One single raindrop on the ocean quickly becomes diffused within the overwhelming volume of saltwater upon which if falls. Such is the fate of countless comic book collections discovered and sold onto the vast collector market. Found and subsequently dispersed among voracious collectors, scattered here and there merging into a new generation of owners. Unless distinguished by unique markings or coming from a certified pedigree the origins of most comics are largely forgotten. Previous owners, in effect, dust in the wind. 

Thankfully some comics sales retained a few notations. In this case some sales from more than a decade ago via Metropolis Comics were designated as an “Artist File Copy.” Upon further investigation, the artist these originally belonged to was Fred Schwab who passed away without fanfare at age 82 (May 13, 2000) residing at 411 East 53 Street, Manhattan, New York City.

Truth be known, Fred Schwab was a retired graphic illustrator for the New York Times and freelance cartoonist who participated discreetly in some of the most important comics ever published (not to mention serving in World War II as a photojournalist.)

Police Comics #101 Fred Schwab File Copy

Born in New York City (August 25, 1917) and educated at the Art Students League (West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City) Fred Schwab worked in the first art studios to literally create the comic book industry (Chesler 1936-38 and Eisner-Iger 1939-40). Works there included pencils and inks in Star Comics and Funny Picture Stories (Centaur), Adventure Comics, Action Comics and More Fun Comics (DC) and Mystery Men Comics (Fox). Most notably, he wrote, drew and scripted the “Now I’ll Tell One” cartoon on the very first page of Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939) – the birthplace of today’s Marvel Cinematic Universe. Schwab also ghosted some 1946-1950 Lady Luck stories for Klaus Nordling in Eisner’s comic book insert The Spirit Section.

Given these Police Comics books from his collection were published by Quality without any direct relationship to his own artwork (but with Will Eisner connections) he clearly collected issues he didn’t overtly participate in creating. I don’t know specially how he acquired them, nor what family member brought them to market, nor how many were sold. It would make for an interesting bit of detective work. Regardless, for 55 years these two comics were stored at 411 East 53 Street and were enjoyed by an artist who helped establish the Golden Age of comics.