When people think of Charlton, they often think of poor paper quality and lackluster stories. That’s somewhat understandable, but altogether unfortunate because there are a lot of hidden gems dotted through Charlton’s long history. This week, I’m looking at a handful of titles I’d love to see reprinted.
A few years back, DC seemed to be picking up some momentum when the Action Heroes Archives began hitting the stands. Sadly, they stopped short of a complete archive and one of the most glaring omissions was Sarge Steel. I raved about this series after Dick Giordano’s passing, but I can’t help but bring it up again. The artwork is fantastic and the stories have a great mid-60s secret agent vibe to them. If you dig Nick Fury, James Bond and Man From U.N.C.L.E., you will probably be a fan of Sarge Steel.
Billy the Kid ran far too long for the whole thing to be collected, and I will freely admit that there are some pretty weak issues. I would love, however, to see a Best of Billy the Kid trade paperback. I’d really love it if they could focus on the period from the early 60s when John Severin handled the art chores. I get never get enough Severin, and this stuff is under seen. Stories featuring artwork by other terrific artists such as Pete Morisi and Dick Giordano could be used to fill out the volume.
Charlton’s horror anthology titles, like those from other publishers, can be pretty hit and miss. One consistently entertaining title is Haunted Love. Charlton’s jumped onto the gothic romance bandwagon with this series, and it ended up lasting more than most of its peers. Many of the stories were written by Nicola Cuti and most issues feature terrific artwork from the likes of Joe Staton, Tom Sutton and Steve Ditko.
Konga is an acquired taste. I acquired that taste via a small black and white reprint book, The Lonely One, published by Robin Snyder 20 years ago. With the debut of the Fantastic Four, Marvel began to move away from its pre-hero monster stories and fans of Ditko’s work in that genre had to look elsewhere for their fix. Konga was the perfect salve, as Ditko and Joe Gill teamed up to put together a wonderful strip loosely based on the British King Kong rip-off. Sure, later issues lack pizzazz as Bill Molno is no Ditko but I’d certainly buy an Essential Konga title if someone put in on the racks.
Due to the fact that they could not be reprinted without paying a hefty licensing fee, it is unlikely that we will ever see any of Charlton’s Phantom stories reprinted. That is a shame, because some of the best stories from the late 60s through to the mid-70s can be found in these pages. There are some relatively low points, however, during this era so I suggest focusing on the stories with Jim Aparo and Don Newton artwork and give the fans exactly what they want.
Next Time, I’ll look at an additional five Charlton titles that I’d like to see reprinted. In the meantime, stop by my blog: Seduction of the Indifferent.