Friday, November 2, 2018

The Grooviest Covers of All Time: Mike Zeck's Chilling Charlton Covers

Dig it, Groove-ophiles! When we think of the Groovy Age art of Magnificent Mike Zeck, we most often think of Master of Kung Fu (and post-Groovy Age Captain America, Punisher, and Secret Wars). Like many other super-stars of the late 20th Century (John Byrne, Joe Staton, Jim Aparo, and Don Newton, to name a few), some of Mighty Mike's earliest professional color comics work rolled off the printing presses at Charlton Comics in Derby, Connecticut. Here are the scary and stunning covers he produced from 1975 to 1977. Not nearly enough of 'em, but t'was about quality--not quantity! Enjoy!









11 comments:

  1. Those are some seriously great covers! ... and in a style I never would have recognized as Mike Zeck's! I've never seen them before. Thanks for posting.

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  2. Mike Zeck was great at drawing werewolves. I seem to remember a black & white Soloman Kane tale from Savage Sword of Conan i think, "the beast of torkertown" - great werewolf in that!

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  3. Wow... we still have half of these

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  4. Charlton Comics - people can trash talk them all they want, but they turned out fun horror stories for the monster kids of the time. Maybe their tales weren't over the top horror, but their horror comics could be compared to the horror movies shown on UHF channels on Friday nights and Saturday mornings, scary but not too scary, just right for younger horror fans, scary tales to tell around a campfire sort of scary.

    Thanks for helping to keep the Charlton tales from fading into obscurity, Groovy one.

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    1. Charlton occupied a strange place in my collection. Although clearly an inferior company in production values, they had enough talent to always draw me back. Two periods really stand out. The Giordano edited action hero line which had Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, Judomaster, Peacemaker, Sarge Steel and others and employed Aparo, McLaughlin, Ditko, Boyette. When Giordano jumped to DC he brought many of his stable of artists with him. We had many good years of Aparo on Batman, Aquaman and Phantom Stranger as a result. The second flowering was under George Wildman in the early 70s with great titles like E-Man, Vengeance Squad, Yang, the Phantom and Doomsday + 1. Here we met the output of Byrne, Layton, Sutton, Newton, Zeck, Staton. They, too, jumped ship to Marvel and DC when Charlton imploded. I consider many titles put out during these 2 periods as among the treasures of my collection.

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    2. Mike Zeck's covers and interiors were among the best of Charlton's renassaince under George Wildman. I like Zeck's Charlton work better than anything he did at Marvel. He used a thick line as evidenced on these covers that gave him a distinctive look. Plus he was a great inker of himself. When he drew Captain America and Master of Kung Fu, he considerably thinned his line and stopped inking himself. Neither was an improvement to the work seen here, although he remained in excellent artist.

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  5. Cool! I had no idea Mike Zeck did stuff for Charlton.

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  6. I have all of these issues. I loved Charlton Comics, and I grew up reading them. The "Ghost" titles were always my favorite things to buy, but I was a huge fan of DOOMSDAY +1, THE PHANTOM (especially Don Newton's issues), HERCULES, CAPTAIN ATOM, BLUE BEETLE, etc! I appreciate Charlton. They were DIFFERENT. Cheap paper, poor printing, and lousy production during the '70s, but I'd take a Charlton comic book over every single comic book being produced by Marvel and DC today. TRUTH.

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  7. And I loved E-MAN too! EMERGENCY! SPACE 1999! SIX BILLION DOLLAR MAN! So many fun comics!

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    1. E-Man was the best. 10 issues of comic book confectionery overlaying solid story-telling and real depth in the writing.

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  8. Thanks for posting these, Groove! I'd no awareness of Zeck's Charlton work, indeed my knowledge of Charlton is somewhat limited. Some great covers there...

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Note to "The Man": All images are presumed copyright by the respective copyright holders and are presented here as fair use under applicable laws, man! If you hold the copyright to a work I've posted and would like me to remove it, just drop me an e-mail and it's gone, baby, gone.

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