This article needs additional citations for verification . (July 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|C. C. Beck|
Early 1940s publicity photo of C.C. Beck, signed to his niece
|Born||Charles Clarence Beck|
June 8, 1910
Zumbrota, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||November 22, 1989 79) (aged|
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Charles Clarence Beck (June 8, 1910 – November 22, 1989) was an American cartoonist and comic book artist, best known for his work on Captain Marvel (today known as Shazam!) at Fawcett Comics and DC Comics.
He was inducted into the comic book industry's Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997.
C. C. Beck was born on June 8, 1910, in Zumbrota, Minnesota. Beck's father was a Lutheran minister. Beck's mother was a schoolteacher.He studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota, and also took an art correspondence course.
In 1933, Beck joined Fawcett Publications as a staff artist, where he created pulp magazines. When the company began producing comic books in autumn 1939, Beck was assigned to draw a character created by writer Bill Parker called "Captain Thunder". Before the first issue of Whiz Comics came out, the character's name was changed to Captain Marvel. Besides Captain Marvel, Beck also drew other Fawcett series, including the adventures of Spy Smasher and Ibis the Invincible.
His early Captain Marvel stories set the style for the series. Beck favored a cartoony versus realistic rendering of character and setting, which also came to be reflected in the whimsical scripting (by Otto Binder and others). The Captain Marvel stories boasted a clean style which facilitated Beck's assistants and other Fawcett artists emulating Beck's style (one exception was Mac Raboy whose work on Captain Marvel, Jr. was more in the style of Alex Raymond). While Beck oversaw the visual aspects of the various comics featuring Captain Marvel, he emphatically stated in an interview with Tom Heintjes published in Hogan's Alley #3 that he and his fellow artists had no input or influence on the scripts they illustrated, noting "In the 13 years I spent drawing Captain Marvel, I wrote only one story, about Billy's trip to a Mayan temple [Whiz Comics 22, "Capt. Marvel and the Temple of Itzalotahui"], which had to be submitted in typed form and edited and approved before I was allowed to illustrate it." At most he allowed the art and editorial departments "did develop an interplay of ideas ... that kept Captain Marvel changing and developing."
The popularity of Captain Marvel allowed Fawcett to produce a number of spin-off comic books and Beck to open his own New York City comics studio in 1941. He later expanded his studio, adding one in Englewood, New Jersey. Beck's studio supplied most of the artwork in the Marvel Family line of books. In this he acted as Chief Artist (akin to an Art Director), a role Fawcett formally recognized on the contents page of Captain Marvel Adventures.This facilitated Beck's efforts to bring a coherent look to the stories with Captain Marvel and related characters, ensuring they adhered to the style he originated. The studio also did commercial art, most prominently a series of advertisements in comic strip form starring Captain Tootsie promoting Tootsie Roll. Done in the style of the Marvel Family books and similarly whimsical (this Captain had a large T on his shirt instead of a lightning bolt), the ads appeared in comic books published by both Fawcett and its rivals, and in Sunday comic strip sections of newspapers.
After years of litigation due to a suit lodged by National Comics Publications (one of the companies that would later become DC Comics) against Fawcett for copyright infringement claiming that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman (see National Comics Publications, Inc. v. Fawcett Publications, Inc. ), Fawcett in the early 1950s (partly in response to flagging sales) reached a settlement with DC in which it agreed to discontinue its comic line.
After Fawcett Comics folded, Beck left the comic book industry but continued doing commercial illustrations. With Otto Binder, Beck prepared six sample strips for a proposed newspaper comic strip starring the character Tawky Tawny but it was rejected by the syndicates that saw it.By 1953, Beck had relocated to Florida and owned the Ukulele Bar & Grill in Miami, Florida, where he tended bar. That year he contacted Joe Simon and expressed a desire to re-enter the comic book industry and sought Simon's aid in creating a suitable character. The result was The Silver Spider, with Beck doing rough art from a script by Jack Oleck; Simon used his connections to pitch the property to Harvey Comics but they rejected it. Several years later, in 1959, Simon and Jack Kirby re-worked the Silver Spider concept for publication by Archie Comics as The Fly.
Beck had a short story titled "Vanishing Point" published in the July 1959 issue of Astounding Science Fiction .
His first return to comics was in the mid-1960s for the short-lived Milson Publications who published three issues of his creation Fatman the Human Flying Saucer. This character was almost the inverse of Captain Marvel in appearance and coloration, but with very different powers. Then in 1973 he was the initial artist for DC Comics' revival of Captain Marvel, titled Shazam! due to trademark issues. Beck left after the tenth issue due to "creative differences" regarding plotlines. Subsequently, at the invitation of E. Nelson Bridwell, Beck submitted a script for a new story "Captain Marvel Battles Evil Incarnate." After Bridwell returned it with extensive editorial changes Beck attempted to draw the rewritten version but became so dissatisfied with it that he tore up the artwork he had drawn thus far and returned the Bridwell draft to DC.
