The Captain and the King

If you’ve vis­it­ed my site before, you might know that awhile back I was dubbed the de fac­to “cov­er edi­tor” for FCA (the Faw­cett Col­lec­tors of Amer­i­ca), a “mag­a­zine with­in a mag­a­zine,” appear­ing in Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego (pub­lished by TwoM­or­rows). Occa­sion­al­ly, I actu­al­ly do a cov­er myself (like the one you see here). This time, I not only did the cov­er for this upcom­ing issue, I also wrote the article!

The issue of Alter Ego in ques­tion is focused on comics creator/writer/artist Jack Kir­by. Most of you know that he did work for Mar­vel and DC, and maybe you’re even aware that he did a hand­ful of work for oth­er pub­lish­ers too. But per­haps you don’t know that he also did work for Faw­cett, and fair­ly ear­ly on! That’s what my arti­cle is about. FCA Edi­tor P.C. Hamer­linck knows I’m a big Kir­by fan, so he reached out and asked me if I’d like to write this.

When most peo­ple think of the orig­i­nal Cap­tain Mar­vel, they prob­a­bly recall the work of C.C. Beck (whom I am also a big fan of). But many don’t know that Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by also worked on Cap­tain Mar­vel, and very ear­ly on in his existence.

I go into more detail in the arti­cle, but the short ver­sion is that Faw­cett could see they had some­thing big going on with Cap­tain Mar­vel in Whiz Comics (a title he shared with oth­er char­ac­ters), and they real­ized it would be a real­ly good idea to also have a reg­u­lar ongo­ing solo title fea­tur­ing Cap­tain Mar­vel. Faw­cett’s first stab at this appears to be a book called Spe­cial Edi­tion Comics. They did­n’t do anoth­er one of those, and my guess is that Beck told them he could­n’t do both that and Whiz Comics by him­self sus­tain­ably over the long haul, so they regrouped.

Deter­mined to find a way to make this hap­pen, their next attempt was Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures, and for the first issue, they reached out to the star comics team of Joe Simon and Jack Kir­by. Simon and Kir­by were already work­ing full time for anoth­er pub­lish­er, but they took on this chal­lenge (work­ing after hours) with­out let­ting any­one know about it back on the day job.

The result is some­thing I deal with in the arti­cle, but when it came time for a cov­er for this issue of FCA, I had some thoughts. The real cov­er to Cap­tain Mar­vel Adven­tures #1 strikes me as look­ing odd­ly like an after­thought, as if the edi­tors went, “Whoops! This needs to go to press now, and we for­got to have any­one do a cov­er!” I thought at first that it might be just a pho­to­stat of an exist­ing Cap­tain Mar­vel run­ning fig­ure, but P.C. Hamer­linck was told by Beck him­self that some­one came to him one day in the office, said they need­ed this draw­ing “right now,” and he just did it. The cov­er does­n’t even have a prop­er logo! They just slapped some type­set­ting across the front of it.

So my thought was, “What if instead of being an appar­ent last minute after­thought, they had Kir­by do the cov­er?” One of the sto­ries in par­tic­u­lar seemed to lend itself pret­ty well to the kinds of cov­ers he was draw­ing around this time peri­od, so that’s what I went with. I’ve done draw­ings like Kir­by before (you can find some of them around here on my site). But this cov­er was a real chal­lenge, because in this com­ic, Kir­by and Simon were try­ing hard to do their ver­sion of Beck. So in effect, I had to imi­tate an artist while he was imi­tat­ing anoth­er artist! I’ve nev­er done that before. It was a bit of a brain-bender.

I hope you like the result, and if you’re inter­est­ed in read­ing the whole sto­ry, check out the article! 

4 thoughts on “The Captain and the King

    1. Mark Post author

      Thanks, John! I’m glad that you (as some­one quite knowl­edge­able your­self about Faw­cett) approve!

      Reply
      1. John G Pierce

        Iron­i­cal­ly enough, my own first expo­sure to a CM-type char­ac­ter was the Fly, from the Archie Adven­ture line in the late 50’s, as done bt none oth­er than Simon and Kir­by — though I did­n’t know that at the time, nor would their names have had any mean­ing to me, any­way, until a few years lat­er. I also remem­ber when, in an ear­ly ALTER EGO, Dr. Jer­ry Bails erro­neous­ly attrib­uted the first CM sto­ry to S and K, though he did qual­i­fy his state­ment with the word “sup­pos­ed­ly”.

        Reply
        1. Mark Post author

          Your com­ment here opens more than one can of worms, but I will try not to delve too deeply.
          The Fly actu­al­ly start­ed off as Spi­der­man (note the lack of the hyphen), a con­cept Joe Simon pitched to Har­vey Comics, but they passed on it (the sto­ry is in Simon’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy). At one point in devel­op­ing the con­cept, it mor­phed into a char­ac­ter called the Sil­ver Spi­der, and Cap­tain Mar­vel artist C.C. Beck pen­ciled a cou­ple pages of this ver­sion before they scrapped that direc­tion. After that, Simon and Kir­by turned it into the Fly, which (as you know) did make it into print. So the Fly has more than one con­nec­tion to Cap­tain Marvel!

          Reply

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