The famous talking tiger in the center ring…
By WALT GROGAN
Otto O. Binder was born Aug. 26, 1911 — 112 years ago — in Bessemer, Michigan, not far from the shores of Lake Superior, and is highly regarded as the most prolific writer of Captain Marvel stories in the Golden Age of Comics at Fawcett Publications. Binder’s mind co-created a wealth of characters and concepts at the home of the World’s Mightiest Mortal: Mary Marvel, Uncle Marvel, Mr. Mind, Black Adam, Ibac, King Kull, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky The Whiz Kid, Oggar, and Sabbac to name a few.
After Fawcett winded down their comics division, Binder moved over to DC Comics where he co-created Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Bizarro, Brainiac, Krypto and Titano, as well as adding immensely to Superman’s Kryptonian lore.
Perhaps one of his best known creations at Fawcett was the character of Mr. Tawky Tawny. Tawny appeared in 26 stories in the latter run of Captain Marvel Adventures. The talking tiger was Binder’s stand-in for everyman (and perhaps himself) and it was through Tawny that Binder could address the ills of society and humanity, much like the great science fiction stories, by flying under the radar. And Captain Marvel was always nearby to help his friend who often got in trouble.
So to celebrate Otto’s birthday, here’s a gallery of covers and splash pages from Binder’s Tawny adventures — or 13 REASONS TO LOVE TAWKY TAWNY:
— DC’s 1984 CAPTAIN THUNDER: Dig the Great CAPTAIN MARVEL Who Never Was. Click here.
— 13 MIGHTY MOMENTS in the 50-Year History of SHAZAM! at DC Comics. Click here.
A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at shazamshistorama.com.