In his retirement, Beck produced a regular opinion column for The Comics Journal entitled "The Crusty Curmudgeon". One of his chief topics was his objections to what he saw as the growing realism in comics art (versus the simpler style he had employed). In the early 1970s, he tutored the filmmaker and special effects artist John R. Ellis.
Beck was guest of honor at the 1973 Comic Art Conventionand the 1977 San Diego Comic Book Convention, memorably at the latter he in the evening played guitar serenading fans and guests poolside at the El Cortez Hotel. Beck attended the initial OrlandoCon in 1974 and was a regular attendee into the early 1980s. He was also a guest at the 1982 Minneapolis Comic-Con.
Beck in his later years began doing paintings recreating the covers of Golden Age comic books, both those featuring Captain Marvel and other superheroes and even some of funny animals (Donald Duck, Bugs Bunny). Beck's painting inspired by Carl Barks' unused cover sketch for the story "The Mines of King Solomon" ( Uncle Scrooge #19, Sept.-Nov. 1957) was used as the cover when the story was reprinted in Gladstone Comic Album #1 (1987).
In April 1980 Beck became the editor of the newsletter of the Fawcett Collectors of America, which he renamed FCA/SOB for Fawcett Collectors of America/Some Opinionated Bastards (the latter phrase humorously referring to himself). Failing health forced Beck to resign the editorship after nineteen issues (Newsletter #30, dated May/June 1983).
Beck died in Gainesville, Florida of a renal ailment.
Beck was recognized for his work with a formal nomination as a finalist for the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990, and induction in 1997. He was also inducted into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1993. In 1977 he was awarded an Inkpot by the San Diego Comic Con.
Jacob Kurtzberg, best known by his pen name, Jack Kirby, was an American comic book artist, writer and editor, widely regarded as one of the medium's major innovators and one of its most prolific and influential creators. He grew up in New York City and learned to draw cartoon figures by tracing characters from comic strips and editorial cartoons. He entered the nascent comics industry in the 1930s, drawing various comics features under different pen names, including Jack Curtiss, before ultimately settling on Jack Kirby. In 1940, he and writer-editor Joe Simon created the highly successful superhero character Captain America for Timely Comics, predecessor of Marvel Comics. During the 1940s, Kirby regularly teamed with Simon, creating numerous characters for that company and for National Comics Publications, later to become DC Comics.
Joseph Henry Simon was an American comic book writer, artist, editor, and publisher. Simon created or co-created many important characters in the 1930s–1940s Golden Age of Comic Books, such as Captain America, and served as the first editor of Timely Comics, the company that would evolve into Marvel Comics.
Captain Marvel, also known as Shazam, is a fictional superhero appearing in American comics originally published by Fawcett Comics, and currently published by DC Comics. Artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker created the character in 1939. Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics #2, published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word "SHAZAM!", can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities. The character battles an extensive rogues' gallery, most of them working in tandem as the Monster Society of Evil, including primary archenemies Doctor Sivana, Black Adam, and Mister Mind.
Mary Marvel is a fictional character superheroine originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and Marc Swayze, she first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures #18. The character is a member of the Marvel/Shazam Family of heroes associated with the superhero Shazam/Captain Marvel.
Fawcett Comics, a division of Fawcett Publications, was one of several successful comic book publishers during the Golden Age of Comic Books in the 1940s. Its most popular character was Captain Marvel, the alter ego of radio reporter Billy Batson, who transformed into the hero whenever he said the magic word "Shazam!".
The Marvel Family, also known as the Shazam Family, are a group of superheroes who originally appeared in books published by Fawcett Comics and were later acquired by DC Comics. Created in 1942 by writer Otto Binder and artist Marc Swayze, the team was created as an extension of Fawcett's Captain Marvel franchise, and included Marvel's sister Mary Marvel, their friend Captain Marvel Jr., and, at various times, a number of other characters as well.
The Power of Shazam! is a 1994 hardcover graphic novel, written and painted by Jerry Ordway for DC Comics. The 96-page story, depicting the revamped origins of former Fawcett Comics superhero Captain Marvel, was followed by an ongoing series, also titled The Power of Shazam!, which ran from 1995 to 1999.
