Did you know that the creator behind many of the familiar cartoon superheroes of the 1940s and 1950s came from Saltvik, Åland? Three of his superheroes now appear in an Åland stamp booklet. Paul Gustafson was born in 1916 in Saltvik. Like many other Ålanders of this époque, he emigrated to the USA with his family when he was five. Having studied at Quentin High School and Manhattan’s Cooper Union, Paul spent some years apprenticing under cartoonist Frank Owen, whose wife, Vera, was also born in Åland. At the end of the 1930s, Paul made a name for himself as an independent cartoonist creating many characters, mainly superheroes, for Marvel Comics. Most of Paul’s comics were created between 1938 and 1946, some of them being: The Angel, The Arrow, Black Panter, A-man, Quicksilver, Magno, The Human Bomb, Blackhawk, Jester, Rusty Ryan and Midnight. He later focused on the comic strip Will Bragg. As a cartoonist, he sometimes signed his work Paul Earrol. From 1942 to 1945, Paul took an intermission from drawing to do his World War II military service. At the end of the 1950s, he left his career as a cartoonist to become a land surveyor for New York State. However, he did continue to do comic drawings for the local newspaper in Warwick, New York, where he lived with his family. Paul Gustafson is known to have created a number of different types of super-heroes.
For the stamp booklet, Åland Post has chosen to present The Arrow, The Fantom of the Fair and Alias the Spider. And My Dear Friend Ella sent me these maxi cards with the Super Heroes.