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1936-08 Thrilling Wonder
1940-02 Thrilling Wonder
1937-04 Astounding Stories
1940-03 Super Science
1937-04 Astounding Stories
1940-04 Thrilling Wonder
1939-02 Thrilling Wonder
1943-04 Doc Savage Comic
1939-04 Dynamic Science
1946-04 Mary Marvel
1940-02 Astonishing
1959 Jolly Roger Pirate



















Jack Binder was born Yanos "John" Renolfe Binder on August 11, 1902 in Harka, Hungary. At that time Harka was in the central region of the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary. The town is sixty miles south of Vienna in the Sopron region of northwest Hungary. His father, Mihaly "Michael" Binder, was born in 1868 in Harka. His mother, Marie Payer, was born in 1872. His parents married in 1899 and their first five children were Marie Mitzi (b.1900), Terez "Theresa" (b.1901), Yanos "John" (b.1902), Earl Andras "Andrew" (b.1904), and Mihaly "Michael" (b.1905). The father was a masterfully skilled blacksmith. The family language was German and they were Lutherans.

In 1906 the father moved to the United States. He arrived in New York City on November 11 and traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he settled in the town of Bessemer and worked as a blacksmith. He made plowshares that were highly tempered and polished.

In 1910 the rest of his family came to join him. They sailed on the steam ship La Bretagne and arrived in New York City on July 11. They traveled by train to Bessemer, Michigan, where the fifth child, Otto, was born one year later on August 26, 1911.

The children attended public school in Michigan. As in most American families at that time, each child entered the work force after having completed the eighth grade.

In 1918 the family moved to Randolph, Nebraska, where the father worked as a blacksmith with his three teenage sons as assistants, John, Earl, and Michael.

John enjoyed working with his hands, but he wanted to be an artist. He saved the heavy brown wrapping paper from the butcher shop to use as drawing paper for sketching portraits of family members.

In 1922 the Binders moved to Chicago and lived at 3648 North Luna Avenue. The father worked as a blacksmith at a tool factory. John worked as an engraver at the William Freund & Sons Printing Company, where he became Head Printer. Earl worked as a pattern maker in a machine shop. Michael became a salesmen for a grocery distributor, while Otto worked as a chemist at a Chemical Company.

In 1925 John Binder began three years of study at the Art Institute of Chicago. At the same time he produced freelance illustrations in his spare time for magazines, advertisements and the interior decoration industry.

In 1927 he married Olga Marie Kouba. She was born May 11, 1905 in Chicago of Bohemian ancestry. Her father was Jacob Albert Kouba and her mother was Emma Havlichek. The newlyweds lived with the bride's parents at 1820 North Kedzie Avenue in Chicago. One year later, his brother, Michael Binder, married his wife's sister, Harriet Kouba, and moved to 1756 North Sawyer Avenue in Chicago.

On April 15, 1928 John and Olga Binder's first child was born, Jacqueline. To support his growing family he took a job with a steady salary as a milkman at the Pioneer Dairy, which was owned by his wife's family, the Koubas.

In 1930 his brothers Earl and Otto began to write science fiction stories for pulp magazines under the combined pen name "Eando Binder" ("E-and-O" Binder).

In 1932 John and Olga's second child was born, Edward, and four years later their third child, Ronald, was born.

In 1934 John Binder began to work in the art department of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.

On September 14, 1937 his father died at the age of sixty-seven, and was buried at Irving Park Cemetery in Chicago.

After the funeral John Binder moved to New York City, where he began to sell illustrations to pulp magazines. His work eventually appeared in Astonishing, Astounding Stories, Super Science Stories, Dynamic Science Stories, and Thrilling Wonder. He signed his work with his preferred name "Jack" Binder.

The June 1939 issue of Thrilling Wonder included a biographical feature called, "Meet Our Science Fiction Family," which included a profile on "Jack" Binder.

