Magazine #1 (June-Aug. 1935), possiblydrawn by John Stanley. [2005 Disney Productions.]

    This plaque reads 1977 Comic ArtConvention - John Stanley. For using yourexcellence of wit, skill, and spirit to give

    pleasure to those of us who love comic art.But the con took place in 1976honest!

    42 Mr. Monsters Comic Crypt

    TT

  • ntroduction: Starting two issues ago, the Comic FandomArchive is devoting several installments to a series of piecesrelated to the (more or less) three comics conventions held in

    New York City over a 6-month period between July 1966 andJanuary 1967: a mini-con sponsored by Calvin Becks Castle ofFrankenstein magazinea full-scale convention hosted by EC fanJohn Bensonand, only three weeks after the latter, a convention puton by David Kaler, who had produced the Academy Con the yearbefore. The Beck con could count perhaps as half a convention; henceour series title. It and the 2nd KalerCon will be discussed uponcompletion of the coverage of the Benson con. Parts I & II presentedan overall view of that gathering at the Park Sheraton Hotel inManhattan on July 23-24, 1966. This issue presents a key partialtranscription of a panel from that con.

    Comic book fans had been longing to expresstheir frustration with the Comics CodeAuthority, which was seen as censorshipeven ifself-imposed by the comics industry itself, inresponse to the hue and outcry about violentcomics in the early 1950s. Rarely have the fansever been able to go head-to-head with anadministrator of the CCA, or with privatecitizens (such as Dr. Fredric Wertham) whoseagitation led to its creation. The Code waswidely viewed as thinly-veiled censorship, and asthe cause of the demise of EC and other comicscompanies after it was adopted in 1954-55.

    The following, then, is a rare treat, courtesy ofaudio tapes from the convention in the possessionof John Benson. This cons initial panel was adebate between Leonard Darvin, acting admin-istrator of the Comics Code Authority, and DonThompson, Cleveland, Ohio, journalist and

    co-founder of the fanzine Comic Art, whichwas then on a hiatus which, alas, eventuallybecame permanent. Before the hour was over,Darvin had to face the organizations mostvitriolic critic: Ted White, a comics fan with aspecial fondness for the EC comics he hadbought off the stands in the 1950s, had a bone topick with the Code about the behind -the-scenesdrama that had resulted in the demise of EC.

    Actually, Leonard Darvin had looked uponcomics fans with a friendly eye when he firstlearned about comicdom in the early 60s. Atone point, in 1964, he was actively helping agroup of New York fans organize a nationalcomicon, though the plans of George Pacindaand friends fell apart in disarray. So its notsurprising that Darvin accepted the invitation

    47A Comic Fandom Archive Special Multi-Part Series...

    Leonard Darvin SpeaksAbout The Comics Code

    Part 3 of 1966: The Year Of THREE(Or Maybe 2HH) New York Comicons!Interview Edited by Bill Schelly Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    II

    And In This Corner1960s photos of the two scheduled debaters of the 66 Benson Cons first panel,

    flanking the Comics Code Authoritys seal of approval:

    (Above right:) Code administrator Leonard Darvin, flanked by two women whoworked on the Code staff, reviewing comics pages submitted by the member

    companies. An attorney by profession, Darvin had been with the Code Authoritysince its founding in the mid-1950s, as a branch of the new Comics MagazineAssociation of America; in 1967 he became its third administrator, succeeding

    Judge Charles F. Murphy and Mrs. Guy Percy Trulock (the latter had retired in late1965). Though at the time of the 1966 con he was only acting administrator,

    Darvin would soon be appointed officially to the post and would hold it for thenext decade or so. He supplied this photo in 1969 for Alter Ego [Vol. 1] #10, which

    featured a short article by him, as well as reprinting the Code itself.

    (Left:) Don and Maggie Thompson, seen on the left, chatting with Roy Thomaswhen they first met at a Chicago fan-meet held over Christmas vacation in 1964.Both Maggie and Roy were in the audience at this panel, and will be heard fromnext issue. Don passed away in 1994. This photo first appeared in Bill Schellys

    acclaimed book, The Golden Age of Comic Fandom.

