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When Charlton Comics Hit the Bullseye With Steve Ditko

However, by late 1965, Ditko began to do some more work for Charlton, as the popularity of Marvel Comics had led many comic book publishers to try to do superhero comics, as well, so Charlton brought Captain Atom back and Ditko drew it...

Dick Giordano had become the Charlton Editor-in-Chief by this point in time.

Ditko had continued to do Charlton work even while at Marvel, all the way up until Amazing Spider-Man going monthly in late 1963, so it was not seen as that big of a deal that Ditko would so some superhero stuff for Charlton, but obviously, in retrospect, it seems like he was setting up a place for him to go when he left Marvel. And sure enough, when he then left Marvel, he decided to go to Charlton as his primary employer, since they promised him the freedom to develop, in effect, his own line of superhero comics, all under the direction of Dick Giordano, who labeled this new line of comics Charlton's "Action Heroes" line (Ditko also did horror work for Jim Warren's newly launched line of black and white comic book horror magazines, spearheaded by Archie Goodwin).

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Ditko used Captain Atom to introduce new heroes like Nightshade...

And then the new version of Blue Beetle...

This new Blue Beetle didn't have superpowers. He was just a "science hero" rather than a super hero...

Blue Beetle got his own title...

And Ditko used this new book to introduce the Question...

The Question was, in effect, Ditko's perfect idea of a superhero. Ditko was getting more into Objectivist beliefs and the Question was a full-fledged adherent to that sort of thinking. What's amazing about this time period is that Ditko also created a "new" character called Mr. A that he did for Wallace Wood's independent comic book, Witzend.

You see, while Charlton gave Ditko a lot of freedom, there were still certain areas that they were not comfortable with Ditko taking his stories. Essentially, they required that Ditko at least try to make his stories somewhat commercial. He could do almost any type of story that he wanted to do, but just keep them relatively commercial. Plus, of course, they had to be Comics Code approved, as well.

So what Mr. A allowed Ditko to do is to tell Question stories only using this "new" character, Mr. A, and Mr. A could be about whatever Ditko wanted it to be, including just outright lectures about Objectivism...

However, it was not like the Question stories by Ditko were not pretty far gone themselves. One of the most infamous examples was the Question back-up in Blue Beetle #4, which was scripted by a young Steve Skeates (using a pseudonym)...

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