Charlton Comics started in 1946 and went on until 1985. The company covered a broad range of comic style and did not seem to stick with a main style. For example the printed War Comics, Horror Comics, Cartoon Comics, Comedy Comics, Superhero Comics, Kung Fu Comics, Action Adventure Comics, Romantic Comics and Science Fiction Comics.
Charlton and DC both produced some excellent romance titles for a while in the 1950's, 60's and 70's. However, for whatever reason, it seemed like the romance artwork was at it's peak with both companies from about 1958/1959 to 1965/1966. Charlton's romance titles during this period were: Brides in Love, I Love You, Just Married, My Secret Life, Romantic Secrets, Romantic Story, Sweetheart Diary, Sweethearts, Teen-Age Confidential Confessions, Teen-Age Love and Teen Confessions. While it is true that most readers of romance comics claim that DC's art was superior to that of Charlton, such is a matter of personal opinoin. The author of this paragraph and fan of romance comic art is of the view that from the late 1950's to the mid 1960's, Charlton's romance titles were just as good as those from DC and probably a shade better.Top Charlton Heroes
DC Comics claims to have acquired the rights to several characters from Charlton Comics who made significant appearances in the Crisis on Infinite Earths story arc. During the Crisis, these heroes came from a reality known as Earth-4 and became merged with the New Earth after the Crisis and part of the eventual retcon of the DC Universe. The Charlton heroes from Earth-4 that appeared in the Crisis included Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Nightshade, Peacemaker, JudoMaster, Thunderbolt and the Question. Not every hero was bought by DC Comics. One such hero was Mercury Man. He was a hero from a post apocalyptic planet Mercury.
Then In 1996 Roger Broughton, owner of Sword In Stone Productions, purchased the rights to the remaining Charlton Comics and characters (the Fightin’ 5, Gunmaster & Bullet Boy, and Atomic Rabbit, and after being bought from Fawcett, Don Winslow) that had not been bought by DC comics, who now own the rights to most of Charlton’s superheroes. Later he also bought the rights to the titles and characters of the old ACG comics group ( Magicman, John Force: Magic Agent, Nemesis, Herbie “the Fat Fury” Popnecker, the Hooded Horseman, Cowboy Sahib, and Commander Battle and his Atomic Sub.)
In 2002 he changed the name of his company to the "Charlton Media Group". Since then he has announced attempts to revive the various titles and characters that he owns, but so far nothing new has come of it other than a number of reprints of Charlton and ACG material in Europe, and the licensing of the rights to produce new Nemesis, Magicman and Herbie stories to Dark Horse as yet the other characters remain untouched.
Charlton's Greatest Heroes
So, many of Charlton's characters were bought by DC Comics that the Top Charlton Characters list to the left of the page is very inaccurate. Many of Charlton's more famous heroes are not attributed to Charlton and are instead attributed to DC. This leaves Charlton's greatest characters in the dark.
It should also be noted that because of Charlton's Large and diverse variety that they did not have a large pantheon of heroes. Now that is compared to companies like DC Comics and Marvel Comics. They did have several heroes however that made up a cool list. Many of these heroes went on to have a big legacy in the DC Universe. Below is a list of Charlton's more famous Characters in alphabetical order.
Blue BeetlesTed Kord - Blue Beetle
There is probably no hero more loved in all of Charlton Comics than the Blue Beetle. Charlton bought the rights to the original Blue Beetle Dan Garret from Fox Comics. This eventually (in a way) kept him out of the Public Domain unlike his counterparts Samson and the Flame from the same publisher.
Despite the popularity of the original Blue Beetle, Charlton completely rebooted the character. He had different powers, origin, occupation, secondary characters and even his last name had a different spelling with an extra t. Unfortunately for the character he was not as popular after the reboot as he was before so to solve the problem they decided to reboot the character again. This time Dan was killed off and Ted Kord became the next Blue Beetle. Ted Kord was created by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko.
When DC bought the rights to the characters they bought both Dan Garrett (with two t's) and Ted Kord and continued on this the story instead of starting over with the original Dan Garret (with one t). This technically means that the Dan Garret (with one t) is suppose to be in public domain but it is difficult to clarify with name similarities and so not much has been done with it. Dynamite Entertainment revamp the character and called him Scarab. They also used his sidekick Sparky who is in Public Domain.
