C. C. Beck

Charles Clarence Beck (June 8, 1910 – November 22, 1989), usually cited as C. C. Beck, was an American cartoonist and comic book artist, best known for his work on Captain Marvel 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
C. C. Beck 1982
C. C. Beck in 1982
BornCharles Clarence Beck
June 8, 1910[1]
Zumbrota, Minnesota
DiedNovember 22, 1989 (aged 79)
Gainesville, Florida
Notable works
Captain Marvel

Early life

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.[2][3] He studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota, and also took an art correspondence course.


Fawcett Comics

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.[4] 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.

Later work

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.[5] By 1953, Beck had relocated to Florida and owned the Ukulele Bar & Grill in Miami, Florida, where he tended bar.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[9]

Beck was guest of honor at the 1973 Comic Art Convention[10] and the 1977 San Diego Comic Book Convention, memorabily 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).[11]

Beck died in Gainesville, Florida of a renal ailment.


Beck was recognized for his work with 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.


  1. ^ "United States Social Security Death Index," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/JRMW-43V : accessed February 21, 2013), Charles C Beck, November 21, 1989; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. ^ "The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Illustrator C.C. Beck creator of Captain Marvel (who arrives when Billy Batson "Shazam!")".
  3. ^ "C. C. Beck, 79; Creator of Captain Marvel".
  4. ^ Captain Marvel Adventures #34 April 1944
  5. ^ Mr. Tawny at CaptainMarvelCulture.com
  6. ^ Simon, Joe, with Jim Simon. The Comic Book Makers (Crestwood/II, 1990) ISBN 1-887591-35-4, p. 191. Reissued (Vanguard Productions, 2003). Page number refers to 1990 edition.
  7. ^ The End of Simon & Kirby, Chapter 10, A Fly In The Mix
  8. ^ The Marvel Family Battles Evil Incarnate: The Final Showdown Between C.C. Beck and DC Comics
  9. ^ "Ellis to be featured at Reel Stuff Film Festival of Aviation". Wilmington, Ohio, News Journal. March 11, 2009. Archived from the original on October 3, 2011. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  10. ^ The Buyer’s Guide #41
  11. ^ Swayze, Marcus. Foreword. Hamerlinck, P.C., ed Fawcett Companion. pp.4–5. TwoMorrows Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-893905-10-1.

External links

Bill Parker (comics)

William Lee "Bill" Parker (September 11, 1911 – January 31, 1963) 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.Parker graduated in 1929 from The Lawerenceville School in New Jersey, and then attended Princeton University, where he was a member of the Cannon Club, Press Club and ROTC. After graduating from Princeton in 1933 with a degree in English Literature, he worked for three years for the New York Herald Tribune as a sports editor and in the education department, followed by a year as sports editor of the Literary Digest. In September 1937 he joined Fawcett Publications, initially as an editor on its crime and detective magazines and then as an editor on its movie magazine line. He stayed in this role until August 1939, when he was asked to become the senior editor of a new comic book line that Fawcett intended to bring to market.

After agreeing to take on the comic book project, Parker was assigned the task of creating the characters and stories for Fawcett's first comic magazine, Whiz Comics. For the lead character, Parker developed a superhero that he initially named "Captain Thunder," later changed to "Captain Marvel" at the suggestion of Fawcett General Manager Ralph Daigh. Parker originally conceived Captain Marvel as a leader of a group of men, each of whom possessed one outstanding characteristic, and who would be called upon by the leader as the needs of each mission demanded. This concept was inspired by stories of the Knights of the Round Table that Parker had read as a boy in James Baldwin's 1910 book "Stories of the King." Fawcett's Daigh, however, was against the idea of a group, so Parker decided to combine all of the outstanding characteristics of the group into a single character. He drew these characteristics from six mythological heroes - Solomon, Hercules, Achilles, Zeus, Atlas and Mercury - and used the first letter of each as an acrostic for the word "Shazam." After Parker had fully developed Captain Marvel's character and backstory, artist Clarence "C.C." Beck was brought in to flesh out the character's look, to which Parker contributed the ideas for the Hessian cape and the lightning bolt logo. Captain Marvel's first appearance was in Whiz Comics #2, which went on sale in December 1939.In addition to co-creating Captain Marvel, Parker also co-created the other Fawcett characters that debuted in Whiz Comics #2, including Ibis the Invincible (with C.C. Beck), Golden Arrow (with Pete Costanza), Spy Smasher (with C.C. Beck), Scoop Smith (with Greg Duncan), Lance O'Casey (with Bob Kingett) and Dan Dare (with Greg Duncan).

