Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and twenty-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Tawky Tawny had his own comic strip.
False (but almost!)
It’s funny, I’ve been getting receiving a lot of suggestions for future Comic Book Legends Revealed installments in response to last week’s CBLR about Woody Allen’s comic strip. It’s always interesting what posts inspire a lot of legends (remember how many legends spun out of that one Charles Addams skiing cartoon?!).
Anyhow, inspired by that Woody Allen legend, reader Ken S. wrote in to ask if it was true that Captain Marvel’s talking tiger friend, Tawky Tawny, actually had his own syndicated newspaper comic strip at one point.
The answer is no, but it was surprisingly closer than you might expect.
You see, as you may or may not know by now, Fawcett Publications, who put out the “Captain Marvel” line of comic books, was sued by National Comics (now DC Comics) over an alleged infringement on their Superman copyright with Captain Marvel. The lawsuit dragged on for years but during one of the points when the court had sided with National, Fawcett decided to just stop publishing comic books entirely (they had a bustling magazine business that was their original line of business before they had branched out into comic books during the 1940s comic book boom). So they cut a deal with National and then stopped doing their books in 1952.
Naturally, this was a great inconvenience to their regular creators, including their star writer Otto Binder and star artist C.C. Beck.
Binder and Beck tried to move on by taking their fantastical creation, Mister Tawky Tawney, the talking tiger best friend of Captain Marvel, and make him into his own newspaper comic strip. They put together six sample strips, which Roy Thomas later reprinted in “Alter Ego.”
Sadly, comic strip tastes had changed by the 1950s and there was no interest in an old-fashioned talking tiger strip, so their hopes were dashed. Binder ended up at National Comics, becoming one of their main “Superman” writers. Beck was out of comics for years, just tending bar in a bar he owned. Beck eventually got back into comics, and even got to draw “Captain Marvel” again when DC Comics licensed the character from Fawcett in the 1970s!
Thanks for the suggestion, Ken!
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at CBR: How did the 1988 Writers’ Strike change the Borg forever?
OK, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is email@example.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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See you all next week!