Master Comics 24 — perched high on a rooftop, Junior is cloaked in darkness on this moody cover.
Master Comics’ Comics Master: A Tribute to Mac Raboy
Master Comics 26 — features a cover in which all the elements come together well for which Raboy is so highly revered. Junior is majestically floating front-and-center over a sea-foam green background. He is high above a Japanese destroyer in the South Pacific, raining down destruction in the form of huge bombs. The anatomical structure and buoyancy of Junior is perfect. The bombs, warship and even the explosion are all almost photo-realistic, making this obviously fictional image almost believable. Master Comics 37 — the cover features Junior, after having destroyed a Nazi warship, hauling a raft of surviving and astonished Nazis out of the North Atlantic night.
Raboy uses vibrant bright color accents against a deep purple background in a relatively simple composition a floating Junior, with outstretched arm and head turned back toward the raft to create an almost three-dimensional image. Ironically, the events depicted on this cover likely resonated with many Americans, especially New Yorkers.
This book appeared on newsstands only months after a Nazi U-boat, part of the failed Nazi Operation Pastorious sabotage attempt, ran aground off the coast of Long Island in the pre-dawn blackness of morning. This classic cover features Junior, with an angelic smile on his face, flying right out of the cover at the reader. He is holding the front end of a Japanese aircraft carrier deck that he is literally tearing from the ship. Master Comics 39 — a perfect example of how Raboy used subtlety in his imagery to create an even more powerful message.
At first glance, it looks like Junior is simply surfing on a torpedo. Closer examination, however, reveals the torpedo was fired by an Axis U-boat and right before it is about to hit an Allied ship, Junior has landed on it, has made a U-turn rescuing the Allied warship and is surfing it back at the offending Axis U-boat. The message was a sign of the times, and the cover is considered to be one of the all-time classic WWII era offerings. Captain Marvel, Jr. I suppose the message here is that nothing the Axis could throw at the Allies could deter the inevitable.
Master Comics 28 — the cover features Junior straddled atop, and ringing, the Liberty Bell. Not only is this composition unique, but the detail and realism of the huge metal bell astound. Master Comics 32 — features the very simple yet powerful classic American Bald Eagle patriotic cover. While the classic Pep Comics 20 cover uses the Swastika as a symbol of Nazi tyranny, this one uses the Swastika in a very different way. Almost three-dimensional, this cover depicts Junior smashing a huge stone Swastika to pieces, with chunks of it seemingly hurtling out from the cover.
Quite a message! Beck once said that Raboy was the best artist to ever work in comics, despite not being a good comic artist. Like many artists from this era, Beck felt the comic book images themselves should be somewhat light or humorous. Raboy, however, did not subscribe to this philosophy. None of this, however, stopped Raboy from rendering some of the best humorous images of the period — without compromise to his philosophy. Further, these humorous covers belie the powerful satirical message each delivers. The composition itself is hilarious, as are the Terror Twins, with their exaggerated pained facial expressions.
But, all three characters are very realistically rendered and Raboy depicted the Japanese Imperial and Nazi military uniforms in full splendor. Despite this hilarious image, as any of the thousands of children that bought this book knew, a spanking is the result of bad behavior, administered by someone in a position of authority. And, the Captain Marvel, Jr. On its face, the image depicts a simple sporting contest between Junior and the Axis leaders, where Junior, playing offense, cannot be stopped in his forward progress.
Football is an all-American sport. This was likely endearing to younger readers, given the robust imagination of children. Master Comics 41 offers a nice example, as Raboy brings Lady Liberty to life in a story-defining sequence! Because of this, many of these books rarely turn up for sale, especially in higher grade. Additionally, many of these books feature stories written by the science fiction author Otto Binder.
This means they often had better scripted stories than many other offerings on the newsstand. There is, however, something very special to putting together a run of virtually phantom books that have historical significance and that feature the very best work of the period. In early the comic art staff at Fawcett converted mostly to a freelance status.
It was around this time that Raboy started doing commercial artwork, which paid much better than comic book work. In , he left Fawcett altogether to work for Spark Publications. This was a result of Fawcett editor Ken Crossen leaving Fawcett in mid to start his own publishing company. He convinced Raboy to quit Fawcett and join him at Spark, where Raboy would receive a piece of the action as the art director rather than just remaining a salaried staff artist. Raboy left Fawcett with an agreement that, if time permitted, he would still occasionally provide cover art for the Captain Marvel, Jr.
At Spark, Raboy provided the covers and stories for Green Lama. The first issue debuted in December , with a cover design like that of Captain Marvel, Jr. The cover of Green Lama 6 features yet another iconic image that makes a clear political statement. The Green Lama is about to cast from the Earth a giant crumbling swastika. As iconic as this cover image may be, the splash page is even better.
He continued to mature and grow in his mastery of the art-form and, for issue 7, shared this evolution with Green Lama readers. He rendered it on Duo-Tone art paper, which allowed the artist to capture different tones of shading in the work. When color was added, the work transcended anything he had done before as well as other comic book art being produced by the hobby at that time.
