Lin Streeter’s co-creator of Kalthar was a writer named Harry Shorten.  A former professional football player, Shorten would get his start writing and then editing in the pulp magazines of the late thirties before moving on to become managing editor of MLJ comics.  Shorten created a patriotic character called “The Shield” with artist Irv Norvick (who we’ll meet later), 13 months before Simon/Kirby created Captain America.  The Shield would be the headliner of Pep Comics until being squeezed out in the March 1944 issue by none other than comic book mainstay Archie!  The publisher of MLJ, John Goldwater wanted a character who would appeal to fans of Micky Rooney, the biggest name in cinema at the time.  You have to hand it to Goldwater, who wrote the early Archie Comics… he created a classic!

MLJ would eventually become Archie Comics as the eponymous hero took over as the flagship when the popularity of the superheroes waned after WWII.  Did Shorten feel snubbed?  We may never know. In any case he rebounded quickly.  Shorten had a hit of his own on his hands with a syndicated gag strip called There Ought to be a Law with artist Al Fagaly.  Beginning in 1944, Shorten would provide scripts for the cartoon for the next 25 years.  The strips have something of a “MAD Magazine vibe.  Here are a few for your perusal:

The last one is clearly a Shorten/Fagaly joint.  You’ll also notice the signature shout out to the good citizens who contributed ideas to the team.

Shorten would continue as a book publisher and editor into the 60s, but would have one more go at comics, this time working as the managing editor of Tower Comics with Wally Wood, one of the most popular and talented artists of his era.  Shorten was determined to give Wood wide creative freedom, but the work load proved too overwhelming for Wood’s pace.  He was no 15 pages a day Jack Kirby, I guess!  In any case, Tower wound up employing some other great artists like Gil Kane and Steve Ditko.  Like its star artist, Tower Comics was ill fated.  It shut down in 1969.  Wally Wood, sick and disgruntled, killed himself in 81.

Shorten would round out his career as editor of one of those soap opera digest magazines.  Probably a smoker, he died at 76.

This is the last page of the first 6 page Kalthar story from Shorten edited Zip Comics #1.  Next week…things get interesting…the plot thickens!  Well, not the plot of Kalthar, exactly…oh well, you’ll see…..