The Story of Robin Hood was the first Walt Disney live-action movie to be adapted to a comic strip. This was yet another way in which Disney was able to advertise his new releases and keep the film fresh in the audiences mind. Above is the original Sunday Strip ink drawing, before colorization, by the comic book artist and animator Jesse Mace Marsh.
Jesse was born in Florence, Alabama on July 27th 1907 his father was a small business contractor. From a very young age, Jessie had an interest in art and studied artists he admired in the local library and the museums. He was a self-taught and aspired to be a fine arts painter.
When Jessie was twelve years old his father moved the family to California, where in 1939 his son’s talents were first noticed and used by the Walt Disney Studio. He was involved in creating the studio’s animated classics, such as Pinocchio and Fantasia, but by 1945 he had also joined some fellow Disney artists in freelancing at Western Publishing.
1n 1947 he began drawing his main claim to fame - the Tarzan Comic for Dell (later Gold Key Comics), from the comfort of his new studio at his home. Other strips were created there, including Gene Autry, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett and many more.
But he also remained intermittently working for Disney, which included drawing their Sunday newspaper strip that usually featured the current Disney movie as a tie-in. His first was The Story of Robin Hood which had been released in America a few weeks earlier. He began Robin Hood on July 13th 1952 through until December 28th 1952 and worked alongside the strip writer Frank Reilly.
Jessie remained as a staff artist for Western Publishing, often producing over a 100 pages a month, until 1965 when diabetes was seriously affecting his eye sight. Jessie sadly passed away on April 28, 1966.
I expect many of you will be keen to see more of this comic strip and Mace’s fine quality art work. So stay tuned!