Charlton Comics was – in many ways – a strange outlier to DC and Marvel, with a company history too interesting and complicated to go into here. They did have some great material, marred though it was by low-quality printing and inconsistent distribution. Thankfully, there are a number of decent art scans of original covers and interior pages to explore what might have been.

Many of the items here are process posts showing recolouring. Largely utilising scans of original art, I restore art when it needs it, and re-create logos and other trade dress. Some pieces have their originally-published colour schemes reconstructed and a version with new colour.

While most pieces are of vintage material, I bring my design, colouring and production skills to commissioned art as well. Check out the Production Services page.

Phantom 57 Cover OG

The Phantom No. 57 Cover by Pat Boyette

Charlton Comics produced some good The Phantom comics, usually assigning one of their better artists to it. After Jim Aparo left for DC Comics, Pat Boyette stepped in and added his clear rendering and unique design style to the deep woods adventurer.

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Jungle Jim 24 Cover OG

Jungle Jim No. 24 Cover by Pat Boyette

Jungle Jim was a comic strip created by Alex Raymond and Don Moore, debuting in 1934 as a safari-suit-wearing adventurer. He crossed over into serials, movies, television and comic books. Charlton had the comic book license in 1969/70, producing issue nos. 22–28, continuing Dell Comics' numbering.

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Blue Beetle 1964 5 Cover OG

Blue Beetle No. 5 (1965) Cover by Fraccio & Giordano

From March/April 1965, Bill Fraccio and Dick Giordano deliver a combative cover for Charlton Comics' Blue Beetle No. 5. I'd be worried about giant-sized chess pieces threatening a princess, too.

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Charlton Blue Beetle Levins OG

Charlton Bullseye featuring The Blue Beetle

Charlton Bullseye was a late entry with new content from Charlton Comics. Unlike the previous Bullseye – started as a fanzine in the 1970s – the second volume was an anthology which gave new talent a chance to be published. It ran for 10 issues before it was cancelled.

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Blue Beetle Cover by Bob Layton OG

Blue Beetle Returns by Bob Layton

Bob Layton posted a recent convention sketch of Steve Ditko's Blue Beetle. He captured Ted Kord's exuberance and I thought it'd make a good cover.

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Outlaws Of The West 17 Cover OG

Outlaws of the West No. 17 Cover by Rocco Mastroserio

From November 1958, a dynamic illustration by Rocco Mastroserio for Charlton Comics.

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Outlaws Of The West 11 Cover OG

Outlaws of the West No. 11 Cover by Maurice Whitman

From July 1957, a great illustration of an evil man laughing at the law by Maurice Whitman.

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Outer Space 22 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 22 Cover by Nicholas & Alascia

From Charlton Comics in May 1959, tourism in the solar system is about to boom by Charles Nicholas Wojtkoski and Vince Alascia.

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Outer Space 21 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 21 Cover by Steve Ditko

From Charlton Comics in March 1959, even in the frontiers of outer space, law and order will be maintained.

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Vari-Typer 160

Charlton Comics A. Machine Typeface

Back in the late 1950s Charlton Comics thought they'd save some time and money by outfitting a variable typewriter – a Vari-Typer, which was large enough to hold a page of comic art – with a custom typeface which mimicked the hand lettering used in comics for captions and word balloons.

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Attack 60 Cover OG

Attack No. 60 Cover by Sam Glanzman

From Charlton Comics in November 1959, this cover was a composite of panels from the stories inside. One piece was by Sam Glanzman, and the other I haven't been able to identify.

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Outer Space 18 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 18 Cover by Masulli & Mastroserio

From Charlton Comics in August 1958, a great example of the fear prevalent in pop science fiction of the day.There you are steering your way through interstellar space, and all of a sudden, a big freaking hand. All aboard!
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Many Ghosts Of Dr Graves 7 Cover OG

The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves No. 7 Cover by Rocco Mastroserio

From Charlton Comics in July 1968, Rocco Mastroserio takes a page from Steve Ditko's visual language. Don't help the guy, doc. Just let him drift off into the netherworld.

