Monday, November 28, 2016
The Golden Derby - November 1966!
Fifty years ago this month big news hit Charlton as its signature superhero Captain Atom got a makeover. It was an attempt to make him less powerful, ,more in line with the "Action Hero" idea and also to spruce up his look which hadn't really been tampered with for nearly a decade. I personally love this rendition of the Captain, there's just something about it that's distinctive and sleek to my eye, but that might be nostalgia coloring my lenses. Also along for his second installment is the new Blue Beetle by Steve Ditko, the character who more than any defined this era of Charlton. Defining a fading period was the Fightin' 5 who have their penultimate issue this month, but it's a fine as the team goes up against another gang who uses anagrams to name themselves - The Agents of D.E.A.T.H. The F5 are the fading breed of espionage hero in a rockem' sockem' superhero world. Another issue of Ghostly Tales hits the stands as Charlton continues to make its mark in this particular genre. You'll note the Rocke Mastroserio had something to do with all but one of this month's covers, he was at height of his influence at Charlton. The other main man here is Dick Giordano who does the covers for both Love Diary and Wyatt Earp (the latter with Mastroserio inks). Charlton's dedication to romance books as well as westerns really helped the publisher stay distinctive in the superhero comic book realm. They wanted certainly to make their mark there and this month shows it, but they always seemed better able to find purchase with other brands of storytelling.
More next month.