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Gill was born in 1919. His earliest known work in comics was for Timely (now Marvel) in the early forties and he was among the many writers who wrote Captain America after the departure of Simon and Kirby. In the late forties when the company switched over to teen comics and westerns, he was one of their busiest writers but he eventually fell into disfavor with the editor there, Stan Lee, and work began to become sporadic. By the early fifties, he was doing most of his writing for a company called Funnies, Inc., which supplied publishers with stories and artwork.
One of those publishers was John Santangelo of Charlton Comics. The comic book business was entering a rocky period with many companies going under and Santangelo decided he wanted to build a stable of writers and artists who’d work primarily in the firm’s plant in Derby, Connecticut. For many, this meant relocating to that area but the deal included a certain stability along with very low rates. Someone once described the terms as “We’ll pay you a third of what the other houses pay but we’ll give you three times as much work.” Santangelo was familiar with Gill’s work (and legendary speed) via Funnies, Inc., and offered Joe a contract. Joe accepted and for the next three decades — until Charlton shut its doors — he was their star scripter, producing thousands of scripts for every kind of comic they published. In a business where some writers were pressed to write a book a week, Gill often produced a finished manuscript in a day.