Friday, April 29, 2016

The Golden Derby - April 1966!






Fifty years ago this month Judomaster was given his own title, overcoming the curse of his bizarre one-off showcase in the Special War Series many months before. Written and drawn by Frank McLaughlin, Judomaster fights the good fight behind enemy lines in the Pacific during World War II. In this debut of his regular series he battles Mountain Storm, a giant Sumo wrestler who serves a conniving Japanese commander. Despite his opponent's bulk and his own rather-too-stylish top knot he prevails. Thunderbolt returns in another issue of his ongoing series by the distinctive Pete Morisi (P.A.M.) and with these books the framework of what will become "The Action Heroes" is becoming clear, low-powered human protagonists fighting against deadly dangers. This month also saw the debut of Go-Go, an anthology of sorts which featured the adventures of the blonde bomshell Miss Bikini Luv as well as other spoofs and lampoons of various kinds, focused mainly on the then burgeoning rock and roll scene, as well as superheroes. Charlton continued to crank out romance titles such as Sweethearts, and many had handsome Dick Giordano covers as does this issue. Giordano was taking the reins of the editorial offices (he edited Judomaster, and in fact this month was something of a transition wth Pat Masulli moving on to other duies. War and Attack was yet another Charlton war comic entry, but with an above average and powerful logo. The cover above by Rocke Mastroserio is particularly dramatic and captures a moment of despair and relative quiet in the aftermath of a deadly battle. Charlton's genre books were often filled with forgettable yarns cursed with a bland sameness, but not always and this one is an example.

More to come next month.

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6 comments:

  1. Looking at the Thunderbolt cover, I wonder if Charlton were emulating DC's belief that gorillas on covers sold issues?

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    1. Pat Masulli was still the editor and there's not really that much evidence he watched the competition like Dick Giordano would do soon. But you do have a point, and I wonder if sales on this issue went up.

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  2. That romance cover looks like the beginning of another Charlton Judo lesson. I hope she knows Yubiwaza or Dim Mak.

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    1. Now that you mention it, it does look rather violent.

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  3. I like the drama of the War And Attack cover also…I really love these 50 year-glances-back at the late, lamented Charlton Comics empire. Thanks for doing these Rip.

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    1. You're welcome. I adore Charlton and am always looking for ways to wedge more of it onto this blog. It's hard for me to believe that half a century has passed since its heyday, maybe mine too.

      Look for more Charlton stuff next week.

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