Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Boys from Derby: "Valley of Death" by Paul Kirchner

Greetings, Groove-ophiles! Paul Kirchner, best known for his work in Heavy Metal, High Times, and Sports Illustrated for Kids was, indeed, once a Boy from Derby. One of his very best for Charlton was originally published in Scary Tales #2 (July 1975). To moi, "Valley of Death" is like a four-color episode of The Twilight Zone. Such a cool tale (a cowboy has a literal showdown with Death), and what an ending! Are you ready to slap leather with the Grim Reaper?
Cover art by Tom Sutton


  1. Originally drawn as an art sample back in '73, this was sort of the prototype for Kirchner's Dope Rider character, who premiered in the Harpoon at the invitation of the editor who liked the image of the skeleton cowboy. Dope Rider went on to feature in several issues of High Times. Fans of psychedelic storytelling might want to check it out; it's amazing stuff.

  2. Man, this makes me want to play Deadlands!

  3. I remember reading this story when it first came out. It always impressed me. The storytelling is very cinematic and could be storyboards for a short film.

    I have to say I really enjoy reading anything out of Charlton. I recall a panel (it's on Youtube) where one of the panelists mentioned that his local drugstore never sold anything but Charlton comics because they always sold out. That's all I ever bought as a kid. Didn't get into marvel or dc until later and that was only for the artists. Keep up the good work.

  4. This art was during the mini flowering Charlton was experiencing in the mid 70s when they were publishing E-Man and Doomsday+1 and employing such talents as Byrne, Sutton, Zeck and Staton. They were even generating fan buzz, a rarity for the boys from Derby in the age of Marvel dominance. I love the Charlton comics from this time with their earnest attempts at quality and their beautiful painted covers.



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