Paul Becton –Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear…

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BL Becton 080716Paul Becton was the on-staff colorist for the comic end of Marvel. He came on staff not too long after me, some time in 79 (I think). I’m not sure of the exact title, but he made corrections to existing color guides. This may not be the place to explain the Byzantine coloring system comics used in the pre-Photoshop days, but Paul was a master of it. Speaking of ‘Byzantine’ he also put together the “folded and gathereds” better known as F&Gs or “make readies.” This was an uncut, hot off the presses, version of a comic book. To set up the printing press in order to print a comic, an arrangment of pages had to be put together so that when all folded up, wrapped in a cover and stapled together, it all made sense. Instead of a gigantic machine to do all that automatically, we had Paul! If you ever were to see a bunch of these things, there would be no apparent order. Four pages to a sheet– on both sides! the first page next to the last page, pages from all over the book upside-down, etc. Paul made folding those up so that we could read them look easy. Tedious, but easy!

Paul, like every other Bullpenner, took freelance. Paul was often given whole books to color during his job, so for him to take on coloring after hours could be tough. Which doesn’t mean he said ‘no!’

If you are lucky, you will get to hear Paul’s voice before you actually meet him. Not that meeting him is bad! But his basso profundo is the modern day, living embodiment of Mr. Paul Robeson. I invite anyone not familiar with the remarkable Paul Robeson to do an online search and find any song or speech Mr. Robeson made. The voice you hear will be a startling match to Paul Becton’s…

When you get to know Paul a bit better you will find a man committed to the world of radio performances. “Old” radio. At various old radio show conventions, I believe Paul lent his voice talents at recreating shows. That would be a treat. I am sure the con organizers realized it was their lucky day when Paul showed up and volunteered. His real passion were Western serials such as those produced by Republic. At any time you can find a meticulous, tight drawing of a Western subject. Often a cowboy on horseback. Since I always hated drawing horses, seeing him so effortlessly knock these out always filled me with envy. Yes, Paul was, like most Marvel staffers, a person of several talents.

I was visiting the Marvel offices one year and was delighted to see him finishing up a neat rendering of The Shadow (a fairly famous old radio series). I was able to wrest it from him and have it ready to be framed when the wife finishes with “my” wall for “my” stuff…

This picture of Paul is one of my favorites of anyone I’ve caught. One reason is he pulls off “looming menace” very well! He is 6′-4-5″ after all. What I like about it is that this image is in stark contrast to the actual gentle and quiet man I worked with all those years!

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