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Margie Comics #35-49 (Dec. 1946 - Dec. 1949, continued from Comedy Comics V1).

Margie 37Margie Comics was virtually a microcosm of Timely/Marvel's hit-and-miss approach to the field in the 1940s. When that girl-teen comic debuted with #35 in 1946, it picked up the numbering of Comedy Comics (with its funny animals—and, before that, funny humans)—which in turn had taken over the reins from Daring Mystery Comics' super-heroes in the first eight issues in 1940-41.

Morris Weiss created Margie and Ruffy Ropes -a Joe Palooka knock-off-, Morris writes that his wife Blanche, seen here with him in the late 1940s, was his model for Margie. The pair had been married during his furlough from the Army in '44.

Margie definitely looks like his wife.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mac Raboy's two very brief stints in Timely.

Mac Raboy only drew two stories for Timely. The first one in Captain America Comics #3, May 1941, starring by Tuk, Caveboy, an adventure strip set in a prehistoric era when cavemen fought for supremacy over the wild animals.

Tuk debuted in Captain America #1, beautifully penciled, lettered and inked by Jack Kirby. At this period, as a rule, Jack did not have time to do his own inking and Howard Ferguson was doing all the lettering, which may be a sign that this was an earlier story taken from inventory- perhaps meant for Red Raven #2, or Daring Mystery Comics.

The story is not signed by Raboy, but the similarity of line with other of his drawings almost expresses no doubt about his authorship.

Margie 37Raboy didn’t draw for Timely again until 1948. "The Man Hater" 7pg, was published in Margie Comics # 41, June 1948. In this case the story is signed by the author. Shortly after Raboy would be hired to do the Sunday page of Flash Gordon’s syndicated newspaper strip - his first Flash Gordon dates from August 1, 1948 - which prevented perhaps, a long stint at Marvel.

It was surprising that Raboy, who worked almost exclusively for Fawcett at that time, was requested to draw Captain America # 3. The other artists are Timely's Bullpen staff, as well as in the rest of Tuk stories (captain America #1 to 5): Reed Crandall, Al Avison, Al Gabriele, etc. Perhaps, in view of the nearing deadline, Simon and Kirby forced Fawcett to return the enormous favour done only a few months earlier:

Soon after Simon and Kirby begat Captain America, Ed Herron - editor in Fawcett- called on them again. It seems that Fawcett’s Captain Marvel had gone ballistic; the sales demanded that he get his own title. A one-shot titled Special Edition had been rushed out and sold well. Bill Finger and C.C. Beck didn’t have time to do another title, so Ed Herron was tasked with assembling the new book. On Ed’s recommendation, Al Allard, Fawcett’s art director met with Joe and Jack and asked if they could do the artwork. This was an impossible job, consisting of 62 pages of art on a character they weren’t familiar with, in a cartoony style that was opposite their norm, and a two week deadline. Not wanting to embarrass their friend Ed, and after the promise of a bonus, they agreed–just another day in the park.

With Simon and Kirby’s new contracts at Timely, it was important to keep this job hidden, Joe once again rented a hotel room, and after the long hours at Timely’s studio, a small group would gather and work all night producing the stories. Ed Herron would work out the stories with Jack and Joe as they laid them out directly on the boards, and then Jack would pencil the pages, and pass them off to Dick Briefer, among others, to ink. The lettering was done by an unknown hand, perhaps a Fawcett regular. Jack almost got caught drawing a Captain Marvel page while supposedly working on a Captain America page at the Timely office.

The demand was incredible. When asked about this time frame, Jack’s first response was always the same, “The pressure was tremendous. I was penciling at a breakneck speed, as many as nine pages a day. I guess that was the reason my figure work began to take on a distorted look; my instincts told me that a figure had to be extreme to have power.” Jack was seeing Captains in his nightmares, when he had time to get a few hours of sleep. The stress was beginning to take its toll. The daytime hours at Timely, and the all-nighters working on Captain Marvel, were agonizing. They were eating on the run and if possible, catching a few hours sleep on a littered bed in the smoky, seedy hotel. After little more than a week of unending toil, the boys finished. The job was rushed, and the finished sheen wasn’t up to their usual standards, but it was certainly an acceptable aping of Beck’s disarmingly simple style. Given the choice between signing the work or not, they demurred. The first issue of Captain Marvel’s Adventures hit the stands on Jan. 16, 1941. The series would soon rival Superman as the top selling comic character. As an aside; DC Comics would sue Fawcett Publications over copyright infringement in 1941. When Simon and Kirby started working for DC, they were questioned by famed attorney Louis Nizer about their role in the early creation of Captain Marvel. There wasn’t much they could say since they hadn’t been involved with the creation of the character, but none the less, Joe Simon was called as a witness when the case finally went to trial in 1948.

