Friday, April 25, 2008

Charlton Notebook: Scary Tales #38

We all know that Charlton books are full of surprises, but some are far more surprisey than others. This is a prime example of why I love Charlton. First, you'll notice that the cover feature "Mr. Jigsaw, Man of a Thousand Parts" may seem a bit out of place in a horror book. It seems that fine folks in Derby decided to have a handful of superhero try-outs mixed in with some horror reprints during this era (see issues #37 and #40 as well). While it may not mesh together all that well, the sum of its (thousand) parts is just fine. Let's start with our friend Mr. Jigsaw - a rather fun character with a fun origin. The mix of humour and action owes a debt to E-Man, but is also ahead of its time in some ways. In addition, I imagine that he's likely the first and only Maine-based supehero. I get the sense that this is left over inventory from the Charlton Bullseye series. I think that Mr. Jigsaw had a future - it's too bad he wasn't given much of a chance. Keeping more in line with the book's theme is a good Joe Molloy story drawn by Ditko about a Mummy's curse. The other story is a somewhat disjointed Gill/Boyette effort that didn't do much for me.

6 comments:

bob said...

The character did have a minor future, with a reprint of the SCARY TALES story and two more stories in a 1988 one-shot. The new stuff wasn't quite as good as the first story, but fun enough. Unfortunately, the "two-color" mentioned on the cover means its disconcertingly printed on blue paper.

benday-dot said...

I don't own any of those Mr. Jigsaw issues Scott, but I'm glad you blogged about them. There is a trifecta of disembodying (that can't be a word?) weirdos in the comic book world... that I know of. Was the first M. F. Enterprises' Captain Marvel? I have the second issue of that arcane, and seriously bizarre, character's series. If Mr. Jigsaw (great name!) comes next then the strangest of all must come from that master of esoteric backup material... none other than Steve Ditko himself. Remember, Pacific Presents #1 and #2 and the not quite legendary Missing Man? This character must take the cake for the uttermost in outre comic book conceptions. Backing up the late and great Dave Stevens' first two Rocketeer stories Ditko's initial chronicle of the "The Missing Man Meets the Queen Bee" still haunts me to this day as the maddest ever repository of comic book stortytelling and the greatest besides of Ditko all time WTF's (and he's had a lot of them!) Thanks Scott... I'm definitely going to be looking out for those few Mr. Jigsaw books. Craig.

Scott M said...

Bob - thanks for the info. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

Craig - by pure coincidence, I also have an example of both CM and Missing Man. I think that i may have reviewed the Queen Bee story over at CBR. If not, I will soon because I agree that it's all sheer lunacy.

Jeremy A. Patterson said...

Charlton did plenty of odd superhero tryouts during the 1981-83 era: Issue #1 of Charlton Bullseye had a Ted Kord Blue Beetle/Question team-up, issue #2 had the heroic funny animal Cap'n Catnip, issue #4 had an all-girl superteam called the Vanguards, ThunderBunny appeared in both CB #6 & #10, & issue #7 had solo Captain Atom & Nightshade tales!

J.A.P.

Aaron Bias said...

I know this is an old post, so you may never read this, but I still have this comics from when I bought it as a kid. I thought it was really weird at the time that there was a superhero story in Scary tales. I have kept my battered copy for years, often musing what would have happened if Mr. jigsaw had been picked up.

macsnafu said...

Mr. Jigsaw sounds interesting--I'm almost sorry I've missed it for so long--but it's not quite as original as all that. There was a Harvey superhero called Jigsaw in the 60's, created by none other than Joe Simon. Of course, Simon's Jigsaw was really more of a stretching hero than someone who truly came apart in pieces, but still...