Mac Raboy might not be a household name in the general public, as Jack Kirby or Neal Adams might be. The latest offering from TwoMorrows Publishing celebrates the life of Mac Raboy, the comic book artist that influenced pop culture and many artists in later years. TwoMorrows are the curators of past and present creators in the comic industry. Their book Mac Raboy Master of The Comics is a unique detailed glance of the man and legend like nobody has ever told.
Mac Raboy’s iconic Captain Marvel Jr. covers are regarded very highly by comic book connoisseurs. His realistic rendering was way ahead for the time in the forties, and his art was far superior to his peers.
In the forties, Captain Marvel and his family were a super hit with young teens. One particular teen named Elvis Presley was infatuated with Captain Marvel Jr. so much that he copied his hairstyle and later also his stage jumpsuits to mimic his childhood hero. Elvis’ collection of Captain Marvel Jr. comic books grace the attic at his Graceland estate.
The heroic flamboyancy of Mac Raboy’s gestures left a big impression on Elvis, and pop culture benefited from the symbiotic relationship of Elvis’s fantasy.
One of the main reasons that Mac Raboy is not as well known today is because he did not work for either DC or Marvel Comics. Fawcett, the publisher of Captain Marvel (Shazam!), was famous in the forties, but by the early ’50s, the publisher went out of business as the result of a lawsuit brought by National Comics (DC Comics). He suffered the same fate as Captain Marvel and faded out of sight.
In life, you adapt and move on. Mac Raboy found other work in his lengthy Flash Gordon run for King Features from 1948 until his death in December of 1967. He outlasted Alex Raymond’s run on the syndicated newspaper series. He was an accomplished artist and also found work in commercial art for magazines.
He died of cancer in 1967, and like many of his counterparts of the time, his comic book work just vanished from most minds. Today things are a bit different; the good folks of TwoMorrows are keeping the flame lit for past creators in the comic book industry. This book on Mac Raboy was a pleasure to read.
The interview with his son to his co-workers and those influenced by his art bring out the man behind the pencil. I highly recommend this book, there is new unpublished art, and also you can examine the process of Mac Raboy used to create his work.
Roger Hill, the author of this book, gives us a detailed look into perhaps one of the most significant artistic influences in the comic book industry. As the book cover depicts Captain Marvel Jr. symbolically holding his two fingers gesturing the victory sign. This book is a victory for TwoMorrows Publishing and Roger Hill. Well done, gentlemen.