Thursday, May 23, 2013

Before the Golden Age-Eando Binder

Eando Binder
Pseudonym of
Earl Andrew Binder
Author, Agent
Born October 4, 1904, Harkaw, Austria-Hungary
Died October 13, 1966, Cook County, Illinois
and
Otto Oscar Binder
Chemist, Author, Editor, Comic Book Script Writer
Born August 26, 1911, Bessemer, Michigan
Died October 14, 1974, Chestertown, New York

Brothers Earl Andrew Binder and Otto Oscar Binder wrote under the pen name Eando Binder. Otto, the more active and prolific of the two, kept the name even after Earl became inactive after the mid-1930s. Otto Binder used a number of pseudonyms in addition to the name Eando Binder. Earl acted as his agent. Their last name by the way was pronounced to rhyme with "cinder."

Earl A. Binder, the older of the two, was born in 1904 in Austria-Hungary, supposedly in a city called Harkaw. The spelling of that word may or may not be correct. The Binder family emigrated to the United States in 1910 according to one source. Otto Binder was born the following year in Bessemer, Michigan, a small city in the iron country of the Upper Peninsula. The Binders' father, Michael Binder, was a blacksmith. That may explain the family's residence in Bessemer. By 1930, they were in Chicago. Both boys were at home, Earl working in a machine shop and Otto as a chemist. Two years later, the pair published their first science fiction story, "The First Martian," in Amazing Stories in the month of Earl's birthday, October 1932.

Otto Binder was a prolific writer in a wide range of fields, including science fiction, science fact, flying saucers, comic books, and comic strips. The Adam Link series was his. Isaac Asimov acknowledged a debt to Binder in his own series about robots. Binder began writing for comic books in 1939, including scripts for Captain Marvel, Superman, Captain America, and Blackhawk. Binder co-created Mary Marvel and many other characters and situations in the Captain Marvel universe and the Superman universe. He also scripted the comic strip Our Ever Changing World (later Our Space Age), drawn by Murphy Anderson and Carl Pfeufer between 1960 and 1969. Binder wrote what must have been one of the first novels to come out of the Marvel Comics explosion of the 1960s. The Avengers Battle the Earth-Wrecker (1967) is an exciting novel that perfectly captures the flavor of the comic book. A third Binder brother, Jack Binder (1902-1986), drew comic book stories as well as illustrations for Weird Tales magazine. His story will have to wait for another time.

Earl and Otto Binder died at a relatively young age, both in October, Earl in 1966 at age sixty-two (nine days after his birthday), Otto in 1974 at age sixty-three.

For Weird Tales
"Shadows of Blood" (Apr. 1935, reprinted Jan. 1954)
"In a Graveyard" (Oct. 1935)
"The Crystal Curse" (Mar. 1936)
"The Elixir of Death" (Mar. 1937)
"From the Beginning" (June 1936)
"Giants of Anarchy" (June/July 1939)

A gallery of Otto Binder book covers: Adam Link-Robot (1965) with cover art by Jack Gaughan.
The same book in a reprint in 1968, artist unknown.
Anton York, Immortal (1965), artist unknown.
Menace of the Saucers, date unknown, but the groovy getup indicates the 1970s. The resemblance of the spaceships to the Millennium Falcon and a Cylon Raider suggests that it's from about 1977-1978. Cover art by  Atilla Hejja (1955-2007).
Finally, The Avengers Battle the Earth-Wrecker (1967), cover artist unknown.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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