COVER TUNES 70: Charlton Horror – Part 2

 

Welcome back, hunters! After last week’s 69 special, we get back to the unheralded Bronze Age horror covers of Charlton. In my first segment two weeks ago in Cover Tunes #68: The Ones We Skip, I ran across too many unbelievable books to cover in one article. The kind words and excitement many of you shared (along with my own excitement for them), created the need to revisit my second set of faves, this week.

As I always state and re-state, like any other Bronze Age book, these are going to run you a bit more scratch in higher grades since they are so much scarcer in that condition. However, these Charlton books have been largely forgotten and in mid-grades, most of these books can be found in dollar bins without too much diligence. Thus, if you like them as much as I do and want to hunt them down, it should be relatively cheap to do so and a lot of fun when you do find them hiding in a long-forgotten corner of a longbox.

I hope you like these as much or more than those from Part 1. Let’s dive in…

 

Beyond the Grave #4 (1975 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – February, 1976

ARTIST: Bob Hall

 

Also reused on #8, this cover is one of the most fantastic Charlton horror covers that ISN’T painted. It’s no wonder they used it twice. The shot coming in from behind the devil is a cool difference in perspective and adds an unexpected menace to the scene. The depiction of kids is very much the model DC used for their Bronze Age horror books such as House of Mystery and House of Secrets. In fact, Bernie Wrightson had a pinup on his own bulletin board that he drew that depicted Cain with a line that read, “Don’t forget to add the kids.” Presumably, this was a way to get around the comics code of the day; by placing children on the cover, it supposedly added an innocence to the composition. To me, it actually managed to make them feel even more sinister, somehow. But maybe that’s just me, I guess. Very similar to the Ghostly Tales #108 I featured in Cover Tunes #63: All Over the Map, I love them both for similar reasons.

 

All New Creepy Things #3 (1975 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – December, 1975

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

If you read Cover Tunes #68, you might recall that Sutton’s name came up a lot and rightly so. He does so again, this week because… well… he’s just that good. He was perhaps the most prolific artist for Charlton at the time. His painted style was a stand-out from the other art of the company and, perhaps, from his contemporaries, as well. He was just that good. This is one of his best and rivals even some of the best pre-code horror covers. The terror in this cover is palpable and is a testament to Charlton’s focus on great covers during this period. What I particularly like about this cover is that it is not dark. It utilizes light colors and still manages to be creepy.

 

Haunted #19 (1971 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – December, 1974

ARTIST: Pat Boyette

 

An absolutely amazing painted cover NOT by Tom F. Sutton. This fully paint-rendered beauty is particularly creepy and macabre, albeit a little dark. There is a delicate nature to the linework and a fantastic use of light that pops nicely off of the mostly black cover. The perspective is expertly done and the overall composition is one of dread. All-in-all, a masterful cover from a virtually forgotten artist who worked extensively throughout the late 60’s and into the 80’s on titles from DC, Warren, and (mostly) Charlton. Good luck finding this one in high grade, though.

 

Ghostly Tales (1966 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – March, 1978

ARTIST: Sanho Kim

 

For fans of books like Weird War Tales and that ilk, this cover should strike your fancy. The old ghost soldier motif is a classic one and it is done superbly, here. Sanho Kim is also not very much of a household name, but this cover feels classic. Fantastic layering and simplistic line work make this one a gem amongst the pack. I rarely come across this one, but when I do, it is relatively cheap.

 

Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library #26 (1973 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – March, 1976

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

A particular favorite Sutton cover of mine mostly because it is almost totally different from all of his other work. It has a Robert Hack feel to it and could easily have been on an Archie Horror cover and no one would have batted an eyelash. I specifically like the attention to the background which very much assists in creating mood and environment. Inasmuch, there is a ton of depth, here. Renamed from just “Haunted” after issue #20, this series is full of amazing covers regardless of whether it is just “Haunted” or “Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library.” Do yourselves the favor of checking out the entire run.

 

Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library #23 (1973 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – September, 1975

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

Man, this is just eerie and evil. Back to the painted style for Sutton, this may be his best cover, ever. So much delicate detail and intricacy, a superb use of light source and just a magnificently striking composition, all around. That face only a mother could love on this maniacal ghoul and such a twisted and hauntingly monstrous image. This one could give you actual nightmares. Another that’s tough to find in high grade.

 

Monster Hunters #8 (1975 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – November, 1976

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

I know, I know… ANOTHER Sutton (I did warn you) and one so similar in layout and subject matter to the Baron Weirwulf’s Haunted Library #26, above. However, it strikes quite differently showcasing just how much of an artistic chameleon Sutton really was. This one has a fluidity to it and sketch-like quality that really doesn’t show up on any of his other covers. Additionally, the color palette is much brighter than usual for Sutton and, as such, it really pops in a much different and effective way.

 

Scary Tales #2 (1975 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – October, 1975

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

Sure, why not ONE more Sutton for the road, right? For fans of Western-edged horror like Jonah Hex, this one should hit home. I ran across this one in a bin, recently, and have been holding it back since then for this article. I think it is a worthy send-off to this series and I hope you like it as much as I do. Great action shot (no pun intended) and expert depth… Oh, and there’s a big-ass skull. Win, win!

 

*****

QUICK HITS

*****

 

I didn’t want to feature too many covers from the same series, but these other two from “Haunted” could not be ignored. Thus, I’m including them as quick hits, this week.

 

Haunted #6 (1971 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – June, 1972

ARTIST: Steve Ditko

 

Couldn’t pass up a supernatural Ditko cover. Too good. Too classic.

 

Haunted #20 (1971 Series)

PUBLISHED: Charlton Comics – February, 1975

ARTIST: Tom F. Sutton

 

Remind anyone of Zinn the Monstrum from Monstress? Maybe it’s just me. A classic terror cover, nonetheless.

 

*****

 

With that, I leave you all for yet another week. I really hope you enjoyed this week’s choices and that there was a little something in here for everyone. Drop a comment and let me know what you thought. Next week, I give you the other half of “Skin.” Until then, be well, thanks for reading as always and happy hunting.

 

 

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