Charles Maxwell Plaisted was born on May 11, 1902 in Penn Yan, NY. His father was Charles A. Plaisted, a thirty-year-old wine maker from New York State. His mother was Ada C. Maxwell, a twenty-seven-year-old kindergarten teacher from Pennsylvania. They married in 1896. They had only one child. They lived at 308 Main Street in Penn Yan, NY.
Age the age of seven his family moved to Corning, NY, where his father found work as a book-keeper in a local foundry. They lived at 44 Second Street.
In 1917, at age fifteen, his family moved to Wellsborough, Pennsylvania. They lived at 60 East Avenue. His father was a book-keeper at the Commissioner's Office.
During the Great War he was a high school student, so he did not serve.
After graduating from Wellsborough High School in 1919 he attended the University of Pennsylvania and graduated in the Class of 1923. He majored in journalism, and he was the art editor of the student publication, The Penn Punch Bowl.
After college he moved to New York City and continued his art studies in night school classes at the Art Students League.
By 1927 he was working as an artist at the Thayer & Barreaux advertising company, which was co-owned by two artists, Raymond Thayer and Adolphe Barreaux.
On June 11, 1929 Max Plaisted married Virginia Turner. They moved to Utica, NY, and lived at 2657 Dunham Road, where the monthly rent was $75. They had two children Jane Plaisted (b.1931) and Polly Plaisted (b.1935). He traveled by commuter train to work in NYC.
By 1935 Adolphe Barreaux had formed his own advertising agency, Majestic Studio, and was contracted to produce most of the interior story illustrations for Harry Donenfeld's spicy line of pulp magazines. Some of the other artists who worked at Majestic were Paul H. Stone, Jay McArdle, Henry Kiemle, Henry Kiefer, and Joseph Szokoli.
He drew illustrations for Spicy Mystery, Spicy Detective, Spicy Adventure, Spicy Western, Private Detective, and Hollywood Detective. He rarely signed his work for the spicy pulps, but he received a credit line for Diane Daw, a comic strip that regularly appeared in Spicy Adventure Stories. He also created the sci-fi adventure comic Zarnak, which appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories.
When Donenfeld's publishing empire grew rich from the phenomenal success of Superman Comics, Majestic Studios contributed their talent to this popular trend. He was credited as the creator of Ace Buckley for Startling Comics, Space Rovers for Exciting Comics and American Crusader, who appeared in Thrilling Comics.
After the war he returned to his home town, Penn Yan, NY, where he taught art at Keuka College. He lived on West Lake Road.
In 1951 he continued to teach art classes at Keuka College, but he also became the school's Director of Public Relations.
Max Plaisted died in Watkins Glen, NY, at the age of fifty-four on July 1, 1956.
After his death Keuka College named the C. Maxwell Plaisted Annual Award for Excellence in Journalism in his honor.
© David Saunders 2009