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  • EDITORS NOTE: Recently, our ofttimes(and valued) contributor Will Murraycontacted Alter Ego about a three-decades-oldaudio tape that was in the possession of my

    1960s fandom colleague Richard Kyle. The tape contained a by-mailinterview, with questions sent via mail by Kyle to artist JackBinder being answered by the latter on July 29, 1973and, later inthe tape, also by his writer brother Otto. Between them, the twosiblings had drawn and written many fine stories in the 1940s andearly 50s for Fawcett, as well as for other companies; Otto wrotemany, probably most, of the classic Captain Marvel tales from 1941onward. In addition, until World War II drained away much of hiswork force, Jack also operated a comics shop/studio which suppliedartwork to various companies, as noted in previous issues of A/E.

    Our thanks to P.C. Hamerlinck for making this long-lostinterview a part of this issues FCA, even though it meant delayingfor a month or so a pair of shorter pieces originally planned for thisissue, including the second part of his talk with Michael Uslan and apiece on Fawcett artist Emilio Squeglio, whose interior-cover drawingwas still used this time around. Both those pieces will appear in thenext couple of issues. P.C. and I wish to thank both Richard Kyle andWill Murray for making available this valuable first-person additionto Golden Age history, to Brian K. Morris for transcribing theinterview from a most-unclear tape, and to both Richard and JimAmash for going over thetranscript to try tomake this printedversion as accurateas possible, sincemany words on thetape are basicallyunintelligible.Weve tried toindicate placeswhere this is thecase. A/E readerswith additionalinformation or

    speculations are invited to send them to us for a future re: section.And now, well let Richard himself tell you of his involvement in the interview, which has been edited somewhat for ease of reading.

    Roy.

    INTRODUCTION: In 1973, Jerry de Fuccio, then an associateeditor of Mad, a sometime comic book writer, and a lifelong comicsfan, was planning to write a book about early comic book artists. Hisidea was to publish re-creations by the artists of their original GoldenAge work, and to accompany the new drawings with interviews andprofiles. Paul Gustavson, Fred Guardineer, Frank Thomas, TonyDiPreta, and others contributed. Jack Binder was one of the contrib-utors, as well. I conducted his interview for Jerryby mailat a timewhen I was editing the magazine Graphic Story World. Despitemany plans, Jerrys book never came to be. This is the first publicationanywhere of this once-lost interview.Richard Kyle.

    I Will Proceed To Answer Most Of Your QuestionsJACK BINDER: This recording, made this 29th day of July 1973,especially for Richard Kyle. Richard, I was certainly glad to receive yourletter. And I was greatly impressed and particularly happy that, eventhough we have never met, you have remembered us and said that we

    had a great impact on you and gave you so much enjoyment. Ihave gone over your letters several times and I will proceed toanswer most of your questions and give you as much infor-mation as possible about the people youve made requests about.

    A Real-Life Marvel FamilyA 1973 Talk With Golden Age Artisans Jack & Otto BinderInterview Conducted by Richard Kyle Transcribed by Brian K. Morris

    A EA E

    A Man And His ArtJack Binder (on left) with fellow artist (and one-time employee) Pete Riss, circa 1950.This photo, one of a number sent by Otto Binder to Roy Thomas in 1964-65, was first

    printed in the 1997 trade paperback Alter Ego: The Best of the Legendary ComicsFanzine. On the back, Otto wrote that Riss was one of Jacks mainstays in his art shop,staying to the very end and doing inking for countless jobs. That end came in 1943,

    when the World War II draft had decimated the shops personnel.

    Although FCAs own Marc Swayze visually designed Mary Marvel for her 1942 origin,and though C.C. Beck, Kurt Schaffenberger, and others drew her in Marvel Family

    tales, its Jack Binder more than any other artist who is identified with the look of theWorlds Mightiest Girl for most of her Fawcett career. This drawing for the cover of

    Mary Marvel #5 (Sept. 1946) is reprod from the 1976 edition of Maurice Horns WorldEncyclopedia of Comics. The entry on Mary Marvel notes that, artistically, Jack

    Binder handled the strip with a verve and style rarely seen in his work. Known more forhis organizational talents rather than his artwork, Binder constantly produced clean,

    pretty, and interesting interpretations. His backgrounding and panel details struck anaesthetic balance between C.C. Becks cartoonish Captain Marvel and Mac Raboys

    illustrated Captain Marvel Jr. Yeah, thats about how wed rate it. [2005 DC Comics.]