At the time he created Captain Marvel, Parker was a member of the cavalry in the New York National Guard, and in October 1940 left Fawcett to join the U.S. Army in active service. He served in the Pacific theater during World War II, rising to the rank of Major. Following World War II, he rejoined Fawcett Publications in December 1945, but had no further involvement in comics. From 1945 to 1948 he was the feature editor of Today's Woman, before becoming the senior editor of Mechanix Illustrated, a position he held until his death in 1963. Parker was survived by his wife, the former Elizabeth Hennig, and two step-daughters. Parker's only child, William Lee Parker Jr., died in infancy in 1949.

Black Adam

Black Adam is a fictional supervillain and occasional antihero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, the character is the archenemy of the superhero Shazam, also once known as Captain Marvel. Black Adam first appeared as a one-time villain for the first issue of Fawcett Comics' The Marvel Family comic book (December 1945). However, Black Adam was revived as a recurring character after DC Comics first licensed and then acquired the Fawcett characters and began publishing Captain Marvel/Marvel Family stories under the title Shazam! in the 1970s.As originally depicted, Black Adam was a corrupted, ancient Egyptian predecessor of Captain Marvel, who fought his way to modern times to challenge the hero and his Marvel Family associates. Since the turn of the 21st century, however, Black Adam has been re-defined by DC Comics writers Jerry Ordway, Geoff Johns, and David S. Goyer as a corrupted antihero attempting to clear his name and reputation. Featured roles in such comic book series as Justice Society of America (JSA), Villains United, Infinite Crisis, and 52 have elevated the character to an unprecedented level of prominence in the overall universe of DC Comics characters.

In 2009, Black Adam was ranked as IGN's 16th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time. Dwayne Johnson has been cast as Black Adam in the planned feature films, including a solo Black Adam film from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros., which will be set in the DC Extended Universe film franchise.

Captain Marvel (DC Comics)

Shazam (), also known as Captain Marvel, is a fictional comic book superhero appearing in publications by the American publisher DC Comics. Artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker created the character in 1939. Captain Marvel first appeared in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated Feb. 1940), published by Fawcett Comics. He is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who, by speaking the magic word "SHAZAM" (acronym of six "immortal elders": Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury), can transform himself into a costumed adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight and other abilities.

Based on book sales, the character was the most popular superhero of the 1940s, outselling even Superman. Fawcett expanded the franchise to include other "Marvels", primarily Marvel Family associates Mary Marvel and Captain Marvel Jr., who can harness Billy's powers as well. Captain Marvel was also the first comic book superhero to be adapted into film, in a 1941 Republic Pictures serial titled Adventures of Captain Marvel, with Tom Tyler as Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan, Jr. as Billy Batson.

Fawcett ceased publishing Captain Marvel-related comics in 1953, partly because of a copyright infringement suit from DC Comics, alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. In 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family characters from Fawcett, and returned them to publication. By 1991, DC had acquired all rights to the characters. DC has since integrated Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family into their DC Universe and has attempted to revive the property several times, with mixed success. Due to trademark conflicts over another character named "Captain Marvel" owned by Marvel Comics, DC has branded and marketed the character using the trademark Shazam! since his 1972 reintroduction. This, in turn, led many to assume that "Shazam" was the character's name. DC later officially renamed the character "Shazam" when relaunching its comic book properties in 2011, and his associates became known as the "Shazam Family" the following year. Captain Marvel/Shazam and his family battle an extensive rogues' gallery, primarily archenemies Dr. Sivana and Black Adam.

