• On 19 Jul | '2019

Greeting Loyal Airmen, hope you are all enjoying summer. The other day the Air Chief found himself talking about his career to a friend. How it all began after we’d come home from Vietnam and back into civilian life. There were two comic book creators up in Canada named Vincent Marchesano and Art Cooper and they had formed a little project called Spectrum Publication where by they wrote and did their own mini-comic. And by that we mean comics no bigger than a package of cigarettes.


Above are the actual covers to four of those little mini-comics.  The series was called ID, EGO/AEON. At the upper left corner is cover featuring a character created by Cooper called Freedom Fighter. In his concept, Cooper imagined the Nazis having won World War II and now controlling North America. In this bleak world resistant groups spring up led by the mysterious masked man. We were so enamored with this idea and the character that we sat down and wrote a 4 pg stories of him and mailed off to Art and Vince. Much to our delight they liked our little story and Art said he would draw it in the next issue.  That’s the cover to upper right.


The story was called “Pay Your Dues” and above are the very first two pages of the first comic the Air Chief ever wrote and had published. It’s dated 1970. Lots of others have followed. Oh, yeah.


When the Air Chief was a little guy, his father would take him to a local barber for his haircuts. Now this gentleman’s sons had all grown up by the mid-1940s and left behind their comic books. So the barber put them in small shelves for his kid customers like the Air Chief. Thanks to these old comics, we discovered the likes of the Justice Society of America, Captain America and the Human Torch and our favorite of the Golden Age heroes, the original Captain Marvel and written and illustrated by the amazing C.C. Beck. In fact when the Air Chief and his pal artist Gary Kato created our own comedy superhero, Mr. Jigsaw Man of a Thousands, we were thrilled to have the late comic historian and critic Don Thompson compare Jiggy to the best of C.C. Beck’s Captain Marvel.


Now in 1941 Republic Serials made two chapter-plays featuring two of Fawcett Comics most popular comic heroes; Captain Marvel and Spy Smasher. We recently picked up a Blu-ray edition of “The Adventures of Captain Marvel,” one of our favorites of the serials. It stars Frank Coghlan Jr. as Billy Batson and when he says the magic word, SHAZAM, he’s transformed in to the Adonis like Captain Marvel and wonderfully portrayed by Tom Tyler. Tyler would go on to film another classic hero in Columbia’s serial of The Phantom. Most serial fans argue amiably between themselves as to which is the best of the Republic serials. Personally the Air Chief thinks it’s really a tie between “The Adventures of Captain Marvel” and “Spy Smasher” which starred Kane Richmond. Both were extremely well made and tons of fun to watch.  Here’s hoping there is a Blu-ray version of “Spy Smasher” in our future.

And that’s it for this week, Loyal Airmen, as ever, thanks for stopping by and see you back here next Friday.

Ron – Over & Out!


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