    58

    //

  • [NOTE: At this point, Binder mentions several items hes sendingKyle, including Photostats of the original art of two Winsor McCayLittle Nemo Sunday pages (reduced to H size)a McCay editorialcartoon done for Arthur Brisbane, famous early editor for the Hearstnewspapersa stat of the original cover McCay did for a How toDraw book (for which Jack Binder had done the layouts and BobMcCay, artist son of Little Nemos creator, the inking)twoPhotostats of original work by Gill Foxa full-sized unpublishedOther Worlds illustration by JB himselfand three Sunday pagelayouts in full color, done at the [Harry A] Chesler syndicate whereI did the layouts for Little Nemo when we [Binder & Bob McCay]tried to revive it, with the latter inking. The final item being senttwo pieces of broadside advertising regarding Bob McCay and hisfather and his familyJack said was the only copy he had, so shouldbe returned; Kyle was invited to keep all the others, though alas, heno longer has them.]

    You want to know if I was influenced by movies, by films, in myapproach towards illustrating comics. My only approach was simply totell a story without taking away from the story itself, not to over-embellish with artwork, or to over-embellish into drawing a lot ofunnecessary things. In other words, I tried to get right down to thenitty-gritty of what was going on in a particular panel and to somehowgive a smooth and good continuity. We werent influenced by anythingbut our own need for doing the comics, and getting them out so that wewouldnt miss a deadline; and also by the fact that we were so excitedabout this being our own work and our own creation. Except forfollowing the general storyline or story plot as a script indicated orrequested, we were on our own onhow to best illustrate this particularpanel and the story matter in it. I feelthat todays comics, or so-calledcomics, are too close to being just pureillustration. They dont seem to havethat simple approach to getting directlyat the essenceor, as I term it, thenitty-grittyregarding what I considergood storytelling.

    The questioning in your letter aboutwhat I was influenced by in myworkyou probably realize that I had2H years at the Art Institute ofChicago, and that I studied under J.Allen St. John and his like, and alsostudied Life [Drawing] under GeorgePoole [sp?]. I studied Perspective underMiss Lacey [sp?] and Graphics underPhipps. I took Color Theory underShook [sp?], and took a specialAnatomy course with Filbrick [sp?];and of course Life Drawing and CastDrawing [i.e., drawing from plastercasts], and Painting, and so forth, tookup much of our time while I was astudent.

    And, of course, you realize that aftermy year and a half in the copper andsteel engraving business, which wentbust, as you probably know fromSterankos History [of Comics], I spentseven years away from the art field, butfound my way back into it again bystarting to do magazine illustrations forFarnsworth Wright for Weird Tales[magazine]. I illustrated a number of

    Ottos stories in that, also. And of course, when I came to New York, Istarted doing magazine illustrations for Street & Smith and for NedPines [publisher of the Standard/Thrilling pulps and later of theThrilling/Nedor comic book line]. I did a feature called If, featuringthe great people who influenced the world as scientists and so forth. Idid those for quite a number of years.

    And through all of this, with the discipline and the need for doingsaleable work, work that was acceptable to the publisher, for which hespent moneywe, of course, had to extend ourselves and do the best weknew how. In magazine illustrating, I usually read the story and chose,or picked, my own spots to illustrate. So there again, we have to usegood judgment and satisfy the editor and, in the final analysis, the readeras well. But the movies were far out of my mind in those days.

    Shop TalkYou ask about the great storytellers and shop talk about storytelling

    at Cheslers. Well, beginning with Charlie Biro: Biro was a very intense,very sincere person, and he had a secret ambition of becoming, asidefrom being an artist, a radio announcer and an actor. He took part, evenwhile he was at Cheslers, in various plays and readings, I think he didfinally wind up at one of the studios as a scene designer. [NOTE:According to Jerry Bails Whos Who in American Comic Books,from 1962-72 Biro was a graphic designs artist for NBC-TV.] I dontrecall anything about his formal education background, but I do knowthat he mentioned the fact that he had worked in the animation field. Imnot sure whether he said Disney, or whether it was one of the other

    animation studios that were inexistence at the time, but I do knowthat Charlie was an excellent animator,because I worked for, oh, about sixmonths for Charlie Biro and BobWood [at Lev Gleason Publications].[Tape pauses.]