The character has been featured in two television series adaptations by Filmation: one live action 1970s series with actors Jackson Bostwick and Michael Gray portraying the character, and one animated 1980s series. An upcoming New Line Cinema/Warner Bros. Shazam! feature film is scheduled for release in April 2019 as part of the DC Extended Universe, with Zachary Levi and Asher Angel portraying the title role. Captain Marvel was ranked as the 55th greatest comic book character of all time by Wizard magazine. IGN also ranked Captain Marvel as the 50th greatest comic book hero of all time, stating that the character will always be an enduring reminder of a simpler time. UGO Networks ranked him as one of the top heroes of entertainment, saying, "At his best, Shazam has always been compared to Superman with a sense of crazy, goofy fun."

Doctor Sivana

Doctor Thaddeus Bodog Sivana is a fictional supervillain appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. Created by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck, the character first appeared in late 1939, opposite superhero Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2 (cover-dated February 1940) by Fawcett Comics. Sivana was soon established as Captain Marvel's enemy and frequent foe, a role that he has kept through to the present, in his appearances in DC Comics, who eventually acquired the rights to those characters from Fawcett. In 2009, Doctor Sivana was ranked as IGN's 82nd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.The character will make his cinematic debut in the upcoming film Shazam!, portrayed by Mark Strong.

Fatman the Human Flying Saucer

Fatman the Human Flying Saucer is a fictional character, a comic book superhero created by artist C. C. Beck and writer Otto Binder in the 1960s.Beck and Binder created Fatman long after Beck's popular creation Captain Marvel was canceled partly due to a copyright infringement suit with DC Comics.

Fawcett Comics

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!".

Other characters published by Fawcett include Captain Video, Hopalong Cassidy, Ibis the Invincible, Bulletman and Bulletgirl, Spy Smasher, Captain Midnight, Phantom Eagle, Mister Scarlet and Pinky, Minute-Man, Commando Yank and Golden Arrow.

Aside from the better known superhero books, Fawcett also published a short-lived line of horror comics during the early 1950s, a string of titles which included This Magazine Is Haunted, Beware! Terror Tales, Worlds of Fear, Strange Suspense Stories, and Unknown World. Other genres included teenage humor (Otis and Babs), funny animal (Hoppy the Marvel Bunny), romance (Sweethearts), war (Soldier Comics) and Western (Lash LaRue, Six Gun Heroes). Fawcett also produced comics based on contemporary movie stars (Tom Mix, Monte Hale) and matinee serials (Nyoka the Jungle Girl). The entire line was dropped in 1953, when Fawcett closed down their comics publishing wing (though many titles were picked up by Charlton Comics).


Ibac is a fictional Fawcett Comics and DC Comics supervillain, and a foe of Captain Marvel.

King Kull (DC Comics)

King Kull (sometimes called the Beastman or the Beast Man) is a comic book supervillain originally published by Fawcett Comics and now owned by DC Comics and appearing as a foe of Captain Marvel.

Lieutenant Marvels

The Lieutenant Marvels are fictional characters, a team of superheroes in the Fawcett Comics and DC Comics universes. They first appeared in Whiz Comics #21 in 1941. The physical appearance of the three characters was based on three real-life members of the Fawcett Comics staff: Paul Peck (Tall Billy), Ed Hamilton (Hill Billy), and Frank Taggart (Fat Billy).

Lightning Comics (1967)

Lightning Comics was a short-lived comic book publisher in 1967. It published two titles:

Fatman the Human Flying Saucer, created by writer Otto Binder and artist C. C. Beck, and lasting three issues.

