John Francis Mahon was born October 28, 1897 in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania. His father, Thomas Mahon, was born 1863 in Connecticut of Irish ancestry. His mother, Alice Mahon, was born 1865 in Pennsylvania. His parents married in 1884 and had five children, of which he was the youngest, Helen (b.1885), Nora (b.1888), Mary (b.1890), William (b.1893), and John (b.1897). His father was a Railroad Brakeman. The family lived in New Haven, Connecticut, at 186 Rosette Street. During each of his mother's pregnancies she returned to the comfort of her mother's home in Pennsylvania, where each child was born, although they were all raised in Connecticut.
By 1910 the family lived at 131 Kimberly Avenue in New Haven.
In June of 1915 at the age of seventeen he graduated from New Haven High School.
He worked as a clerk in the office of the Winchester Repeating Arms Company at 275 Winchester Avenue, whose factory was one of the area's largest employers.
On March 5, 1917 he was interviewed by the Connecticut National Guard and recorded to be nineteen, five-ten, 152 pounds, single, able to ride a horse, handle a team, and drive a motorcycle.
On September 12, 1918 he reported for draft registration during the Great War. He was recorded at the time to be tall, medium build, with brown eyes and brown hair. He was not selected for military service.
By 1920 his older sister Helen married George G. Brown, who worked as a Photo Engraver at a Printing Company.
On April 16, 1925 his mother Alice Mahon died at the age of sixty in New Haven.
By 1930 the family had moved to 2340 University Avenue in the Bronx, New York, where his brother-in-law, George G. Brown, worked as a Photo Engraver. John F. Mahon worked as a Salesman of Bread. His sister worked as a clerk at the Telephone Company. His widowed father was retired.
On December 27, 1932 John F. Mahon married Katherine Grace O'Connell in NYC Civil Court. She was born on April 2, 1901 in New York City. Her father, James Joseph O'Connell, was born in Ireland in 1862. Her mother, Louisa Teresa Forster, was born in 1864 in Ireland. Her parents married in 1886 and had ten children, of which she was the fifth born. The family lived at 424 West 43rd Street. Her father was a Tax Commissioner in the New York City Government.
The married couple moved to 407 West 40th Street, where they had six children, Catherine (b.1933), Thomas (b.1934), twins James & John (b.1937), Francis (b.1939), and Louisa (b.1940).
In 1935 John F. Mahon worked as Business Manager for Major Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson (1890-1968), who produced some of the earliest American comic books of original material, such as New Comics and New Fun. The artists who drew these comics included Henry C. Kiefer, Cole Brigham, Lyman Anderson, Ray Wardell, Joe Archibald, V. E. Pyles, and Clem Gretter. The company, National Allied Publications, was located at 49 West 45th Street.
In 1936 John F. Mahon joined a business partnership with the Associate Editor, William H. Cook (1888-1964) and left National Allied to form Comics Magazine Company, located at 11 West 42nd Street. Cook & Mahon produced The Comics Magazine (Funny Pages), Detective Picture Stories, Western Picture Stories and Funny Picture Stories. Their artists included Raymond A. Burley, William Merle Allison, J. M. Wilcox, Jim Chambers, Robert Robison, and Worth Carnahan. The indicia of their first comic dated May 1936 listed William J. Delaney as their Advertising Manager.
William J. Delaney (1892-1986) was a powerful figure in the advertising industry. He operated the Newstand Fiction Group with offices in the impressive Greybar Building at 420 Lexington Avenue. That same month Delaney was also listed in National Allied's More Fun #9 as Advertising Manager. That same year Delaney negotiated the takeover of Weird Tales and Short Stories Magazine, which had published stories written by both William H. Cook and Malcolm Wheeler-Nicholson.
The earliest publications of the Comics Magazine Company included advertisements for Hugo Gernsback publications as well as advertisements for pulp magazines published by the Double Action Group. These advertisements indicate a business connection between this group of publishers at this time.
The second issue of The Comics Magazine was dated June 1936 and featured on page 39 a Swappers' Mart of letters from readers offering to trade useful things. One such letter was from "Thomas Mahon" who wrote, "What will you trade for a pair of Winslow roller skates and six-foot skis? Can use chemistry outfit, baseball stuff or musical instruments. Thomas Mahon, 2226 Loring Place, New York, N.Y." This Bronx address was the home of John F. Mahon, whose son, Thomas Mahon, at that time was two years old and not likely to own a used pair of "six foot skis."
Eleven months later in June of 1937 the four comic book titles associated with Cook & Mahon listed the publishers as Ultem Publishing Company and C & A Publishing Company. Ultem was owned by Isaac W. Ullman (1873-1947)and Frank Z. Temerson (1890-1963). C & A was owned by Samuel J. Campbell (1892-1981) and Warren A. Angel. Campbell and Angel also owned Kable News Distribution Company, the Kable Brothers Printing Company of Mt. Morris, Illinois, and Ace Magazines. At the same time this impressive consortium of publisher, distributor and advertising representatives also took over Star Comics and Star Ranger Comics, which had been produced by Harry A. Chelser (1897-1981). Ultem and C & A published these six comics for another seven months until February of 1938, after which time all six titles were produced by Centaur Comics.
In April 1939 the Lloyd Jacquet Studio or 49 West 45th Street produced Motion Picture Funnies Weekly as a novelty promotional comic book offered for free at affiliated movie theaters. The back cover of the first issue listed the Business manager as "Mr. Mahon."
The 1940 U.S. Census lists John F. Mahon as a "Self-Employed Magazine Publisher" with offices at 2 West 46th Street.
August 1941 was the cover date of the premiere issue of Spitfire Comics, which listed the publisher as "John F. Mahon" with offices at 2 West 46th Street. The cover is by Malcolm Kildale. This unique comic contained prominent advertisements for Champ Comics and Pocket Comics, both of which were published at that time by the Harvey Comics Company, which was owned by Alfred Harvey Wiernikoff (1913-1994).
After 1941 the name "John F. Mahon" no longer appeared on comics or pulp magazines, although he most likely continued to work for popular culture publications handled by William J. Delaney's Newstand Fiction Group.
In 1942 during WWII John F. Mahon did not serve in the military, at which time he was forty-two, married and the father of six.
After WWII the Mahon family left NYC and moved back to his old hometown region of New Haven, CT.
On December 8, 1959 his wife died at the age of fifty-eight in West Haven, CT.
John F. Mahon died at the age of sixty-nine in a hospital in Shelton, CT, on October 3, 1967.
© David Saunders 2014