THE MAJOR’S FIRST BOOKS
His first two books are indicative of the dual paths his professional life would follow—The Modern Cavalry (1922), a classic military-strategy book that is still quoted in military journals today, and The Corral of Death (1929), a western mystery published in hardcover. His writing is visual and immediate, and it is not surprising that he was also interested in the potential of the graphic medium of comic books. He began his publishing career in 1925 with the establishment of Wheeler-Nicholson Inc., a newspaper syndicate.
His initial syndication efforts failed, but he was more than successful with his adventure stories featured in the best of the pulp magazines. The family moved to Paris and lived in a fairy-tale chateau in the countryside in Vic sur Aisnes. The Great Stock Market Crash of 1929 took what fortune they had with it, and the Wheeler-Nicholsons were forced to return to New York. The Major decided that the only way to survive was to follow his creative vision. He returned to syndicating comic strips but quickly realized the potential of newly formatted comic books. He believed that what the American public needed at such a dark time was the comic book, with its simple humor and its archetypal heroes—and, crucially, not just reprints of lowbrow comic strips but innovative and artistic graphic versions of literary classics.