Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Golden Derby - October 1966!






Fifty years ago this month Charlton put out some handsome comic books, and was well on its way into a new era. Judomaster battled the Smiling Skull (a WWII based hero battles a Nazi villain named "Skull" -- where have I heard that one before) with dynamite artwork by a maturing Frank McLaughlin and the comic picks up some depth when Dick Giordano's Sarge Steel becomes the back up. While Sarge had lost his own title, there was still quite a bit of life in the veteran detective/spy. There are perks to being the editor it seems and keeping your favorite creation alive is just one of them. Thunderbolt by Pete Morisi (P.A.M.) continued to rock along with great adventures and beautiful covers. Morisi's ability to freeze a moment in time was unmatched in the field then or now. Go-Go knocked out another issue giving Charlton an often overlooked entry in the comic satire category. And as always Charlton plugged away with some Romance and War books. Two examples this month are I Love You with a perfectly delightful cover by Vince Colletta and Army Attack featuring some Sam Glanzman artwork focusing on the Navy Seals of their time, the famous Green Berets.

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4 comments:

  1. Smiling Skull probably appeared more than any other Charlton Action Hero-Villain – wouldn’t you say? I’m thinking of 2-3 different appearances between the Judo Master series – and didn’t he turn up in Sarge Steel too? I had this Judo Master issue back in the day. I liked ol’ Smiley’s macabre look.

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    1. The only one who is close I suspect is The Ghost from Captain Atom who showed up several times. Showing up in Sarge Steel was a neat trick and reminds one and all that WWII was very much a living memory back then, a potent part of the life of the 60's and not just a jot of history as it's been reduced to these days.

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  2. The Judo master cover is excellent - I'm afraid I only ever read (or heard of) Judo Master (Sarge Steele and Thunderbolt) in the pages of Alan Class books , It wasn't until about the mid 70s I knew these were Charlton characters. - on this evidence its hard to see why Charlton didn't make it big as these covers alone are well on par with the best from Marvel and DC at this time.

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    1. It wasn't because of a lack of talent. Charlton functioned effectively as the minor leagues for the NYC publishers Marvel and DC for years giving room for new artists like Jim Aparo, Don Newton, Joe Staton, John Byrne, Mike Zeck, to develop as well as giving room to iconoclastic talents like Steve Ditko, Tom Sutton, Pete Morisi, and Pat Boyette to weave their distinctive tales. Frank McLaughlin a colleague of Dick Giordano had a style most likely to find a home at Marvel and DC and he became a reliable inker for many years. It's a shame he didn't do more penciling for the Big Two, because as you say his stuff on Judomaster sure qualified him.

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