The image is very similar to an unpublished painting Raboy produced of Junior that may have been intended as the cover to Captain Marvel, Jr. For Raboy, this unfortunate event may have been serendipitous. He continued to establish and work on non-comic book related commercial accounts. Between and Raboy secured a freelance job for which he provided full-page illustrations for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper. Each illustration provided anatomically perfect and beautiful figures and photo-realistic backgrounds.
Ironically, Raboy had a fascination with early American history the Civil War era in particular , so this work likely held a great deal of interest for him. At the time comic strips were considered superior to comic books strip artists received higher pay, for one thing. His first Sunday page appeared on August 1, For the entire period on which he worked on the strip, except January — October when he hired Bob Rogers to do backgrounds , he did all the artwork for the Flash Gordon Sunday page.
He continued on the strip until his death. Indeed, working at his typical three-hours-per-day pace and always being several weeks ahead in production meant he could take the time he wanted on each art panel and would have no need to rely on Photostats and such tricks. With that said, I believe the very best Raboy comic-related work was that which he rendered for Master Comics and Green Lama.
He also was an immensely talented artist and realized early that he could make a considerable living drawing comic books and comic strips.
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From all credible accounts, he had no other real interest in the medium or most of the people in it, preferring to leave work at work. He would never dream of giving away any of his original comic art as gifts. To the contrary, when King Features would return it to him, he would simply store it out of sight in a closet. Most everyone with whom he had worked over the years described him as a very quiet man that rarely ever expressed an opinion on much of anything, including work, family or politics.
Outside of work, however, he and his wife often entertained close friends that he had made over the years, including some from the comic book field with whom he shared common interests and a similar perspective of the business. He built much of the furniture for his house. He made wooden furniture and woodcarvings that he would give away to family and friends.
He sculpted clay torsos often of Lincoln. In mid, Mac Raboy was diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, the doctors concluded there was little they could do, so he was moved to a Mount Kisco hospital to be closer to his family. Arguably my favorite Raboy cover, and easily one of the best representations of "I'm SO sweetly invulnerable" seen in comics.
Captain Marvel Jr. Not only can he stand in the midst of an artillery barrage Spy Smasher is contemplating how much he really enjoys smashing spies. He's probably dreaming about a smashed-spy pie. Raboy's war covers were simply the best. Each one of them hearkened to the feel of the actual war propaganda posters of the time. Simple images. And a simple message A Raboy painting of Captain Marvel Jr The published cover for Cap Jr.
I love how he seems like an actual kid. To me, that makes it all the more dynamic when he does the superheroics. The cover and original art from the epic story that introduced Captain Marvel Jr. I believe this is his first cover appearance. I can check.
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- Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Captain Marvel Jr.;
Hold on a second. And… yes. Yes it is. The Marvel Family, in the Fawcett Comics years, all three had separate and distinct personalities. Captain Marvel himself was a bit of a jokester, almost always good-natured, and his stories were usually of the "fun" variety. Mary Marvel was similar, but even more so And then there was Freddy Freeman, a crippled boy whose parents were killed by Captain Nazi.
How did Captain Marvel Jr. Just read that cover blurb, and you'll get an idea. I have to tell you, it looks to me like the Japa-Nazis are in for some "prison shower-room" time. Mac Raboy's model sheet, given to other artists, on the proper way to draw Captain Marvel Jr. Lesson one: Be Mac Raboy. Raboy left the field of comics relatively early in his career and went on to work on the Flash Gordon comic strip, a strip that he drew for over twenty years, until his death in Below are a couple of examples of his Flash Gordon Sundays.
Another part of the storyline that introduced Captain Marvel Jr. I love this cover for the cocky stance of Captain Nazi, and how Captain Marvel and Bulletman are just facing him down. Screw you, Nazi. A beautiful cover, to me, because I get the sense that Captain Marvel Jr. He's not just in the air Ibis conjures up Taia, aka "Another girl that Paul has a crush on.
Four-Color Shadows: Captain Marvel Jr.-Mac Raboy
You might not see your favorite artist during this countdown. Furthermore, this list is subjective to my moods of the moment, so if you disagree with me, then rest assured that I probably disagree with me, too. That said, I welcome any and all comments as this list progresses over time. Most covers were nothing more than two or three characters punching each other and snarling, the exact kind of design that I would have worked out when I was eight years old, and spat on by the time I was ten. So, why do such covers proliferate the shelves?
One reason is for trade dressing … so that any cover can be put upon almost any trade compilation, which is one of the reasons behind the other Far Too Common cover design… that of the character or team standing at attention, looking tough, staring at the viewer. Fuck that. Filed under Uncategorized. That cover to Master Comics no. And that model sheet for Jr. I really like what you said about the distinct personalities of the three Marvels, spot on. Beautiful covers!