Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Reviewing: Charlton Bullseye"

In 1981-82, Charlton Comics decided to try a little project. They published ten issues of a title called Charlton Bulleye (a comic BOOK version of a house-fanzine with the same title).

In each issue they debuted the work of some fan artist/writer (unlike their previous 1960's title, Charlton Premiere which showcased mainly pro work). Some of these were pretty good; some not so much. But they encouraged many a fan to send them samples of their work.

Even I submitted a story to this title. It was one of the "Elmo Jenkins" strips I'm done for "the small press". My response from editor George Wildman was not too pleasant an experince for one attempting to get his work actually published in a professional endeavor. In fact, Wildman stated that (ahem!) "I had no idea as to how to do comic strip work!" Well...maybe he was right. Any hoo, Here's the infamous cover to the strip I submitted (just for my own history-sake). The interior work did indeed get published later on by a SP pubber called "High School Comics", and the Jenkins character went on to be probably the most recognizable of my work I ever did (in fact, dat's "why" the name of this blog, of course).

But...I'm rambling here. This is supposed to be a review of the title itself.

There were several stories of interest that I should mention printed within the pages of this ten issue series. Probably the most important that I should mention is that it was the last appearances of such Charlton 1960's heroes such as "The Blue Beetle", "The Question", "Captain Atom" (the cover which featured him, No. 7, shown ABOVE), and "Nightshade".

Dan Reed did the art chores for all save "Nightshade", which was both written & drawn by Bill Black (of AC Comic's reknown). Benjaman Smith wrote all of the stories for those characters. They were so-so tales and not that impressive, but at least, it was really nice to see Charlton give them all one last shot.

Other issues gave us such as Arn Saba's first app. of "Neil The Horse" (in issue #2; a character that enjoyed a lengthly run by Renegade Press), "Rocket Rabbit" by Mark Armstrong (also in No.2), work by both Gary Wray and Gary Kato in #3 (you may recalled "Mr. Jigsaw" which ran in Charlon's Scary Tales #38 as well as a title of his own, plus other work by Kato published by Ocean Comics), Martin L. Greim's "Thunder Bunny" in issues #'s 6 & 10 (a character later on published by Warp Graphics), and "some" Gene Day artwork in issue #9.

So...No.'s 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 & 10 are the most desirable of this set. Seven out of ten issues having something worthwhile isn't a bad average. I'm afraid issues #'s 4 ("The Vanguards"), 5 ("Warhund", a barbarian tales with a somewhat interesting style of artwork), and 8 ("weird & scary" stories), weren't up to par with the rest of the issues, but even so, for the completist, worth picking up just for a set.

At this time in Charlton's publishing history they were willing to try about anything just to stay afloat. It wouldn't be too much longer until the company finally disappeared. But this was a very good effort for them before they did and well-worth the effort to add to anyone's collections. Overall, I give this series a "B+".


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