Captain AtomCaptain Atom - Costumes
Captain Atom was created for Charlton Comics also by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko in Charlton Comics his name was Allen Adam when he was bought out by DC comics his name was changed to Nathaniel Christopher Adam. His costume was also changed several times. There were two three main costumes however and one of them may have been a printing mistake.
In the first issue Captain Atom has a blue costume on the inside of the book but a gold one on the cover. He did then wear the gold costumes for quite a while with small variations until he went to the blue and red costume with the silver arms. It wasn't until he went to DC that his costume changed to the mostly silver costume he wears today
E-Man and Nova Cane
E-Man and Nova Cane are two heroes that were not purchased by DC but have been written about in comic companies like First Comics and Comico. The characters were created by Nikola Cuti and Joe Stanton. E-Man was a hero along the lines of Plastic Man. He was suppose to be more comical than a traditional hero. His girlfriend eventually became a hero as well with the same powers as E-Man. In many ways Nova overshadowed the main hero of the books even when she wasn't a superhero.
Judo Master and TigerTiger and Judo Master
Judo Master was created by Joe Gill and Frank McLaughlin. Judo master was a World War II vet that save a man's daughter while at was in the specific and is taught judo by the grateful father. Judo Master eventually gets a sidekick named Tiger. Judo Master was another of the characters bought by DC Comics and has subsequently gone through many changes. Lately the new Judo Master is a woman named Sonia Sato.
Mr. Muscles was created by Jerry Siegel and was the star of a two issue self titles series. He may not have been one of the greatest Charlton characters but he did have a fortunate chance to have his own book even if it only lasted two issues. He only appeared in one issue after that.
Nature Boy like Mr. Muscles was also created by Jerry Siegel. Actually Nature Boy shares a lot with Mr. Muscles. Not only do they share the same creator, they were both fortunate enough to have a very small run in their own self titled comic.
Nightshade was only in a handful of Charlton Comics but she did have a powerful legacy in DC Comics. She was created by Joe Gill and Steve Ditko. In DC Comics Nightshade appeared in many issues of the Suicide Squad and Shadowpack. She has also gone through many evolutions that has made her a very popular hero.
Peacemaker first appeared in Charlton Comics as part of a team known as the Fighting 5. He then had his own series that lasted five issues. Peacemaker was created by Joe Gill and Pat Boyette and was completely rebooted in the DC Universe.
The Phantom is one of the oldest superheros ever and is considered to be the first by some. The Phantom first appeared two years before Superman, Batman and the Blue Beetle. Charlton picked up the hero and he was their longest running superhero series. He was created by Lee Falk.
QuestionQuestion, Phantom, Steel
The Question first appeared in Blue Beetle and was created by Steve Ditko. The Question was considered one of Charlton's bigger heroes even though he never had his own series. In DC Comics the Question became quite popular in his own title self titled comic and the Question Quarterly. The Question became popular again in the Justice League Unlimited cartoons and the 52 series where he died of cancer and passed the torch on to Renee Montoya.
Sarge Steel was created by Pat Musulli and made his first appearance in Sarge Steel #1. Sarge Steel was not an a typical hero and was private eye and Viet Nam veteran. His name and power came from his hand that was formed in a fist.
When Sarge Steel came to DC Comics his character became more entrenched as a government agent. He did a lot of work with Project X and the suicide squad. This has put him in a situation of being pitted against and worked for the more costumed superheroes.
Son of Vulcan
Son of Vulcan was also created by Pat Musulli with the help of penciler Bill Fraccio. Son of Vulcan was really Johnny Mann who was several injured in war and cursed the gods who allowed him to end up this way. His prayer/plea does not go unanswered as Vulcan himself arrives and tells him his troubles or not of the gods by the failures of man. Not only that but Vulcan gives him the power to fight for justice.
ThunderboltThunderbolt & Yang
Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt was created by Pete Morisi. Peter Cannon was an orphaned child who was raised by Tibetan monks. The monks were very grateful to Peter's parents
Yang was created by Joe Gill and Warren Sattler. Yang was more of a Kung Fu fighter and sometimes didn't fit the superhero mold to some. The truth is he wore a costume and set out to fight crime. He even wore a costume that was the same issue to issue.