FORTUNE Shirley “Ley”
Born 1921 and grew up in Salmon Arm B.C.
Her father Robert Fortune and her Colombian mother Stella Prince who was a nurse, met and married in New York City. The family including Shirley’s younger brother moved to Vancouver in 1933. In 1938, Shirley began attending the Vancouver School of Art with acclaimed West Coast artist Jack Shadbolt as instructor. Two years later she graduated and worked as a commercial artist for several employers such as Addressograph-Multigraph Sales Co. and Famous Players Theatre.
In the summer of 1943 she joined Harry Smith’s Maple Leaf Publications. Her first cover illustration appeared on Rocket Comics in the Fall of 1943. She was best known for drawing “Mono The Air Cobra” written by Ted Ross. She also drew “Circus Girl” a mystery adventure. With Ted Ross she began “Caribou Trail”, set in British Columbia’s Caribou country, but this serial was short lived due to the demise of the company. She also assisted with pencils and inks on other stories. She was valuable enough to the company to be one of the last survivors as the company progressively ceased operations.
After the demise of Maple Leaf Comics, Shirley returned to commercial art. We catch glimpses of her: exhibiting a drawing (not a cartoon) in a group art show in the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1946 and working for Uneeda Printers in 1948.
About 1950, she married Allen J. McIntyre a police officer and they had a son. Over the years she endured poor health and her marriage broke up. However, she continued to draw and paint for her own enjoyment. In her sixties she took up correspondence with her former teacher and friend Jack Shadbolt.
She died in 1998 at the age of 77 years.
Better Comics, 6-1, August/September 1945: “Caribou Trail.” Writ., Ted Ross: 2-9.
|Better Comics …: “Circus Girl.” Writ., Hal Kerr: ….|
|3-7, Dec. /Jan.1944/1945: 2-17.
4-8, Feb./March 1945: 2-9.*
5-9, April/May 1945: 2-9*
|5-10, June/July 1945: 2-9
6-1, August/Sept. 1945: 18-23.
*Note volumes 4 & 5 are as shown in Better Comics.
Rocket Comics, 5-4, 1945: “Mono The Air Cobra.” Writ., Ted Ross.
In an email, 2 September 2016 Ken Boesem described Shirley Fortune’s life to Ivan Kocmarek,. This Email was forwarded from Ivan Kocmarek to Robert MacMillan 2 September 2016.