    Gill Fox, I think, was with us, too,at the [Fleischer] studio on Broadway.I recall in particular one humorousincident. I had charge of the inkingand opaquing department, andoccasionally I helped out in thecomposing room. And I recall, partic-ularly, this film we did for thegovernment at the timeit gavepeople an idea of the farmer. Thegovernment wanted to stress thatagriculture was so very necessary andvery important in our country. Soanyway, this one scene showed afarmer in a wheat field. He had hiswheat all in bags and he was tossingthem onto a truck. Well, theressomeone who hadnt gotten to thebackground man, so that truck [drawnthere] was completely out of scale.And here was this farmer pitchingsacks a mile a minute, and when wehad put it into the composing section,there was a truck about the size of atoy truck standing beneath this greatbig pile of sacks of wheat hanging inmid-air. And this was about 12oclock, because they had a deadline tomeet. I think it was the next day thatthat film was to be completed and

    Have Boomerang, Will Travel!One of the key art jobs of Jack Binders early comics career was thevery first story of The Daredevil, in Silver Streak Comics #6 (Sept.

    1940), from Your Guide Publications. This splash page with his bylinehas been reprod from Alan Lights 1970s black-&-white reprint.

    [2005 the respective copyright holders.]

    A Real-Life Marvel Family 59

  • [This article represents the first in a series of Fawcett Christmas storyreviews. These articles will appear in every December issue of FCA.

    PCH.]

    t is good to be children sometimes,And never better than at Christmas,When its mighty Founder was a child himself.

    Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

    When Charles Dickens penned his classic short novel (or long shortstory) A Christmas Carol in 1843, he could scarcely have imagined thestatus it would achieve. Certainly, he could not have imagined that itstheme (and even its very plot) would be utilized by other writers, innumerous homages and outright imitations. And it would have beenimpossible for him to foresee the rise, many years hence, of a new typeof literature called the comic book, whose writers would also dip intothe Dickensian well time and again.

    Some of these efforts have been patently obvious, such as a 1960sTeen Titans tale in which the Titans tackled a foe named Scrounge, andin the process even realized that they were living out the Dickens novel!But a much earlierand much less overteffort appeared in CaptainMarvel Adventures #42 (Jan. 1945) in a story called Captain Marveland the Plot against Christmas.

    As this story opens, boy newscaster Billy Batson isseated at his desk, rejoicing over the many Christmascards he and Captain Marvel have received, butlamenting that he is an orphan, and wishing he couldshare the holiday with more than just friends. (Ofcourse, it seems Billy is forgetting his twin sister MaryBatson Bromfield, a.k.a. Mary Marvel, but thats okay.Although Fawcett editors and writers used a fair amountof continuity uncommon for the day in their stories,they were not hamstrung by it; quite a contrast totodays stories, which are heavily continuity-driven, andwhich virtually require a reader not only to have readmany previous issues of the magazine, but all the rest ofthe lines output, as well.)

    Billys thoughts about how other orphans might feelare interrupted by his boss, Sterling Morris, who sendsBilly on an assignment. It seems that toy-makingbrothers, Happy and Jolly Smith, are planning to giveaway toys to the orphans at Creedmore Orphanage.

    At the Smith Toy Company, Billy interviews the twobrothers, who have a motor-driven sleigh ready to taketoys to the orphanage on Christmas Day. They dontwant their older brother, Gouge, to become aware oftheir plan, but somehow he finds out. (The Smithbrothers, of course, in Captain Marvel tradition, havenames befitting their personalities and/or roles in thestory. If this seems unrealistic, remember that the sameis true in the Bible, as well as in the works of J.R.R.Tolkien hardly bad company to be in!)

    Gouge Smith is furious, so he hurries over to the

    companys loading dock, and in his anger pushes his brother Happytoward the sleigh. Happy is about to fall into the whirling propellerblades, when Billy says Shazam! and Captain Marvel prevents disaster.You almost killed your own brother, Gouge! Cap remonstrates, butGouge seems unconcerned, and issues orders for the toys to be returnedto the warehouse.

    Captain Marvel, undeterred, tells the remaining brothers to go onhome and celebrate Christmas Eve as they were planning to. He has aplan. A little later, Billy announces over the radio about a plot againstChristmas, but assures listeners that Captain Marvel intends to iron outthe problems with Gouge Smith. Gouge, listening to the broadcast,thinks Billy must be out of his mind!

