Saturday, April 28, 2007


The late Kurt Schaffenberger, a dapper, mustachioed chap I had the pleasure of meeting in the 1980's, drew both the original CAPTAIN MARVEL and SUPERMAN, and, amazingly drew CAPTAIN MARVEL at both FAWCETT and DC COMICS!!!
FAWCETT had begum publishing CAPTAIN MARVEL in the pages of WHIZ COMICS, not long after the premiere of SUPERMAN in ACTION COMICS, from the 1938 incarnation of DC COMICS, as a way to get a pice of the, er, action, on caped strong men.
CAPTAIN MARVEL's stories were written and drawn in a lighter style than SUPERMAN's were, and, guess what, these comic books often outsold SUPERMAN, thus, it went that DC took FAWCETT to court, and along running lawsuit followed, and FAWCETT essentially dropped publishing comic books almost completely, in the early 1950's.
While FAWCETT was still publishing CAPTAIN MARVEL and related titles, Kurt Schaffenberger was a major force in the good captain's army. Along with CAPTAIN MARVEL's best known cartoonist, Charles Clarence, or "CC", Beck, and such great illustrators as Mac Raboy, Marc Swayze and Jack Binder, and, taking a light approach like Beck's, long-time cartoonist Pete Costanza, CAPTAIN MARVEL, his sister, MARY MARVEL, and CAPTAIN MARVEL JUNIOR (beautifully rendered by Mac Raboy), "the Marvel Family" had many whimsical and charming adventures.
Ironically, FAWCETT decided to settle the lawsuit, and DC ended up owning the rights to the characters, and, ultimately, a good deal of FAWCETT's other comic book properties as well.
Both Kurt Schaffenberger and Pete Costanza, as well as writer Otto Binder, ended up working on SUPERMAN related comic books at DC!!!
It was there that Kurt got me as a fan, drawing wonderfully "goofy" LOIS LANE comic books, which, in my estimation, made SUPERMAN, Lois, and LANA LANG into a comics version of television's I LOVE LUCY.
These are brilliant works, totally entrenched in 1960's culture, with Lois and Lana wearing Jackie Kennedy era clothing, particularly Lois, with her ubiquitous pillbox hat, and Lana being slightly more modern-looking. Kurt drew about 80 issues of LOIS LANE, and also drew other features for DC, until he departed the company in the late 1960's.
Kurt also drew for ACG COMICS, acompany that, apparently had an "incestuous" business connection with DC.
In the 1970's, Kurt returned to DC, again drawing the SUPERMAN family of characters, from LOIS LANE, to SUPERMAN'S PAL: JIMMY OLSEN, to the "Captain Marvel" feature, now called SHAZAM!, because MARVEL COMICS had trademarked the name CAPTAIN MARVEL for their own use.
Kurt had not lost any of his great talent in his brief hiatus from DC, and ultimately drew some beautiful SHAZAM! stories, inking the pencilled work of the late Don Newton (see that blog entry soon), and these jobs are very nicely written, by the late E. Nelson Bridwell, or ENB, as he was known.
Mr. Schaffenberger later retired and his life came to an end in New Jersey.

--additions and edits and more to follow!!!

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