Charlton Premiere (Vol. 2)

    (Charlton, 1967-1968)
™ and ©1967 Charlton Publications, Inc.

(From The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide)

Charlton was without a doubt the most conservative comic publishing company of the 1950s and 1960s, chugging along on its almost identikit romance, war, mystery and hot-rod titles. When it came to new ideas for its tryout title, however, Charlton was far more imaginative than anything from other companies, except in #4. The Steve Ditko-drawn “Unlikely Tales” could have slotted into any of the Charlton mystery comics. Issue #1 introduces two new heroes and a kid gang, the Tyro Team, who were very ordinary indeed. Far better was The Shape by Grass Green, off-the-wall humor capturing the spirit of the original Plastic Man more convincingly than DC’s 1960s series. The issue is rounded out with Pat Boyette’s Spookman, in which a moonstone transforms archaeologist Aaron Piper into a vengeful puritan time-traveler. It’s mad. Issue #3’s Sinestro, Boy Fiend is even nuttier: a satanic child who battles Charlton headliners Blue Beetle and the Peacemaker. The standout issue, though, is #2’s “Children of Doom.” Through circumstances detailed in the letters page, Denny O’Neill (as Sergius O’Shaughnessy) wrote the story against a really short deadline, and came up with an inventive tale of a doomsday device constructed to trigger and destroy Earth upon detection of atomic power. It’s intended to hold the planet to ransom and deliver a new age of peace, but conventional warfare instead devastates the planet, transforming humanity. Pat Boyette is again the artist, using a startlingly effective mixture of toned black-and-white art and color for some sequences, again a process determined by the short deadline. Disjointed and rushed, it’s nonetheless a fascinating story with a point to make, which holds up after thirty years. ~FP

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 Denny O’NeilPat Boyette


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  Henry Scarpelli


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