Jack Binder (artist)

This article is about the Golden Age comics creator. For the film and television producer, see Jack Binder.
Jack Binder
Born (1902-08-11)August 11, 1902
Died March 6, 1986(1986-03-06) (aged 83)
Nationality American
Area(s) Cartoonist, Penciller, Inker, Publisher
Pseudonym(s) Max Plaisted
Notable works
Daredevil (Lev Gleason Publications)
Jack Binder Studio

John "Jack" Binder (August 11, 1902 – March 6, 1986)[1] was a Golden Age comics creator and art packager. A fine artist by education, Binder had a prolific comics career that lasted primarily from 1937 to 1953, through his most concentrated work was through 1946. He was the creator of the original comic book Daredevil, for Lev Gleason Publications. One of Binder's younger brothers was comic book writer Otto Binder. Binder is credited with coining the term zero gravity as part of a 1938 article in Thrilling Wonder Stories.


Born in Austria-Hungary, Binder emigrated to America in 1910, where he settled with his parents and five siblings in Chicago.[2]

During the 1930s, Jack Binder wrote and drew the comic Zarnak by Max Plaisted, a Jack Binder pseudonym, which appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories magazine.[3]

Six months after the debut of Thrilling Wonder Stories, its June 1937 issue contained a picture feature by Jack Binder entitled If---!.[4] Binder's earlier training as a fine artist[5] helped him create detailed renderings of space ships, lost cities, future cities, landscapes, indigenous peoples, and even ancient Atlantis. If---!'s pen and ink drawings are hand-lettered and rendered in black and white. These one-to-two page studies presented readers with possible outcomes to early 20th-century scientific quandaries. In the October 1938 issue of the pulp magazine, Binder's article "If Science Reached the Earth's Core" is the first attested use of the phrase "zero gravity".[6][7]

Moving to New York City, Binder worked for three years for the Harry "A" Chesler studio, one of the early comic-book "packagers" that supplied complete comics on demand for publishers entering the new medium. Binder left the Chesler studio in 1940 as the firm's art director.

In the early 1940s Binder drew for Fawcett Comics, Lev Gleason Publications, and Timely Comics; during this period he created the Golden Age character Daredevil (not to be confused with the Marvel character of the same name) for an eight-page backup feature in Lev Gleason Publications' Silver Streak #6 (Sept. 1940), and along with Stan Lee, co-created the Destroyer in Timely's Mystic Comics #6 (Oct. 1941).

Jack Binder Studio

By 1942 Binder had formed his own studio, with over 50 artists, in a Fifth Avenue loft in Manhattan.[8] Later, Binder moved his studio to Englewood, New Jersey, to the upstairs loft of a barn, where it produced material for publishers like Fawcett, Nedor Comics, and Lev Gleason Publications. Features the studio worked on included the Fighting Yank, Mister Scarlet and Pinky, Bulletman, Ibis the Invincible, Captain Battle, the Black Owl, and the adapted pulp magazine features Doc Savage and The Shadow. In addition to running the studio, Binder drew layouts for Fawcett Comics stories which other artists finished for him.

Artists employed by Jack Binder Studios included Ken Bald,[9] Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane,[8] Pete Riss, Kurt Schaffenberger,[10] and Bill Ward. Bald eventually became the studio art director. As Kane recalled, "Binder had a loft on Fifth Avenue and it just looked like an internment camp. There must have been 50 or 60 guys up there, all at drawing tables. You had to account for the paper that you took."[8]

After closing his studio in 1946, Binder continued to work casually in the industry until he fully retired in 1953 and returned to fine and commercial art. He lived in Chestertown, New York, at the time of his death.[1]


  1. 1 2 John Binder at the Social Security Death Index. Archived 2012-03-06 at WebCite from the original on March 6, 2012.
  2. Bridwell, E. Nelson "In Memorium: Otto Oscar Binder," The Amazing World of DC Comics #3 (Nov, 1974), p. 30.
  3. Bleiler, Everett (1998). Science Fiction: The Gernsbeck Years: a Complete Coverage of the Genre. Kent, OH: Kent State University Press. p. 521. ISBN 0873386043.
  4. Nahin, Paul (1999). Time Machines: Time Travel in Physics, Metaphysics, and Science Fiction. New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 261. ISBN 0-387-98571-9.
  5. Hamerlinck, P.C. (2001). Fawcett Campanion: The Best of FCA. Raleigh, NC: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 1-893905-10-1.
  6. "zero-gravity n.". Science Fiction Citations. 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2014-12-18.
  7. Binder, Jack (October 1938). "IF Science Reached the Earth's Core!". Thrilling Wonder Stories. 12 (3): 98–99. Retrieved December 2014. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  8. 1 2 3 "Interview with Gil Kane, Part I". Excerpts from The Comics Journal (186). April 1996. Archived from the original on February 26, 2000.
  9. Steranko, Jim. The Steranko History of Comics 2 (Supergraphics, 1972).
  10. "Jimmy Olsen's Pen-Pals," Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen #155 (Jan. 1973).
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