Friday, March 1, 2013
Here's a real gem. This Joe Staton cover for Emergency #2 is bright and exciting. I stumbled across this delightful bit of 70's gold while visiting a new (to me at least) comic book store in Bowling Green, Kentucky. There it was amid an admittedly chaotic assembly of comics, mostly stuff I own or was not really interested in. But this issue is the only issue of the original run I missed way back in 1976, so I snatched it up, haggled very successfully and brought it home in tandem with another Charlton comic I found lurking in a dusty corner.
The cover by Staton is the lure for me, but the idea of completing this run after almost forty years is a fantastic feeling. The new comic fits in with my others perfectly in terms of condition. The interiors of this one feature a script by Charlton yeoman Joe Gill and art by the exceedingly talented Demetrio Gomez Sanchez. The Emergency comic was about paramedics, a then-new concept explored on the successful television show. Today I guess we'd call the "First Responders". It's a nice hook for a TV show and an above average premise for a comic book.
The debut issue of the run is the famous one, this one also featuring a Joe Staton cover and on the inside some early John Byrne artwork. Some artwork appropriated from the Byrne story here is used for the obligatory text piece in issue two.
After Staton's two great covers, Jack Sparling handles the remaining two issues of the run. The one above is a wonderful image, bright and focused, one of the best pieces I've seen by Sparling, if in fact it is him. I'm not so sure. It looks a lot like the style Sanchez uses inside.
This cover is more typical of his work, good and sturdy, but hardly compelling. Admittedly this is not a very good scan.
The Emergency license was used by Charlton for a color comic line as well as a black and white series. The artwork on the black and white was produced by the Continuity Associates team assembled by Neal Adams, whose work can be seen on the first two issues. The stories are by Gill, Nicola Cuti, and Mike Pellowski.
I'm lucky to have the first two issues of this run. But for some reason I did not find or get the last two issues of that series.
The last few issues feature some pretty good covers by Earl Norem, and the fourth issue has an Alfredo Alacala story in it. The completist in me would love to get hold of them, but I have rarely if ever seen either issue. It would be neat to finally have all of the Charlton Emergency books.
Here's a treat, the original artwork by Jack Sparling for the unpublished fifth issue of the run. I'd put the quality of this one between his other efforts in terms of quality. The snake is sure interesting.
For more on the television show that inspired these offbeat and oddly attractive comics, check out this link.