Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Golden Derby - July 1966!

I think of this time fifty years ago this month as the moment when Charlton Comics became self-aware. Or least it was the time when they demonstrated they knew they had a fandom who were intrigued not only by the genre stories the company had produced for decades, but by the talents who produced those books. As we can see, one of the most famous comics in Charlton's whole oveure arrived, the final issue of what had been the long-running Konga series but which for a single giant-sized issue became Fantastic Giants, a book which had as its hook the artist Steve Ditko, celebrated front and center on the very memorable cover. The book featuring reprints of vintage Konga and Gorgo stories along with some new stuff from Ditko attempted to feed off the notoriety Ditko had gotten for his work at Marvel on Dr.Strange in Strange Tales and The Amazing Spider-Man. In a move that would presage the defection of Kirby to DC some years later, Ditko famously walked out on his most famous creations to work as he chose for the low-rent Charlton firm who had been there for him for decades as evidenced by the revival of his great co-creation for the company Captain Atom, who this month gained a new super-villain and a new partner named Nightshade, the Darling of Darkness. As evidenced by Outlaws of the West (sporting a nifty Rocke Mastroserio cover) and Love Diary (with a handsome Pat Masullli - Dick Giordano cover) the company still pressed ahead with its genre work. The final issue of Timmy the Timid Ghost (one of Charlton's longest-running titles) sported a cover with a nifty sense of irony as Timmy gets spooked by the latest issue of Ghostly Tales, Charlton's newest fright fest. It's a clever bit of cross-promotion and pulled off delightfully in this cover by Jon D'Agostino (with the Masterserio insert). All in all this is a great month for Charlton, one which pointed forward handsomely.

More to come next month.

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  1. Like so many Charlton comics, I picked Fantastic Giants up second-hand. The art on those premieres of Konga and Gorgo is so lush and beautiful, plus there was always a special mystique for me in double-sized or "annual" size comics. Many years ago I picked up some that Charlton published in 1958 or so; "68 pages" cover-priced at 15 cents, they were part of the regular numbering of titles like Out of This World and Unusual Tales. Each of them with some great Ditko art, along with many of the second stringers. Wonderful stuff.

    1. The thing about Charlton was that they were always looking for an angle to sell more comics and tried out all sorts of things. We focus a lot on the types of comics (superheroes, war, romance, etc.) but the formats and packaging is even more interesting to me sometimes. How were they getting the product delivered?

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