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Scott’s Classic Comics Corner: Please Reprint These Charltons Pt. 3

This week I’ve picked 5 Charltons that I would really like to see to satisfy some personal curiosity. They may not make much sense at all from a commercial perspective, and perhaps that’s why I’m not in the publishing biz.

Racket Squad in Action is one of my favourite series from the 1950s. It demonstrates that there were plenty of good stories to be told in the post-Code era. This anthology series focuses on various scams and cons of the day, and the fraud squad dedicated to busting them up. From a procedural point of view, it is quite interesting to see how authorities dealt with various rackets and it’s a real hoot to see just how inventive some criminals could be. I’ve only read a half dozen or so of these, and a full collection would be amazing. As a bonus, the like of Dick Giordano, Steve Ditko and Joe Shuster contributed to the series.

In a similar vein, I’d really love to see a collection of Public Defender in Action. I don’t know much about this series except that it features some pretty nifty covers and stories with titles like ‘Tainted Evidence’ and ‘Con Man’s Alibi. There have never been many courtroom based comic books, but it’s a venue that’s always been popular in other media. I’d like to see how it was handled in the 50s.

Moving into the 60s, I’d really love to see a compilation of The Lonely War of Willy Schultz. At least one person has commented that they’d like to see it, so I know that I (unlike Willy) am not alone. Co-created by Will Franz and Sam Glanzman, this saga about a falsely accused soldier on the run was featured in Fightin’ Army for a few years in the late 60s. I think I’m correct that Franz was a teenager when he penned these stories. It was a unique war strip for the time and, although there have been spotty reprints, it would be great to see the whole thing collected.

Lawbreakers Suspense Stories was the short-lived and rather gruesome middle stage in the evolution from Lawbreakers to the long running Strange Suspense Stories. In this guise, the series was focused almost exclusively on rather horrific murder cases. It also included two of the most shocking covers of all time, including an Acid in the Face cover and one featuring a maniac clutching a handful of recently liberated tongues. These are very pricey on the back issue market, and I would much prefer to see these collected than yet another version of the EC catalogue.

Finally, I think a volume of the mid-70s prozine Charlton Bullseye would be fantastic. This fine publication ran a mere 5 issues, but it is filled with rarities and interesting tidbits about Charlton history. What you’ll find here is a Toth drawn Question story, some Ditko Captain Atom stuff and assorted mid-70s goodness. Much of this stuff has been reprinted here and there (between DC and Fantagraphics), but a single volume would give readers a great sense of where Charlton was at the time. I’ve only got two of the issues, and they are great.

So, that’s my look at 15 Charlton reprints I’d like to see. Of course, I’ve left out plenty of other good strips including E-Man, Yang, , Doomsday +1, , Nightshade, , Atomic Mouse, etc… etc… I’ve got to draw the line somewhere, folks.

For my comic book chat, stop by my blog Seduction of the Indifferent. My loopy summer schedule is coming to a close so more regular contributions are on the horizon.

9 Comments

Seems like, with all the other classic comics getting the archival hardback treatment, that Steve Ditko’s horror stories for Charlton would be a nice package. At least we finally got a collection of Herbie not too long ago…

That LAWBREAKERS 11 cover is out-of-control awesome!

Bob Layton told me a few years ago that he wouldn’t mind my sharing Charlton Bullseye for free online, and even mailed me a copy of — I think it was the issue that featured E-Man on the cover — if I wanted to do so. As far as he was concerned, the publications themselves were CPL/Gang. Since then, of course, the Toth/Uslan Question story was published by DC, so I’m not sure if he’d say the same thing today.

There was a time when that Toth story was available online with annotations from Toth himself, both Tothfans.com seems to be in a state of transition.

Of course, there was the other Bullseye, published by latter-day Charlton, which featured sequences like this: http://www.vicsage.com/gallery/published/bullseye1b.jpg

…Are you aware of the Charlton reprints issued in the 90s and 00s by the company variously known as A-Plus , ACG , and – at its very end – Charlton , all over again ( Meaning , they revived the name . ) ?

Scott:

There were a lot of gems in the Charlton Bullseye prozine. Number 5, in particular, is excellent. I’d buy a collected edition of this in a second!

Cheers,
Andrew
ComicsBronzeAge.com

Scott,

I know this probably sounds crazy but why don’t YOU get them republished? I assume you probably know a few people in the industry. Why not get some advice/put together a team and put together a proposal to DC about restoring/publishing them and see if they bite. If you and your company do all the work and simply allow DC to publish them perhaps they’ll go for it. Obviously if it goes right you’ll make some scratch as well.

Just a thought.

JumborgAce

Eric, is that Charlton Bullseye with EMan on the cover in B&W? That’s the one I have. It’s got, I think, a Ditko Blue Beetle story and articles about a lot of Charlton features. Gotta dig that out. I bought my copy from Roger Stern himself at an Ithacon a few years back. I’m guessing he still has some copies…

@Brian Wigett: Steve Ditko’s Charlton horror stories (at least those safely in the public domain) are being collected in hardcover, by Fantagraphics. The first volume came out last year, I think, and the3 second is due out sometime this fall, I think.

For those who like seeing the work in black and white, Greg Theakston’s Pure Imagination has released a number of softcover 8 1/2 by 11 Ditko books, including Steve Ditko’s Thing, and Big Book O’Ditko, as well as several volumes of the Ditko Reader. And I think Vanguard put out a Ditko Space Wars volume in both softcover and hardcover editions.

These are mostly the 1950′s stuff, of course. But Ditko and co-publisher Robin Snyder did put out a black and white softcover reprint of some of the 1960s/1970s Charlton ghost stories. I think that was The Ditko Package Volume 3. If you only buy one, that’s the one I’d recommend, since Ditko actually profits from it, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t’ get a penny from any of the others — they are public domain, after all.

Hey, remember when “Racket Squad” was revived as a super-team of crime-fighting tennis players?

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