Wednesday, July 9, 2014

FIGHTIN' FIVE #40 , August 1966

Fightin' Five were basically Charlton's version of the Blackhawks, although with better character developement, and way sexier (in the form of sultry female member Lady Dawn).
This issue, #40, is particularly rife with skin, of both genders, to ogle at.
Lady Dawn is spectacularly rendered by the exquisite linework of Bill Montes and Ernie Bach. And of course, Joe Gill goes all out in his story. FF apparently being more than just another script assignment, Gill seemed to really relish writing these adventures.
This issue also debuts Pat Boyette's Peacemaker, a character that proved to be so popular so quickly that after just one more issue, FF would be cancelled and relegated to back-up status on Peacemaker's own title.

Cover by Montes and Mastroserio, interiors by Montes and Bach, and Boyette.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

THE CHARLTON ARROW #2 : out now!

The second issue of THE CHARLTON ARROW is out and shipping now, and dare I say we've even outdone our our debut ish? Perhaps!
A little background on the Arrow for those that don't know: a little over a year ago, frustrated with the total lack of Charlton pages on Facebook, I took it upon myself to create a group on FB where fans of Charlton could gather and discuss our love of the long defunct comics company. Little did I know that not just the readers but the pros, including many Charlton alumni, would be joining up as well, to talk of their own memories of Charlton, and to engage in friendly discourse.
It seemed inevitable, then, that some sort of zine or comic would spring forth as a way to further celebrate our beloved long-gone comics company. Not just a tribute, but a sort of revamp and revival, with some classic reprints, and all new stories.
The outpouring of seasoned vets and newcomers alike to be a part of this has been astounding, and all contributing pro bono, for the sheer love of Charlton. And the results have been spectacular. In Fact, in the months to come we are expanding to no less than FIVE titles (of which you can be assured I will keep you in loop about, friends!).
The first issue was a great success and is already on it's second printing. This second issue promises to be no less amazing.
To start, the first couple hundred orders (TCA is available by mail-order or at conventions only for now) get this amazing new exclusive poster by JOE STATON.

FRANK McLAUGHLIN graciously supplied a wraparound inside front and back cover of the Action heroes:

There are columns and editorials by yours truly, ol' FESTER, and our publisher MORT TODD, as well as a letters page.

And, of course, the comics stories. RON FORTIER and GARY KATO open the issue with an all new MR JIGSAW adventure.

 From there we get a preview story of another Charlton based title, CLASSIC HOT RODS AND RACING CARS COMICS, by Jack Keller, shot from the original silver plates, with new colors by Todd.
We follow that up with the return of horror host Mr. Bones, who relates to us an all-new tale of lycanthropy from writer STEVE SKEATES, and artists HOWARD BENDER AND NEIL VOKES.

 The big news with this issue is the presentation of the previously unpublished Peacmaker story (told in two parts, and concluded next ish) by the late PAT BOYETTE. Published here (and in color!) for the first time ever, and with the blessings of Mr. Boyette's daughter, Melissa.
Continuing, there's MORT TODD'S parody of The Sentinels, The Barely Sentients. A friendly jab at not only the original characters, but of a certain *other* comics company as well.

And finally,rounding out the issue, ROGER McKENZIE and SANDY CARRUTHERS continue our story of Boyette's Spookman.

A fine issue, indeed, we think you'll agree. For more information or to order your copy (as well as the first issue, and the trading cards!) please visit the website here: THE CHARLTON ARROW 
And be sure to visit us on Facebook here: The Charlton Arrow on Facebook

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Last Hurrah: Charlton's final days: part seven

We come to the final round of issues to be sent out over the Derby presses.
A mere three titles were published this month, cover dated February 1986.
What began as a major relaunch of the comics division, with lofty goals quickly floundered and ground to a halt after just six months.
Despite Charlton's move to a better paperstock and their embracing of the direct sales market, they were just too ill equipped to sustain any marketability.
The higher grade paper actually worked against them, as the aging Charlton presses just couldn't handle the requirements needed to suitably print the pages without the inks saturating the paper and, indeed, this caused an enormous amount of creases and folds on the pages.

Couple this with Charlton's unwillingness to move forward with new stories and titles, instead of retreading books that were outmoded for the new age of comics fans, and the sales just didn't happen for them.
It was a quick and lofty experiment that came and went so fast that by the time it was over many fans were left scratching their heads ,or in most cases only learning that Charlton was back after they were gone again.
The final issue to roll of the presses was PROFESSOR COFFIN #21, bringing to a close Charlton's 42 year run of underdog comics publishing.
The final three issues:
IRON CORPORAL #25. Cover reprint of Army War Heroes #27, with interior reprints from Army War Heroes #'s 28 & 29, and Fightin' Navy #82.

PUNCHY AND THE BLACK CROW #12,  reprinting Zoo Funnies (second series) #7.

And finally, PROFESSOR COFFIN #21, reprinting Midnight Tales #3.

And then, it was over.
Or was it? In the next installment, Charlton heroes get a smal and very brief reprieve before getting sold off the DC.

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