Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Golden Derby - April 1967!






Fifty years ago this month there was a blockbuster event at the small Derby, Connecticut publisher known as Charlton. Steve Ditko's great recreation Blue Beetle hit the stands with a mighty number one issue. It was the final piece of the "Action Hero" line and alongside the new Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) there debuted The Question, a hero properly fit for Ditko's ever sharpening political tracts. Blue Beetle #1 is a fantastic comic, chock full of entertainment and arguably the apogee of the company's output at the time. Also on the stands was the latest issue of Captain Atom in which the good Captain battles his arch foe The Ghost again. The Blue Beetle is along for the ride in the back of this issue, the place he'd debuted some months before and at the same time a great way for editor Dick Giordano to cross-promote the new "Action Hero". In many ways, these two heroes (Captain Atom and Blue Beetle) are Charlton's legacy as both are (in mutated forms of course) still being published by DC Comics which long ago bought the rights. Judomaster #95 is also available in a new issue in which creator Frank McLaughlin has the "Scarlet Smasher" battle a foe dubbed The Acrobat. (Seems like Captain America was fighting an identically named villain at about this same time.) Dick Giordano supplies a terrific cover for Career Girl Romances which has a weird pop culture vibe, not unlike when members of the classic Rat Pack tried to evoke the zeitgeist of the era, something which they might'be had sympathy with, but not an affinity for. And the durable Jack Keller turns out another compelling cover for the adventures of Clint Curtis and the Road Knights in the latest issue of Hot Rods and Racing Cars.

More to come next month.

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5 comments:

  1. Nice! Beauties all. Yep, I remember the Tales Of Suspense “Acrobat” villain that Cap fought at close to the same time…Recalling that as my Charlton comics always seemed to make their way to me in bagged 3 packs (for one shiny quarter) back in the day – I always seemed to end up with more issues of Hot Rods and Racing Cars then I really intended for…Wish I had lucked my way into that sweet looking copy of Blue Beetle #1 instead though. (No substantive complaints intended here – life has been good all round)

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    1. I got most of my vintage Charlton comics back then in flea markets and offbeat antique stores. But as you correctly point out, the prime stuff always seemed to be bagged with lesser cuts, though tasty enough on their own. Comics were comics to me back then.

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  2. When I was a kid in South Miami, the best place to buy comics and paperbacks was the newsstand at the Coral Gables bus terminal. I used to be able to walk to my street corner and a bus would show up every 20 minutes. I have a vivid memory of seeing both BB#1 and 2 on one of the many spinner racks there. Because the cover of #2 said it was the origin I assumed it was #1 and bought it. It's one of my favorite comics, but I noticed the house ad featured the squid cover art and quickly realized I'd bypassed an earlier issue. So I got back on the bus and paid the quarter fare to spend 12 cents on the other comic. I never regretted the extra expense; those comics are beautiful. There is no way to convey how magical some of those old newsstands were to a kid who loved to read. I still visit them in dreams.

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    1. Know exactly what you mean. The modern way of getting comics (pull lists getting me comics which patiently wait for me to come for them) is reliable but less thrilling than chasing down the stuff on the newsstand. I still remember seeing New Gods #1 on the stands and being properly gobsmacked.

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  3. 'Clint Curtis'? Now there's a name (Clint) that's a letterer's nightmare. I always wondered why Stan had chosen it for Hawkeye's name as well. One slight smudge and - angry parents.

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