Monday, June 27, 2016

The Golden Derby - June 1966!

Fifty years ago this month at Charlton hard-nosed martial arts action was the order of the day. The two series Thunderbolt by Pete Morisi (P.A.M.) and Judomaster by Frank McLaughlin were rather unlike anything else on the stands at the time. Both were adding to the growing martial arts awareness of the time which was just beginning to simmer thanks to the memorable turn as Kato by Bruce Lee in The Green Hornet (still a few months away when these comics landed). Both Morisi and McLaughlin were expert at showcasing action, each in his own distinctive way and these stories are ideal for their skill sets. Charlton's humor mag Go-Go attempted to tap into the always ready teen market by blending Archie-style stories with Mad-magazine style satire and straight up Teen Beat types of articles. There are so many different trends evident in this comic that it's hard to identify which one was most important. And speaking of trends, Charlton still cranked out their car comics, the only company which found any footing at all in this oddball market. These comics with many stories by Jack Keller and others were focused on a hobby, a pastime and way of life which was quickly becoming cliche and nostalgic at the same time. And always there was romance, a kind of comic for the girls it was assumed, though I can say directly that I really enjoyed these comic stories at the time, and mostly it was the artwork which could be really different and sometimes more impressive than the stuff geared obviously for boys.

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