Everybody’s favourite underdog publisher had some ambitious plans for 1975. That summer, Charlton launched 3 new horror titles: Creepy Things, Monster Hunters and Scary Tales. I’ll be looking at first issues of the latter two, both cover dated August, 1975.
Scary Tales #1
Launched amid a relative horror frenzy amongst almost all comic book publisher (heck, even Archie was doing the Red Circle thing), it’s surprising that some of these Charlton titles found any fans at all. This one starts with a fun framing sequence drawn by Joe Staton as we are introduced to Countess Von Bludd. Things go downhill fast, however, as the first story about finding a vampire where you’d least expect is ruined by Sanho Kim art. I try to be open-minded about artwork, and count many of the lesser lights among my favourites, but I have never understood how Kim got work.
The second tale, ‘The Wedding Gift’ is an improvement and serves as the origin of Countess Von Bludd (did any other Charlton horror host have an origin story?). Who is the artist here? The signature looks like “Dementio”, but the GCD tells me its “Demetrio”. Either way, I don’t think I’ve seen that name outside a few Charlton book credits. It’s a little amateurish, but not bad at all. He adds some nice ‘drama’ to the story. Overall, this isn’t the worst Charlton horror book I’ve ever seen, but it’s far from the best. I am sure that the Countess’ legs are all that got anyone’s interest back in ’75.
Monster Hunters #1
This one also kicks off with a cool Tom Sutton cover, sullied by the silly picture of Colonel Whiteshroud. Then we have a nice Staton drawn framing sequence featuring a bit of flirting between the Colonel and Countess Von Bludd. The first story is pretty strong, written by Nicola Cuti. Wayne Howard’s art here is less detailed than usual, but he’s added some high energy Dikoesque panel, so it’s a fair trade.
The 2nd story is great, written by Joe Molloy (who?). It’s a great 4-page morality play concerning greed and mermaids. I’m sure this story has been told a dozen times, but this is likely the first time with fancy Pete Morisi art. Nice. The real treat here is the final story, which is the cover story. It takes place in Loch Ness, and our hero is a world-class cynic, apparently gainfully employed as a hoax detector. There’s a great twist ending that alludes to the ‘Hunter’ portion of the title. All in all, a much better first issue than Scary Tales, although Col. Whiteshroud’s legs never did much for the fanboys.
Groovy Christmases Past: 1974
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