Mark McCarron on Owen McCarron

Hello, I thought I would throw some more details your way, regarding Owen McCarron, Marvel’s “Puzzlemaster”.

Starting as an Advertising Director at the Halifax Herald, Owen transitioned to War and Romance at Charlton Comics. From there, his friend, Marvel Editor Stan Lee, hired him to craft character-oriented puzzles in comics, books and newspapers. These included Marvel Fun Books, Marvel Mazes, Activity books, Ghost Rider, and a host of Spider-Man titles. This working relationship meant that Owen could call the Marvel Bullpen in New York, and ask them to send him much of their unused original art (instead of throwing it in the wastebasket, as they were doing previously!).

Appreciating the rising stock value of Marvel artists and writers, McCarron compiled a broad selection of original art and storytelling information, years before the first comic book convention in 1964.

McCarron drew an alternate cover for an early Amazing Spider-Man issue which wasn’t printed, but featured a cluster of villains centered around a back alley. He later acquired a great alternate cover of Amazing Spider-Man #10 (The Enforcers!), which was also unprinted, drawn by Steve Ditko. These alternate Spider-Man covers remain with the family to this day. As Owen said, “I’ve been offered tens of thousands of dollars for it… but I didn’t need the money.”

He must’ve played his cards right, becoming one of Canada’s more successful self-publishers of comics, producing books which taught kids how to avoid various catastrophes!

In the vintage family photograph below, we see Douglas McCarron (Sidney Crosby’s great-grandfather) with Owen McCarron (although Sidney’s grandmother is not shown). In the other vintage photo, we see Owen at his drafting table. This was included with the biography in the book, “Invaders From The North: How Canada Conquered the Comic Strip” by Author John Bell.

One of Owen’s last projects was an illustrated poem regarding the traumatic events of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, which killed 2,000 people, and injured 9,000 more.

– Mark

 

 

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