Adventures of Captain Marvel is a 1941 American 12-chapter black-and-white movie serial from Republic Pictures, produced by Hiram S. Brown, Jr., directed by John English and William Witney, that stars Tom Tyler in the title role of Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. as his alter ego, Billy Batson. The serial was adapted from the popular Captain Marvel comic book character then appearing in Fawcett Comics publications Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures.
Captain Marvel Adventures was a long running comic book anthology series by Fawcett Comics starring Captain Marvel during the Golden Age of Comic Books.
Uncle Marvel is a fictional comic book character, originally created for Fawcett Comics, and today owned by DC Comics, who appears in stories about the Marvel Family team of superheroes.
Hoppy the Marvel Bunny is a fictional comic book superhero and funny animal originally published by Fawcett Comics as a spin-off of Captain Marvel. He was created by Chad Grothkopf (1914–2005), and debuted in Fawcett's Funny Animals #1. Hoppy later became a property of DC Comics, and has made periodic appearances in stories related to Captain Marvel, today also known as Shazam.
Otto Oscar Binder was an American author of science fiction and non-fiction books and stories, and comic books. He is best known as the co-creator of Supergirl and for his many scripts for Captain Marvel Adventures and other stories involving the entire superhero Marvel Family. He was prolific in the comic book field and is credited with writing over 4400 stories across a variety of publishers under his own name, as well as more than 160 stories under the pen-name Eando Binder.
William Lee Parker was an American comic book writer and editor. He is best known for creating the Fawcett Comics character, Captain Marvel, in 1939, along with artist C. C. Beck.
National Comics Publications v. Fawcett Publications, 191 F.2d 594. was a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in a twelve-year legal battle between National Comics and the Fawcett Comics division of Fawcett Publications, concerning Fawcett's Captain Marvel character being an infringement on the copyright of National's Superman comic book character. The litigation is notable as one of the longest-running legal battles in comic book publication history.
Edward Nelson Bridwell was a writer for Mad magazine and various comic books published by DC Comics. One of the writers for the Batman comic strip and Super Friends, he also wrote The Inferior Five, among other comics. He has been called "DC's self-appointed continuity cop."
Captain Marvel Jr., also known as Shazam Jr., is a fictional superhero originally published by Fawcett Comics and currently published by DC Comics. A member of the Marvel/Shazam Family team of superheroes associated with Captain Marvel/Shazam, he was created by Ed Herron and Mac Raboy, and first appeared in Whiz Comics #25 in December 1941.
Tawky Tawny is a fictional character, an anthropomorphic tiger who appears as a supporting character of Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family in superhero/funny animal comic book stories published by Fawcett Comics and later DC Comics.
The Rock of Eternity is a fictional location appearing in comic books featuring Captain Marvel / Shazam and/or his associated characters, first in publications by Fawcett Comics and later by DC Comics.
Steamboat Bill, most commonly as Steamboat, was a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Fawcett Comics, most commonly in association with the superhero Captain Marvel. The character played the role of valet to both Captain Marvel and his teenaged alter-ego, Billy Batson, and was intended by Captain Marvel co-creator C.C. Beck to appeal to African-American readers. However, protests from African-Americans and other readers concerning Steamboat's racial stereotyping led to the character's disuse after 1945.
The 1940s were an essential time for DC Comics. Both National Comics Publications and All-American Publications would introduce many new featured superheroes in American comic books in superhero comics anthology tales like More Fun Comics, Adventure Comics, Detective Comics, Action Comics, All-American Comics, Superman, Flash Comics, Batman, All Star Comics, World's Finest Comics, All-Flash, Star Spangled Comics, Green Lantern, Leading Comics, Sensation Comics, Wonder Woman, Comic Cavalcade and Superboy that would be a staple for the comic book company. Examples of the superheroes include the Flash, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt, Spectre, Hourman, Robin, Doctor Fate, Congo Bill, Green Lantern, Atom, Manhunter, Doctor Mid-Nite, Sargon the Sorcerer, Starman, Johnny Quick, the Shining Knight, the Star-Spangled Kid and Stripesy, Tarantula, Vigilante, Green Arrow and Speedy, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Sandy, the Golden Boy, Mister Terrific, Wildcat, Air Wave, Guardian, Robotman, TNT and Dan the Dyna-Mite, Liberty Belle, Superboy and Black Canary. These characters would later crossover in superhero team titles in the 1940s such as the Justice Society of America and the Seven Soldiers of Victory helping pave a way to a shared universe of the publication company. Other used featured characters outside of superheroes included kid titular heroes like the Newsboy Legion and the Boy Commandos. Later Western heroes would be used such as Johnny Thunder, Nighthawk and Pow Wow Smith.