    Then, however, Captain Marvel shows up at Gouges door. His ownand Gouges visible breath shows him that Your house is almost as coldas your heart, Gouge.

    I like it that way, responds Gouge. Will you get outor will Ihave to have you thrown out! (One has to wonder just how Gougewould accomplish that.)

    Cap, however, replies, Ill go, but youre coming with me. Here, putthis coat on.

    So, Captain Marvel, ignoring Gouges protestations, flies him to thehome of brother Jolly, who welcomes them both. The children are

    Ill Deck Your Halls!Splash page to Captain Marvel and the Plot against Christmas (Captain Marvel Adventures

    #42, Jan. 1945). Art by C.C. Beck & Pete Costanza. [ 2005 DC Comics.]

    The Plot Against ChristmasBy John G. PierceEdited by P.C. Hamerlinck

    68

    II

  • oanna Pang once solved problems with a high school teacher(who also happened to be a powerful, white-skirted super-hero),but throughout her career the actress/dancer has accomplished

    her own fair share of amazing feats.

    Raised in the California bay area, life as a performer began very earlyfor Pang. She literally grew up at the San Francisco Ballet School, whereher mother taught for many years. By the time she was five years old,Pang had landed her first professional dancing job. At 12, she acted inher first movie (an Ann Margaret film, Once a Thief). She soon pursuedmusical theatre with her brother Joey. With dancing in their blood, thetwo talented siblings became regulars as a ballroom dance team on adaily San Francisco TV program, The Ted Randal Show (laterbecoming Dick Stewarts Dance Party). It was similar to AmericanBandstand, Pang said. One time we won a dance contest that theshow held, and our prize was a TV set, which was really a big deal!

    As a result of their contest victory, The Lawrence Welk Showcontacted the Pang kids and invited them to perform live during one ofWelks Bay area concerts. What Welk hadnt realized was that Pang andher brother were on TV every single day in the Bay area, causing atremendous reaction from the hometown crowd during theirperformance at the concert. Welk was so impressed by the Pangs that heflew them down to Los Angeles to appear twice on his television show...until Welk deemed the duo too young to be regulars on the show.Our family was excited when we appeared on Welks show, Pang said,especially since it was my grandmothers favoriteTV program.

    Relocating to New York City and aspiring tobreak into theatre, Pangs path instead led to moreTV gigs, including dozens of commercials. Shebecame a regular on the CBS childrens program ThePatchwork Family, and appeared in and narrated achildrens Chinese opera for CBS Festival of theLively Arts. Her work for CBS caught the attentionof an executive in charge of the networks childrensprogramming. He told me there was a new Saturdaymorning series starting out in Los Angeles, Pangsaid, and asked if Id be interested in flying outthere for an audition. Since Id already done a lot ofchildrens television, I jumped at the opportunity.Two days later I was on a plane to L.A.

    On the very same day of her audition for Isis atFilmation Studios, Joanna Pang landed the part ofCindy Lee. Joanna Cameron (Isis/Andrea Thomas)and Brian Cutler (Rick Mason) had already been castfor their parts and werent present during Pangsaudition; the show was already in pre-production.Once I was cast, we started shooting a few weekslater, Pang said. In the interim I flew back to NewYork, packed up my things, and headed back toCalifornia for Isis. It all happened pretty fast.

    A spin-off from the successful Shazam! live-action series, the original concept for Isis involveddetective-based storylines and a youth crime-solving

    group, but was soon changed to a high school setting with problematicstudents and situations providing the shows lesson-oriented, plot-drivendrama. They never really defined my character, Pang said of the CindyLee role. I wasnt sure whether I was supposed to be just a student, or ateachers aide, or, most likely, just one of those overly-enthusiasticstudents who gets involved in everything and always wants to help theteacher. It was never clear because some episodes I called the teacherAndrea Thomas by her first name, then other episodes Id call her MissThomas. But, with Saturday morning TV shows, you shoot very fastand dont have a lot of discussion about the characters ... so you sort-ofmake up your characters own background and history.

    Isis simple, formulaic scripts didnt bother Pang. At the time I wasdoing Isis, I was thrilled to be doing a national TV show, she said. Ienjoyed working on Isis, loved my part, and didnt really delve into thewriting of the scripts, nor did I want to try to change things. I thinkevery actor who does a TV series thinks that it can always be better, butI just tried to do the best job I could with the script.