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Outer Space 19 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 19 Cover by Rocco Mastroserio

From Charlton Comics in October 1958, Rocco Mastroserio illustrates a more aggressive idea of what space exploration can be. Thrusting into the void, vapourising a threat and worshipping the glowing bean stalk. All hail the bean stalk!

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Space Adventures 23 Cover OG

Space Adventures No. 23 Cover by Nicholas & Alascia

In May 1958 the US was still reeling from the kick in the rockets Sputnik gave them in October 1957. Suddenly, space was the first priority.

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Outlaws Of The West 15 Cover OG

Outlaws of the West No. 15 Cover by Nicholas & Alascia

I really like the composition of this cover by Charles Nicholas and Vincent Alascia, and thought it could be something more than what it was. As published, you don't get the feel of the canyons or the atmosphere of the old west, and the title is slapped on with a different colour behind it.

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Outer Space 17 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 17 Cover by Rocco Mastroserio

May 1958 saw the debut of Charlton Comics Outer Space with the company's consistently-odd numbering. Here's the cover by Rocco Mastroserio for that first issue, Vol. 3 No. 17.

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Outlaws Of The West 13 Cover OG

Outlaws of the West No. 13 Cover by Rocco Mastroserio

Rocco Mastroserio was a mainstay at Charlton Comics in the 50s and 60s. In a style similar to colleague Dick Giordano's - but more organic than Giordano's commercial slickness – he produced many memorable pieces. This superb illustration is from December 1957.

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Space Adventures 8 Cover OG

Space Adventures No. 8 Cover by Jim Aparo

Jim Aparo is better known for his runs on DC's The Brave & the Bold, Aquaman and The Spectre, but he had a successful period at Charlton before he went to DC. Here's one from July 1969.

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Attack 55 Cover OG

Attack No. 55 Cover by Dick Giordano

For my American friends on Memorial Day weekend, up this time is the cover of Attack No. 55 from December 1958 drawn by Dick Giordano. Minor restoration with clean-up and new colour.

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Blue Beetle 1 OG

Blue Beetle No. 1 (1964) Cover

The second Blue Beetle was given his powers by the spirit of a Pharaoh through the blue beetle scarab, appearing in ten issues of his own magazine beginning in 1964. He wasn't a hit and was supplanted by the third Beetle Ted Kord in 1966, created by Steve Ditko.

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Outer Space 20 Cover OG

Outer Space No. 20 Cover by Dick Giordano

One of my favourite Dick Giordano Charlton covers is this issue from 1958. The machinery is reminiscent of Wally Wood's, and the astronaut figure is classic Giordano. I sometimes think the alien is saying, "I will name him George, and I will hug him, and pet him…"

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Son Of Vulcan 51 14 OG

Son of Vulcan No. 51 by Kaler, Fraccio & Tallarico

Son of Vulcan was Charlton Comics' answer to Marvel Comics' Thor, God of Thunder (and rock'n'roll). Johnny Mann received powers and weapons from Vulcan, and made an eternal enemy of the god of war, Mars.

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Captain Atom 90 OG

Captain Atom No. 90 (1967) Cover by Steve Ditko

With this cover for the unpublished Captain Atom No. 90, the art by Steve Ditko is in very good condition, but the logos are in poor condition. Pieces are missing, some are damaged, and there are dropouts of fine lines from the production process. Another one Charlton left unpublished, to be later included in The Charlton Bullseye, Volume 1, Nos. 1 and 2. Also collected by DC in The Action Heroes Archive 2.

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Blue Beetle 6 OG

Blue Beetle No. 6 (1967) Cover by Steve Ditko

Blue Beetle No. 6 never saw print as a comic. Why Charlton would leave a full comic sitting on the shelf is beyond me. It eventually surfaced in CPL No. 9/10 (aka The Charlton Portfolio), and DC included it in the The Action Heroes Archive 2.

