Tuesday, April 01, 2014


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Marvin Bradley

Marvin Poole “Brad” Bradley was born in Streator, Illinois on January 16, 1913, according to Who’s Who in the Midwest (1960). The 1910 U.S. Federal Census said his parents were Edwin and Edith (Poole). Edwin's World War II draft card said he was a salesman for the Johnson Refining Oil Company. He passed away October 3, 1918.

The 1920 census recorded Bradley in Bruce, Illinois, where his maternal grandfather, Charles Poole, a fruit farmer, was head of the household. Bradley was the second of three brothers. Their mother was a nurse. Who’s Who said he was a scholarship student at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts, from 1929 to 1930.

In the 1930 census, he lived in Chicago at 8753 Honore Street. His mother had remarried to Roderic Wyse, and his maternal grandmother, Alma, was head of the household. 

According to Who’s Who, Bradley attended the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Art School, from 1931 to 1932, then the John Herron Art School, in Indianapolis, from 1933 to 1934. He was a portrait artist for the next four years. In 1938 he collaborated with Edwin Balmer and Philip Wylie on Speed Spaulding until 1940. He divided his time between Ramblin' Bill and Mary Worth.

The final Ramblin’ Bill, 8/28/1943

The 1940 census recorded him in Chicago at 210 East Erie Street; he was a syndicated cartoonist. Who’s Who said he married Dorothy M. Jones on February 21, 1942. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010, at Ancestry.com, said he enlisted September 9, 1942. Editor & Publisher, February 8, 1986, said he was a World War II Air Force pilot. One of his portrait drawings, while stationed in China, is here.

Perhaps his most enduring work was on the strip, Rex Morgan, M.D., which began May 10, 1948. Bradley retired from the strip in 1984. The writer, Dr. Nick Dallis was profiled in Popular Science, September 1956. The profile said Allen Saunders (Mary Worth and Steve Roper) introduced Dallis to Publishers Syndicate, Bradley and artist Frank Edgington.

Bradley passed away January 10, 1986 at his home in Tower Lake Estates near Barrington, Illinois, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, January 12. Editor & Publisher said the cause was lung cancer. The U.S. Public Records Index, at Ancestry.com, has two Illinois addresses for him: 2 Berkshire Court, South Barrington, and 233 West Lake Shore Drive, Tower Lakes.

—Alex Jay


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