    The part of Cindy Lee wasnt much of a stretch for Pang. I think thecharacter was very much like me, she said. Cindy was positive, upbeat... she always wanted to help. Sometimes she would do something withgood intentions but it would somehow end up causing some kind oftrouble, and then Isis would have to fly in and rescue her or her friends.But, basically, I am pretty much like that person, so it was easy for me toplay the part.

    Super-Hero SidekickJoanna Pang of ISISby P.C. Hamerlinck

    70

    JJ

    CBS-TVs Isis cast: Joanna Cameron, Joanna Pang, and Brian Cutler.[Photo 2005 the respective copyright holders.]

  • Even though many of herscenes on Isis were with JoannaCameron, Pang didnt really getto know the actress whoportrayed the leading role. A lotof us didnt get to know Joannathat well, Pang said. She didnthave a lot of free time on the setbecause either she was portrayingAndrea or she was in makeup andwardrobe getting ready to changeand become Isis. However, I didbecome friends with a girl namedJill who was the stand-in for Isis.My best friend from the serieswas Brian Cutler, who was like abig brother to me. Brian and hiswife were just great, and I lovedspending time with them andtheir two children. The entirecrew was good to work with,particularly two of our directors:Arthur Nadel and HollingsworthMorse, a tall, wise old white-haired man who always wore acowboy hat. Both men alsodirected several later episodes ofShazam!

    It was common for the Isiscrew to frequently run into theShazam! crew. We had a coupleof shows that crossed-over withShazam! Pang remembered,and both shows were alwaysworking in the studio at the sametime, so we got to know thepeople from Shazam! quite well.

    Pang made occasional personalappearances during the height ofIsis popularity. One event inparticular was the CherryBlossom Festival held in Medford,Oregon, which she still fondlyremembers: The people in Medford had called CBS and asked if I couldcome up and be the grand marshal of their festivals parade. It soundedlike a lot of fun, so I told them I would be there. My mother accom-panied me when I flew up there. As we landed I was looking out thewindow and I turned to my mother and said, Look at all that... theres ared carpet, theres a band, theres hundreds of people out there ... Iwonder whos on our plane? And my mother said, I think thats forYOU! I just hadnt put it all together, but it was indeed all for me!Besides my being the grand marshal at the parade, they took me over toa fair where many people had come to see me and we conducted anhour-long Q & A session. That was a lot of fun. They also took me overto a nursing home where the people always watched the show. I walkedaround, shook hands, and talked to the elderly people who lived there.We had a wonderful time.

    After the first season of Isis, Pangs character was abruptly writtenout of the series. Why? Filmation may have opted to revive and merge inthe shows original youth crime-solving group concept with newactors, which became apparent in episodes from the shows secondseason ... or perhaps it was simply Filmations habit of replacing estab-lished cast members on proven hit shows, with the belief that childrenwouldnt know the difference or even care (as in the case of JacksonBostwick being replaced as Captain Marvel by John Davey shortly into

    the second season of Shazam!).To this day, Pang herself stilldoesnt know the reasons whyshe wasnt asked to return forIsis second season.

    Shortly after filming the firstseason, I flew back to NewYork, she said. When timecame around to get ready to dothe second season, I hadnt heardfrom anybody so I called myagent, who also didnt knowwhat was going on, but said hewould look into it. It took himseveral days to get any answers,but when he finally called backhe said that they werent going touse me for the second season andthat no one really gave him anyreasons why. Maybe he got thestandard going in a differentdirection answer. I had beenvery happy on Isis and the showhad gotten very good ratings. Idont really know whathappened.

    Pang returned to television

    Isis In A CrisisJoanna Pangs character Cindy Lee

    receives help from Captain Marvel andIsis, on this page from Shazam! #25

    Super-hero Sidekick 71

    ALTER EGO #55JACK and OTTO BINDER, KEN BALD, VIC DOWD, and BOBBOYAJIAN interviewed, FCA with SWAYZE and EMILIOSQUEGLIO, rare art by BECK, WARD, & SCHAFFENBERGER,Christmas Cards from CRANDALL, SINNOTT, HEATH,MOONEY, and CARDY, 1943 Pin-Up Calendar (with 40s moviestars as superheroines), ALEX TOTH, more! ALEX ROSS andALEX WRIGHT covers!

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