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Comics Cavalcade Weekly OG

Charlton Comics Cavalcade Weekly

As Charlton Comics' managing editor in the 1960s, Dick Giordano, put together the Action Heroes line with talents that included Joe Gill, Steve Ditko, Pete Morisi, Pat Boyette, Frank Mclaughlin and others. Charlton was petering out in the mid 80s, so DC bought the rights to those characters and presented them to Giordano – now DC's executive editor – as a gift.

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Out Of This World 16 OG

Out of This World No. 16 Cover by Steve Ditko

We conclude the Out of This World run with another Steve Ditko cover. No. 16 from December 1959, does indeed have Ditko art on it, but it was made from interior panels by Charlton Comics' production staff as a cost-saving measure. No new art, no new fee paid to Ditko.

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Out Of This World 15 OG

Out of This World No. 15 Cover by Molno & Alascia

The Ovoid – a big stiff – came to kill, but who knows about Xondu? Bill Molno returns to the cover of Out of This World after starting off the series with Nos. 1 and 2. Inked by Vince Alascia. October 1959, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 13 OG

Out of This World No. 13 Cover by Nicholas & Alascia

In a switch from previous covers, Charles Nicholas and Vince Alascia show three of the issue's stories, a device used on the next two covers as well. Who knows who lives at 33 Oak Street? And will they mow their lawn more often? May 1959, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 12 OG

Out of This World No. 12 Cover by Steve Ditko

I felt bad for Steve Ditko on this one. His invaders from the Earth's core are about to be crushed by a tan starburst. Maybe it was intended to float over the diver's head. March 1959, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 11 OG

Out of This World No. 11 Cover by Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko returns to Out of This World with this iconic cover for the January 1959 issue. Earth had to do something about being mooned. Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 10 OG

Out of This World No. 10 Cover by Nicholas & Alascia

I like this cover. Just a little scene in an artist's studio. Someone needs painting lessons, and perhaps an exorcism. October 1958, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 9 OG

Out of This World No. 9 Cover by Masulli & Mastroserio

The next Out of This World cover. Even in the 1950s, time management was stressful. August 1958, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 8 OG

Out of This World No. 8 Cover by Maurice Whitman

Continuing the Out of This World cover series. When the Almighty gets bored, he swats at us like we're mosquitoes. May 1958, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 7 OG

Out of This World No. 7 Cover by Steve Ditko

When Steve Ditko draws, it's superfluous to label it strange, different and unusual. February 1958, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 5 OG

Out of This World No. 5 Cover by Steve Ditko

Nothing ruins a day of scuba diving like coming upon a giant sea serpent. September 1957, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 3 OG

Out of This World No. 3 Cover by Steve Ditko

It seems that in the 1950s there was an inordinate fear of giant hands appearing in unlikely places. Case in point: while mountain climbing or spelunking. March 1957, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 1 OG

Out of This World No. 1 Cover by Molno & Alascia

Ham-radio-operating dino dogs mess with air traffic control. In the 1950s, they thought this would be a pressing problem in the future. August 1956, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 6 OG

Out of This World No. 6 Cover by Steve Ditko

Out of body? Out of this world? Dead? Alive? November 1957, Charlton Comics.

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Out Of This World 4 OG

Out of This World No. 4 Cover by Steve Ditko

Steve Ditko can fascinate and freak you out at the same time, and it started long before his run on Dr. Strange. June 1957, Charlton Comics.

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Phantom Aparo OG

The Phantom by Jim Aparo

Jim Aparo is better known for his DC Comics work on such books as The Brave & the Bold, Aquaman and The Spectre. Just prior to moving over to DC, he was a regular artist on Charlton Comics' version of The Phantom.

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Out Of This World 14 OG

Out of This World No. 14 Cover by Dick Giordano

Dick Giordano is one of my influences as a comic book artist. I only met him once at the San Diego Comicon in 1989, but back when I was a teenager in the early 80s writing letters to Batman comics, he was their editor, and he took the time to write a couple of short notes back to me. When I met him, he was at the helm during one of DC's best periods.

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