Happy 100th Birthday, C.C. Beck!
Born in 1910 in Zumbrota, Minnesota, Charles Clarence “C.C.” Beck started learning art via correspondence course before studying at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Minnesota. Fawcett Publications hired him as a staff artist in 1933.
Initially Beck worked on pulp magazines, but when Fawcett started producing comic books in 1939 Beck was assigned to draw Whiz Comics, starring a character called Captain Thunder. The character’s name was changed before the first issue ever came out—to Captain Marvel.
Beck drew not only Whiz Comics but Spy Smasher and Ibis the Invincible, and in 1941 he set up his own studio in New York City—he later added a second location in Englewood, NJ, and oversaw artwork for most of the Marvel Family line while also producing commercial art. Fawcett discontinued its comic book line in the early 1950s and Beck was forced to close his studios in 1954.
After that he only worked on comics occasionally, though he did illustrate the first ten issues of DC’s Shazam! series (continuing Captain Marvel, whom DC had purchased from Fawcett). Beck retired in the 70s and moved to Florida, where he wrote an opinion column, “The Crusty Curmudgeon,” for The Comics Journal. He died in 1989.
Beck was inducted into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997.