After the production of Captain Marvel, all freelancing would cease. The Blue Bolt serial storyline was quickly wrapped up in issue #10, with the Green Goddess meeting up with the surface people. Kirby’s Lightnin’ and the Lone Rider ended mid story with another artist finishing the tale. Coincidently, a small movie studio Producers Releasing Corp. released the first of 17 movies starring George Huston as the Lone Rider in early 1941. This Lone Rider and his horse Lightning appeared for three years on the big screen.

Mac RaboyEmmanuel "Mac" Raboy (April 17, 1914 – December 12, 1967) was an American comics artist best known for his comic-book work on Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel Jr. and as the Sunday comic-strip artist of Flash Gordon for more than 20 years.

Drew Friedman has stated, "Raboy was an expert technician with pen and brush, and his lush covers are some of the most unusually beautiful ever to grace comic books".

When readers imagine the art style of Fawcett Comics’ hugely successful line of Marvel Family titles — Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and so on — there is a good chance the image in their head is rendered by the line’s flagship artist, CC Beck, whose friendly, clean-line style defines the look of the Marvels even today. But when Fawcett launched their first spin-off feature to Captain Marvel, the appropriately named Captain Marvel Jr in the pages of Master Comics, the company went with an artist with an almost diametrically opposite — but equally virtuosic — style: Mac Raboy.

Emmanuel “Mac” Raboy was born in New York City. He got his start as a professional artist during the Great Depression, working for the Works Progress Administration and Federal Arts Project. He had attended art classes as a young man where he learned such skills including wood engraving, which he would use to depict American life in the 1930s in a series of engravings for the WPA that were so popular, many of them were displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair.

Raboy would then work briefly at Disney before finding himself working for Harry “A” Chesler, an art studio that created pre-produced comics that they then sold to publishers. While at Chesler, Raboy worked on such features as the Green Lama (which ran in Prize Comics), Ibis the Invincible, and Dr Voodoo (which ran in Fawcett’s Whiz Comics).

As Raboy worked on Dr. Voodoo, his trademark style would begin to emerge, and would be refined as he became first the cover artist for Fawcett’s Master Comics and then the regular artist on that book’s Bulletman feature. When writer Ed Herron suggested to Fawcett that in order to cash in on the then-timely craze for kid sidekicks they should launch a young version of Captain Marvel who was not a sidekick, but rather a hero in his own right, he proposed the book should be drawn by Mac Raboy, who he felt could give the feature a more illustrative look.Raboy's Flash Gordon

While the Captain Marvel feature in Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures was renowned for the clean, simplified style of CC Beck, Raboy’s style was greatly influenced by artist Alex Raymond, the creator of Flash Gordon, which showed in Raboy’s use of photorealism, feathered inks, and carefully spotted blacks. Raboy’s work on Captain Marvel Jr manages to strike a perfect balance between the drama and dynamism necessary for the superhero genre and a realistic looking, though idealized, vision of a teenage boy who punches Nazis all the time (whose overall look and design famously inspired the caped jumpsuits worn by latter era Elvis Presley).

Following Captain Marvel Jr’s opening three-part story arc, which featured an unprecedented crossover between Master Comics and Whiz Comics and told the story of young Freddy Freeman being attacked by the evil Captain Nazi and subsequently saved by Captain Marvel and the wizard Shazam, Cap Jr became the lead feature of Master Comics, featuring Raboy’s anatomically perfect humans in dynamic action poses on top of lovingly rendered landscape backgrounds. The book’s sale numbers soared, and before long, Junior received his own star turn in a title of his own.

As sales on Master and Captain Marvel Jr increased, so did the demand for Raboy’s work. Raboy found himself drawing not only Captain Marvel Jr stories, but also covers for Master Comics, America’s Greatest Comics, Bulletman, Captain Midnight, Spy Smasher, and Xmas Comics. As a result of this increased workload, Fawcett assigned Raboy an assistant in the form of Rubin Zubofsky, later known as Bob Rogers, who would draw backgrounds for Raboy. Despite this extra pair of hands, deadlines still ran tight, and so Raboy ended up pioneering the process of using photostat technology to reuse previously drawn artwork, a process still commonly used today.

Raboy would leave Fawcett in 1944 and moved to Spark Publications, where he would return to the character of the Green Lama, covers and stories which feature some of his finest illustration work. In 1948, however, Raboy moved up to what was at the time considered the big leagues for comics artists: a syndicated newspaper strip. And what’s more, he did so on the most famous title created by his idol Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon. Raboy would draw the Sunday page for the Flash Gordon strip for almost twenty years, until his death in 1967.

While Raboy was known as a perfectionist who bore great distaste for his own work and only saw his work in the medium of comics as a means to an end, nevertheless this consummate craftsman created some of the finest looking pages and covers of the Golden Age of comics.

From Wikipedia, Alter Ego Magazine #43 and http://comicsalliance.com/ and others.

Morris & Blanche Weiss