As we all know, when it came to the 1970s, the American comic book industry was dominated by two companies, Marvel and DC. Like the twin legs of the Colossus of Rhodes, they stood astride the harbour of four-colourdom sheltering us from the threat of boredom.
But, on the very same spinner racks where we found those comics, we'd occasionally discover other ones - comics published by companies far more obscure.
There were publishers like Dell and Gold Key who, in my limited experience of them, seemed to concentrate on publishing licensed properties like Star Trek or Ripley's Believe It Or Not. To be honest, they always felt a little too square for me and I rarely felt moved to buy any of their titles.
In more “mature” directions, there were Warren and Skywald. My only exposure to Warren was issue #30 of Vampirella. My only experience of Skywald was issue #17 of Nightmare which I found to be far too unpleasant for my enlightened tastes.
No. For me, the independents that did most to capture my imagination were Atlas and Charlton.
Atlas didn't last long but, mostly thanks to sheer ambition, made an indelible impression, even if 99% of their output was total rubbish.
But the independent mags I was always happiest to see – and read – were those published by Charlton.
Who could fail to thrill to The Many Ghosts of Dr Graves, Ghostly Haunts, or the inimitable Midnight Tales with Professor Coffin and his lovely niece Arachne?
With their not-quite-glossy covers and strange, ragged edges, Charlton comics had a look all of their own. The stories within, mostly centring on light horror and mystery, had a distinctive feel too; quirkier and more idiosyncratic than those of the Big Two.
But that's enough about me. What're your memories of Bronze and Silver Age independents? Were there any titles you bought regularly? Ones you didn't regularly buy but always wanted to? And who was your favourite independent publisher?
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
1 year ago