Here’s a recreation/reinterpretation of the cover of Wow Comics #12, featuring Mary Marvel. You can compare it with the original here.
Mary debuted in Captain Marvel Adventures #18, where Billy Batson discovered to his surprise that he had a twin sister, from whom he’d been separated at birth. It turned out that the magic word that turned Billy into Captain Marvel also worked to turn Mary Batson/Bromfield into the superpowered Mary Marvel.
Mary’s “visual father” was artist Marc Swayze. I was honored to be asked to do an FCA cover featuring Mary, as a tribute to Marc Swayze for what would’ve been his 100th birthday. It was posted here a while back.
Regular visitors to this site have heard me say before that when doing these recreations, I like to have some kind of fresh take or approach, so that I’m not just repeating exactly what was done before. So imagine this, if you can: some alternate world, where Fawcett didn’t cease publishing comics. Instead, they kept on producing new four-color adventures for Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. Maybe at some point in the late ’50s or early ’60s, Fawcett licensed Mary to an animation studio for a series, and Wow Comics was relaunched in support. It was kind of what was playing in the back of my mind when I did this, at any rate.
I can almost hear the announcer’s voice: “Boys and Girls! It’s time now for the adventures of Mary Marvel! The Shazam girl!”
Now that it’s a new month, I’ve got clearance to reveal the last two of those images I teased you with previously. These will both be appearing in the FCA portion of the upcoming August cover-dated issue of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego (available starting in July, so you don’t have to wait all that long!).
First up is my FCA cover, done as a tribute to Golden Age artist Marc Swayze. While the original order to give Billy Batson/Captain Marvel a sister may have come down from the Fawcett front office, the job fell to Mr. Swayze to bring her to life. He designed Mary and drew at least her first couple of appearances, before being moved on to other jobs. So I think it could be argued that Marc Swayze deserves the title of Mary Marvel’s honorary father.
This FCA issue is appearing in the month which would’ve been Mr. Swayze’s 100th birthday. Though he didn’t quite make that milestone, it’s still a worthwhile moment to pause and give tribute. FCA readers know Mr. Swayze had a long-running column there, entitled “We Didn’t Know…It Was the Golden Age!” Written in a very appealingly gracious and humble style, the reader got the privilege of looking in on snapshots of reminiscence taken at different moments in Mr. Swayze’s life. It wasn’t all about the comics; this man lived a very full and rich life. Hence my inscription. He and his contributions to FCA will be missed.
I was hugely honored to be asked to do this tribute cover, and wanted to be sure to do right by Mr. Swayze. FCA Editor P.C. Hamerlinck and I batted a number of ideas back and forth before we settled on a concept we both liked and felt was fitting. My first inclination of course was to try to just flat-out mimic Mr. Swayze’s style, make it look like maybe he drew it himself. But P.C. made it clear that wasn’t what he wanted. He was after my version of Mr. Swayze’s Mary. I hope I’ve done them both justice.
The second image (at left) is a header for a new regular column debuting in FCA the same month. You can see the title there in the art. This column will feature the writing and reminiscences of writer Otto Binder, a creative dynamo who had an enormous hand in shaping not only Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family for Fawcett, but he later made huge contributions to Superman’s mythology as well! And that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. I’m looking forward to reading these columns and finding out what he has to say.
Due to “busy-ness” here lately (a good thing), I’m falling back on the ol’ reliable tease once again.
The images you’re seeing here are details from a few illustrations that have crossed my desk this month which I had a hand in generating, in one capacity or another. These were all done for the FCA section of Roy Thomas’ Alter Ego magazine, published by Twomorrows. Full images will appear on my site eventually, once I’ve been given the “all clear” to do so. Meantime, hopefully there’s enough here to whet your appetite to see more at a later date.
I hope the New Year is being good to you all thus far.