Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ditko Charlton Books

I've been collecting Steve Ditko comics for a number of years, now. I try to get at least representative work from as many parts of his very long career as I can. He worked for so many of the comics publishers that there is quite a lot of material to choose from. He may not have ever been as productive as Jack Kirby, but he was still amazingly prolific.

One of the companies he worked for the most was Charlton Comics. In fact, Charlton could easily be the company for which he produced the most pages. They did not pay very well, but the work always seemed to be there when he needed it. And toward the end of the company's existence, they pretty much gave Ditko a free hand to do as he pleased with his own characters. Thus, we had something like STATIC by Ditko when he probably could not have created that title with any other major comics publisher during that time. STATIC is right wing crazed insanity with Ditko's wacky dialog intact. (I've covered that title in at least one other essay here, so I'll move on.)

One of the nicer things about the work he did for Charlton, especially during the 1980s, is that I can find most of these books for relatively low prices, even in very high grade. Charlton was probably the last major comics company to mainly sell comic books that featured very few superhero comics. It just wasn't their bag, and they were able to maintain some respectable sales figures with the kinds of comics that the other publishers had largely abandoned. Therefore, Charlton was still creating ghost comics and monster comics and TV tie-ins and such books when these were had to find from the other large players on the newsstands.

In recent years I've been able to pick up a number of Ditko-related Charlton comic books. It's one of the few companies for which he worked that I'm still able to find for very little expense.

Later Ditko work that displays the economy of his style that he developed in the 1980s.

An earlier work from a Ditko Charlton book. You can see that at this point he was still expending quite a lot of effort for what was probably not a lot of money. He cut down on this kind of economic silliness as he got older and wiser.


dogboy443 said...

I used to read a lot of Charlton because they were so different. Ditko had a hero named Destroyer that lasted a few issues but was a lot of fun to read.

HemlockMan said...

Charlton was the last of the old-school publishers. They were still publishing the kinds of things that had pretty much died off by the mid-60s.

DESTROYER was, I think, published by Atlas/Seaboard Comics which was an attempt by the Goodmans to get back into comics publishing after the folk who bought Marvel pushed out Chip Goodman in favor of Stan Lee.