Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Last Hurrah: Charlton's Final days, part four

November 1985, and it's month 3 of the Charlton rebirth.
This month's offerings are back to just 4 titles,again with two of them humor books.

Along the way, Steve Ditko had been putting together some highly detailed and very attractive promo ads. It was clear that he was thrilled to be back at Charlton, where he had complete and total artistic freedom, and was telling the world to not miss the bus this time around.

First up is ATOMIC MOUSE #11, with a cover reprint of Atomic Mouse (1953 series)#25, and interior stories taken from Atomic Mouse #5,20 and Timmy The Timid Ghost #5 (1956 series), among others.

Next up, DR. GRAVES #74, featuring an all new cover by Tom Christopher! Reprints inside are from The Many Ghosts Of Dr Graves #'s 12 and 17, and Ghostly Tales #'s 56 and 58.

Then it's TIMMY THE TIMID GHOST #25, reprinting the cover to Timmy The Timid Ghost #6 (1956 series), with reprint stories from Timmy The Timid Ghost #'s 9 and 12.
   The final title for the month is YANG #16, reprinting the cover and interior of Yang #2.

The real treasures here are the Ditko promo ads, and the exquisite poster he delivered. Sadly, the poster was never distributed, but there may yet be some copies hiding away in some warehouse waiting to be rediscovered!

 STATIC color and b/w promos.

Clever self portrait of Ditko engulfed in a whirlpool of past publishers,characters etc, and basically saying he's coming back to where he began: Charlton.

 The promo poster that was announced, but never released:

And finally a wonderful (and playful) promo telling fandom that Charlton is back, and "the only thing that's missing is YOU"!
A nice treat to see Ditko's humor side, and his renderings of Charlton characters he had not drawn before, such as Atomic Mouse!

Next time, it's month 4 of the Charlton relaunch, and the beginning of the end.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Blue Beetle: Before Charlton

A quick note to let you all know about my newest blog: BLUE BEETLE: B.C.!!

Featuring the golden age adventures of Blue Beetle, "Before Charlton". Stop in and check it out--it's updated daily with a new adventure and there's other cool things coming in future posts as well!
Just click THIS LINK RIGHT HERE to go back to the dawn of comics and read the Beetle's exploits from the very beginning!


Monday, March 24, 2014

The Last Hurrah: Charlton's Final Days, part three

October 1985, month 2 of Charlton's rebirth.

Along with the previous month's 4 titles, eight new titles are released this month. Again, Charlton dives into the reprint pool, save for a brand new offering; CHARLTON ACTION FEATURING STATIC, written and drawn by the returning Steve Ditko.

We will take a closer look at this title, in a separate entry later on.


CAPTAIN WILLIE SCHULTZ #76 is culled from stories originally appearing in Fightin' Army #'s 23,76, and 77, with the cover from #76

CHARLTON ACTION FEATURING STATIC features all new material including the title feature, two complete back-up stories, and 6 "Heads" bottom strips. As mentioned, this will be covered in a later entry.

THE IRON CORPORAL #23 reprints the cover to Army War Heroes #22, with stories from Army War Heroes #'s 22 & 23, and Submarine Attack #12.

LI'L GENIUS #54 reprints the cover and interior from Li'l Genius #22.

PROFESSOR COFFIN #19 reprints the cover and interior of Midnight Tales #1, with the exception of the 1page text piece "An Interview With Wayne Howard", which is omitted here.

PUNCHY AND THE BLACK CROW #10 reprints the cover to Zoo Funnies #2,with stories from Zoo Funnies #1, Timmy The Timid Ghost (1956 series) #5, and more.

TALES OF THE MYSTERIOUS TRAVELER #14 reprints the cover from #11, with stories from #'s 2 & 7. The real bonus here is the ALL NEW 12 page story, "Hero Of Shadowland" by Rich Margopoulos and Fred Carrillo!

The final offering this month is THANE OF BAGARTH #24, reprinting the highly acclaimed back-up feature by Steve Skeates from Hercules #'s 1 & 2. Rounding out the issue are two stories from Ghost Manor (second series) #30, and Out Of This World #11. A brand new cover by Mike DeCarlo adorns this issue as well.

In the next installment we take a look at round two of the first four re-intro titles, as well as several spectacular promotional pieces drawn by Steve Ditko heralding both the return of Charlton, and Ditko's return to his comic roots.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Last Hurrah: Charlton's Final Days, Part Two

After taking a whopping nine months hiatus, Charlton returned to the comics fold in September 1985.
Their re-luanch titles that month consisted of just four books, and once again they turned to mining the well of reprints. Each title sports the tag-line "A CHARLTON CLASSIC!"

An obvious choice was Doctor Graves, perhaps the most visible and recognized of their horror hosts.

Utilizing the cover to THE MANY GHOSTS OF DR. GRAVES #1, is DR. GRAVES #73, albeit in a much different fashion. The rather long text in the original speech balloon has been truncated , and the case files have been removed and replaced with an illustration of a spectre. The coloring, too, has been altered to an almost blindingly bright yellow from the original dark and atmospheric version--perhaps to better catch the passerby's eye when looking at the comic rack. Reprint stories are culled from The Many Ghosts Of Dr. Graves #'s 18,20,and 46.

Funny animals were once again represented by the returning ATOMIC MOUSE, again getting the renumbering treatment with a #10. The cover is a reprint of Atomic Mouse #6 (1953 series), and again the coloring has been altered to a much brighter register. Oddly, although the cover is from #6, the inside stories are from Atomic Mouse #3.

Humor again is represented in the form of TIMMY THE TIMID GHOST #24. The cover is reprinted from Timmy The Timid Ghost (1956 series) #7, and in a turnabout, the original cover is has a brighter, more eye catching color scheme.

The fourth and final title of the relaunch was Warren Sattler drawn kung fu western YANG. Yang was one of their more outstanding efforts of the 1970's with some of the most well written stories and truly some incredible artwork. YANG #15 is reprint of the Yang #1 in it's entirety, and is the standout issue of the relaunching.

A newsletter of sorts called The Charlton Communique accompanies these titles. The news talks of Steve Ditko's return, and his new project STATIC, and new covers for Tales Of The Mysterious Traveler (which sadly never materialized), and new artwork from Chris Browne, Milton Knight, Tom Christopher, Rick Davis and Sam Grainger, Brad Mielke, and Steve Erwin. Unfortunately most of these new projects never got to fly.
Take a minute to read the newsletter below for the full details.

The next month Charlton would be back with a vengeance with the release of EIGHT more titles, which we will discuss in the next installment.

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