According to the artist,"the first thirty-five years of my life include the following occupations - lumberjack, miner, blacksmith, boxer and wrestler, scoutmaster, printer, milkman, engraver. Casting aside all these opportunities for a brilliant future, I studied art at the Art Institute of Chicago for three years, followed by two years of art research at the Field Museum of Natural History. Since I've been in New York, my work has centered on moderns, oil marines, and magazine illustrating. Happily married and have three children. No particular hobby except resting. I find science fiction illustrating the most exacting of art work - but the most fun. Yes, I'm one of the famous Binder trio - the others being Earl and Otto."

Besides illustrating pulp magazines he also drew for comic books. He joined the Chesler comic shop, where he was hired as Art Director.

In 1940 John "Jack" Binder started his own comic shop in a rented studio space at 163 West 23rd Street, where his neighbors included John Newton Howitt, Walter Baumhofer, Jerome Rozen and his twin-brother George Rozen. The first artist he hired was Bill Ward (1919-1998).

In 1940 Jack Binder created Daredevil for Lev Gleason Publications.

In 1941 the Binders' fourth child, John, was born and one year later their fifth and last child, Bonnie, was born.

In 1942 during WWII he was forty years old with a wife and family, so he did not serve in the military.

In 1942 he formed the independent Binder Comic Studio, which supplied comics to publishers, such as Fawcett, Marvel, and Street & Smith. According to one of his artists, "Binder had a loft on Fifth Avenue and it just looked like an internment camp. There must have been fifty or sixty guys up there, all at drawing tables." In 1942 he moved the business to a carriage house barn near his new home in Englewood, New Jersey, where he and Olga had a fourth and fifth child, John and Bonnie. His brothers Earl and Otto also lived in Englewood.

In 1943 he began to draw Mary Marvel from scripts written by his brother Otto for Fawcett Comics.

In 1947 the Binder family left Englewood and moved to Warrensburg, New York, where they lived on a sixty-two acre farm on Schroon River Road.

He continued to work in comic books until 1953, by which time Fawcett ceased its line of comic books, while the industry was devastated by political demagoguery, self-censorship, and lost popularity. The artist soon found a new source of income from the advertising industry.

In 1958 he began to produce large sculptural figures for outdoor advertising, shop windows, and costumed figures for display in historic sites. He made a swashbuckling pirate for the Jolly Roger Restaurant, a bronco-busting cowboy for Story Town, a Viking for Nordic Village Resort in Bolton Landing, the Blue Boy for a motel in Lake George, as well as dinosaurs, jungle monsters and fabled characters from children's books. His biggest commission was an over-life-sized recreation of an historic struggle between an Algonquin Indian and a French soldier, which was installed at the Fort William Henry Museum in Lake George.

In 1960 he began to teach art in the Bolton and Horicon Central Schools. He worked there for five years.

His brother Otto Binder had become a successful writer. Among his most famous books are "Adam Link, Robot" "Lords of Creation," and "What We Really Know About Flying Saucers." Earl Binder had given up writing to become Otto's literary agent.

In 1965 Earl died at the age of sixty-two in Chicago.

In 1965 "Jack" Binder and Olga moved twelve miles north to Chestertown, NY. He eventually retired from illustration and enjoyed fine art interests, such as painting family portraits and landscapes of the Adirondacks. Although he was no longer drawing on recycled butcher paper, his artistic activities in retirement were curiously similar to his childhood dreams of being an artist in Bessemer, Michigan.

In 1969 Otto Binder and his wife, Ione, sold their home in Englewood and moved to Chestertown, NY, where they could live closer to "Jack" and Olga.

In August of 1974 his brother Michael Binder died at the age of sixty-nine in California.

On October, 13, 1974 Otto Binder died at the age of sixty-three in Chestertown.

Four months later on February 8, 1975 his wife Olga died at the age of seventy.

In his final years "Jack" Binder was rediscovered by fans, artists, and historians. He was honored with awards, publications, and exhibitions of his life's work at several museums.

According to the artist, "I'm just a commercial artist. If I'm versatile, it's because in this racket you've got to be versatile. But being a good technician is always important. The most important thing is drawing with eye-mind-hand coordination. Artists should give everything they've got to their work. You don't stop at good enough. You keep on going until it's the best you can do. I still feel I have so much to learn."

John "Jack" Binder died at the age of eighty-four on March 6, 1986 in Chestertown, NY.

                                 © David Saunders 2013

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