Tod Holton, Super Green Beret (as per cover trademark), a.k.a. Super Green Beret (as per copyright in postal indicia), created by writer Binder and artist Carl Pfeufer, which lasted two issues.

Marvel Family

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.

Because Marvel Comics trademarked their own Captain Marvel comic book during the interim between the demise of the Fawcett Comics' Captain Marvel comics in 1953 and DC's revival in 1972, DC Comics is today unable to promote and market their Captain Marvel/Marvel Family properties under those names. Since 1972, DC has instead used the trademark Shazam! for their comic book titles with the Marvel Family characters, and the name under which they market and promote the characters. When referring to the Marvel Family on comic book covers or various merchandise, they are by this legal necessity called the "Shazam Family". In 2012, DC officially changed Captain Marvel's name to Shazam, making Shazam Family the name of the superhero's associate. In current continuity, the Shazam Family comprises the superpowered alter egos of Billy Batson (teenaged alter-ego of Shazam/Captain Marvel) and his foster siblings: Mary Bromfield (formerly Mary Marvel), Freddy Freeman (formerly Captain Marvel Jr.), Darla Dudley, Pedro Peña, and Eugene Choi.

Mister Atom

Mister Atom is a fictional comic book supervillain, a radioactive robot who is regularly seen as an enemy of Captain Marvel.

Mister Mind and the Monster Society of Evil

Mister Mind is a fictional character, a comic book supervillain created for Fawcett Comics, and now owned and published by DC Comics. Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck, Mister Mind first appeared as a voice only in Captain Marvel Adventures #22; his first true appearance was in Captain Marvel Adventures #26 (August 1943).

One of Captain Marvel's primary villains, Mister Mind is a two-inch alien worm of high intelligence. Mind usually carries out his villainous plans through an organization called the Monster Society of Evil, significant as one of the first supervillain teams in comics to contain villains that a superhero had fought previously; prior to this, supervillain teams were composed of villains created just for that storyline. The Monster Society made its debut in Captain Marvel Adventures #22, and the resulting "Monster Society of Evil" story arc continued for two years in Captain Marvel Adventures, ending with issue #46.


Oggar, the World's Mightiest Immortal, is a fictional character from the publisher Fawcett Comics, whose publication rights were acquired by DC Comics in the 1970s. Oggar was a villain of Captain Marvel chronology in Pre-Crisis; he made no Post-Crisis appearances. He first appeared in Captain Marvel Adventures # 61 (May 1946, Fawcett Comics). His first appearance in DC Comics was in World's Finest Comics # 264 (August 1980).

He was a major recurring enemy of the Marvels in the DC Comics stories published before the continuity-resetting Crisis on Infinite Earths miniseries in 1985.


OrlandoCon, also known as O'Con, was a long-running comic book fan convention which was held annually between 1974 and 1996 in Orlando, Florida. The first comic book convention held in the Orlando area, OrlandoCon billed itself as a "Central Florida comic art convention and early TV/film festival." Captain Marvel-creator C. C. Beck was a regular guest of the show; as were many other Golden Age of Comic Books creators who lived in the Orlando area.

The founders of OrlandoCon were regional chairman of the National Cartoonists Society Jim Ivey, and local enthusiasts Charlie Roberts, Richard Kravitz, Rob Word, and Neil Austin. Most OrlandoCons took place over a September weekend.

Shazam (wizard)

Shazam () is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics.

Djimon Hounsou will play the ancient wizard, Shazam, in the upcoming theatrical film.

Spy Smasher

Spy Smasher is the name of two fictional characters appearing in comics published by Fawcett and DC Comics. The first is a superhero that was formerly owned and published by Fawcett Comics. The second is a female anti-terrorism government agent often featured as an antagonist of the vigilante team Birds of Prey.

Squadron of Justice

The Squadron of Justice was a name used by two superhero teams of characters who originated from Fawcett Comics. Each team only made one appearance in a single story.

Tawky Tawny

Mister 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.

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