Charlton_Comics_logoThe PopCulteer
December 11, 2015

Charlton Neo Gift Guide

Regular readers of PopCult should be well aware by now of your PopCulteer’s admiration and enjoyment of the Charlton Neo movement. Charlton Comics was sort of the “shadow comic book company” that operated on the fringe of the industry as a self-contained unit that handled their own editorial, printing, and distribution. Their comics had a certain funkiness to them because of the weird printing and the fact that they didn’t pay anywhere near the comic industry’s top rates.

However what they lacked in budget, they made up for in creative freedom, youthful exuberance, and fan enthusiasm. Sadly, Charlton Comics floated belly-up to the top of the comic book company bowl in 1985. Over the past couple of years, the Charlton Neo movement has resurrected the spirit and sense of fun of the original Charlton Comics and they make fantastic gifts for the well-heeled comic book lover on your gift list.

Charlton Arrow

12072728_903140216432343_6801481860581362796_nThe flagship of the Charlton Neo movement is the Charlton Arrow, an anthology series that combines work by original Charlton creators with that of like minded newcomers. These books are a tremendous amount of fun and include some top notch storytelling.

In addition to the Charlton Arrow, there have been new books featuring Romance and Western stories, plus an anthology collecting some of the Pix-C webcomics which had only been available to contributors to the Charlton Neo Patreon campaign.

All of these comics can be ordered directly from Mort Todd at his website and there you will also find reprints of Charlton’s Hot Rod comics, as well as other really cool graphic novelties. Many of these books can also be ordered at Amazon. And remember, Charlton Neo comics make great stocking stuffers.

Charlton Spotlight

cs9_fc_11-8-15_lo72Charlton Spotlight is a magazine devoted to the history of the original Charlton Comics and presents interviews with the original creators, as well as the occasional previously-unpublished Charlton comic book stories.

The latest issue is hot off the presses and features a full-length interview with legendary Charlton war comics writer Will Franz, creator of fan favorites The Lonely War of Captain Willy Schultz and The Iron Corporal. Franz speaks candidly about his short but seminal career as a late ’60s Charlton writer with memories of artist Sam Glanzman, writer Joe Gill, and various Charlton editors—all liberally illustrated with rare and unpublished photos and art.

This issue also includes original comics features, including the first new Snuffy Smith comic book story in over 40 years–Written and drawn by current creator John Rose, “Hopalong Jughaid” brings this classic comic strip back to the comics page. There’s also a new Atomic Rabbit story by legendary Charlton editor-artist George Wildman with Donnie Pitchford: “Lip Stickup” co-stars Pudgy Pig and Brother George.

Ron Frantz’s “Charlton Memories” column reveals the secret origins of Charlton’s wildest 1950s mash-up, Space Western Comics. In Ron’s memoir of pulp historian Bob Sampson, we learn that “Spurs Jackson and His Space Vigilantes” and Space Western Comics were actually the brainchild of The Shadow creator Walter B. Gibson.  Rounding out the issue is a gallery of Charlton convention program art and a detailed checklist of the rarest Charlton comic books.

This magazine, and all back issues of Charlton Spotlight, can be ordered directly from the publisher. These are terrific reads for any lover of vintage comic books.

Ditko’s Shorts
81LJ-lTN9fLby Steve Ditko
IDW Publishing/Yoe Books
ISBN-13: 978-1631401534

Yoe Books/IDW Publishing brings us this collection of two and three page filler stories mostly created for Charlton Comics to even up the page count for their books. This is your chance to see a master of comic book storytelling working as fast as possible in the very short story format. Ditko’s Shorts is a lot of fun, has great background essays, and without giving away too much personal information, it’s perfect toilet reading.

The publisher’s blurb tells us, “Ditko’s Shorts is a fun and incredibly fascinating compilation of short comics one, two and three pages in length. Only a brilliant master could tell a dramatic, compelling tale in such compact form. You’ll thrill as Ditko walks this exciting high-wire act without a net! The many stories contained in this hardcover are fast-paced and sport terrific, compelling artwork as only Steve Ditko can draw it! The genres show the artist’s great range. There’s horror, fantasy, science fiction, western, and even humorous stories. Taken from rare comic books from a who’s who of publishers, all the comics are meticulously restored and printed in a beautiful, large-format book. Insightful introductions by punk-rocker and comics historian Fester Faceplant and Eisner Award-winner Craig Yoe. Don’t miss Ditko’s Shorts – sure to be a much loved and talked about Ditko treasure!”

List price on this book is $24.99, but it can be found for less if you shop around.

Roger McKenzie’s Total Frenzy

b870d895e2a8d76213afc61d562da525_originalOkay, so we are out of Gift Guide territory here. This is a plug for Roger McKenzie’s Kickstarter campaign, which aims to raise enough money to print enough copies of a new Charlton Neo title to actually make it into Diamond Previews and thus into comic book stores nationwide. Roger McKenzie is a tremendously talented comic book writer whose Daredevil stories (drawn by Frank Miller) formed the basis for much of the Netflix Daredevil series.

Roger McKenzie’s Total Frenzy will bring to print two of his excellent Pix-C webcomics, Knightingales (with art by Dærick Gröss, Sr.) and Spookman(with art by Sandy Carruthers). Both of these series are very clever continuations of original Charlton Comics series. Just watch this video…

This is a great project and unfortunately, there’s less than a week to go in the campaign. As I write this, the fundraising goal has just passed the 60% mark. Since this is a Kickstarter campaign, the goal must be met in order for the project to proceed.

Because of that, I implore any comic book lover to consider kicking in to help bring this project to fruition. Because dammit, I want a copy of this comic book.

That’s it for this week. Your PopCulteer had a sudden midweek 450-mile journey pop up and is a little too wiped out to throw together the Stuff To Do section. Please check back tonight and Saturday for the last minute entries in the PopCult Gift Guide and Sunday for the huge mega-index for every gift in the 2015 PopCult Gift Guide.

For God’s sake, I hope somebody’s been reading this. It seems like it’s been going on forever.