Posts Tagged ‘Archie MLJ Universe’

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Trading comics as a kid was an art form. In a sense it was the earliest form of childhood poker, you had to know when to hold em and know when to fold em. In my own mind I felt I was a pretty good shark in this game.I was one of a few of my friends that had a coveted Overstreet Price Guide which allowed me a savants wisdom when giving the true value of my comics and of that of the individuals of which I was about to trade with.My trading selection was my usual fare of 80s DC titles but in the opposite corner my cousin who I was trading with had an unusual treasure on his side of the bed which doubled as our trading stand. It was an issue of The Fly a title I had never heard of! The publisher was Archie of all things but how could this be, this was a Superhero Title!! I glanced over the cover trying not to look directly at the book or even look interested in it but it was screaming to me..I had to have this book! So as the trades went on the regular fare was exchanging hands I swapped some Batman for some Firestorm, and Blue Devil but I still wanted that Fly issue. Not wanting to show my hand I asked him was there any other title in my pile he was interested in and fortunately there was. So I went for the kill…his selection was valued at meager 5 bucks in the Overstreet bible so I told him I would trade it for a Green Lantern Book …and throw in that Fly book just to even out the dollar amount!

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I tossed his requested book to his side of the bed and collected The Green Lantern issue and reached to get the issue of The Fly only to be shut down..His hand stopped cold over the top of the issue blocking my collecting hand from making it officially mine. My cousin told me a story of his recent vacation in Maine to which he picked up this “Rare” book and that book was not going up for trade! I internally panicked…then it dawned on me I could use the Overstreet Guide to show that the trade was a good value. As I thumbed through the pages I found the Fly #1 and it was worth $1 …Cover Price!! Practically worthless in 1984! Surely he would bend knowing that this book was a lump of coal in his collection but to me it secretly was a diamond! He didnt budge…he was on to me. This book was from the U.S.A.!! This wasnt available in small town Clarenville Newfoundland..this was from the United States Of America which carried a great deal of cache back in the day! I came out on the losing end of the trade that day as I gave up one of my coveted Blue Devil issues and god knows what else to claim this issue of the Fly..I know I had been duped but in the end I came away with what I wanted so it was short term pain.

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The glorious Steranko cover art and beautiful interiors this issue of The Fly was a revelation! My god there existed life outside of Marvel and DC!! Now I felt relatively in sync with the comics industry and bought many publishers like Charlton, Harvey, and Archie I thought I knew it all there was to know. How did I miss the existence of  The Red Circle imprint Aka The Archie Adventure Series I began sifting through the ads inside and my Overstreet Price Guide to find out what titles existed and there were a ton of them. I eventually discovered that these characters were around since the Golden Age!! This was prior to the era of the internet kids..it was not as simple as a google search!!

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The characters were pure Golden Age! Names like The Shield, The Fly, The Comet, The Black Hood, The Jaguar, and The Web were fascinating to me! Not only was this my first introduction to them but they seemed like an elusive mystery to me and the fact that their recent (80s!!) adventures could not be purchased on the comic spinner racks in my home town only heightened my interest! In fact the characters were so steeped in comics lore that their first appearances dated back as far as 1940!

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In the pages of Pep Comics #1 exploded a very familiar looking character The Shield!! This United States patriotic character was one of the first of his kind and pre-dated our generations super patriot Captain America! Created by Irv Novick (Artist) and Harry Shorten (Writer) The Shield was born of the times and World War 2 fascination. Amazingly this would also be the first appearance of another one of the soon to be Mighty Crusaders The Comet in a single issue!!

Around the same time in Oct 1940 also debuted The Black Hood in Top Notch Comics #9. The Black Hood was an interesting character. The character would be played by a number of individuals who would take up the notion of vigilante justice after each previous Hood would either die.. or pass on the mantel of the hood to the next individual. The Hood itself would be “cursed” as nearly all its wearers would die passing it like a proverbial torch to another bearer. The “hood ” itself went from a stereotypical heroic cowl style of mask to a full on executioners hood. The Hood was the one character in the Crusaders who would “Cross The Line” into killing his opponents in the name of justice. Interestingly when the Red Circle brand resurfaced in the early 80s the Black Hood would be the character that would regress the most costume wise while other Crusaders sported updated flashy modern costumes. The Black Hood would debut on a Motorcycle in biker leathers and a tight leather “Mugger” mask.

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Later that year in 1940 creators Joe Simon and Jack “King” Kirby famously created a character strikingly similar to The Shield, the one and only Captain America. Fortunately  this was not the era of expensive lawsuits so Cap would go on to mega fame unscathed by class action lawsuits! Clearly they had an eye on what MLJ was doing as they went on to create a Crusader themselves.. The Fly!! He 1st appeared in the late 50s making his full debut in Adventures Of The Fly #1 in 1959.

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The Fly had a very appealing design that in no coincidence looked very much like Blue Beetle in design. The individual that would wear the Fly suit was  Capital Cities crack lawyer Tommy Troy. Tommy  was able to fly, communicate with insects via his telepathic abilities, use size manipulation among others. By night Tommy became the Fly, fighting the criminal underbelly of Capital City!  He also frequently had his own female counterpart like many in the day.. Fly-Girl! He was also a hero similar to the Blue Beetle (Charlton’s Steve Ditko version of Beetle… Ted Kord) in that he has sizable Eye bubbles and they share a gun which many heroes did not during the 70’s and 80’s especially. The Archie run of the Fly is one of the best MLJ hero books they pubished as Ditko took the reigns in the titles last half (Issues 5-8) of publication for Archie and made The Fly a damaged defamed  Hero on the run! Great stuff kids you need to track down the 9 issue run which was a lot of fun under Archie’s Red Circle imprint!!

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They were then joined by The Web in 1942 created by John Cassone for MLJ. This college criminology professor turned superhero turned his investigative skills into a crime fighting career. Using his College smarts he was able to profile and defeat criminals for the sheer enjoyment of one upping the criminal element. The Web was a character  whose creators gave the unusual spin of being one of the first comic characters who essentially was a domesticated superhero that was for all intents and purposes was  “Whipped”. The key trait to this and following versions would be his married life impacting the way he performed as a hero. Upon discovering that her husband was running around stopping crime in spandex John finally succumbs to the marital pressures and retires leaving a life of crime fighting to deal with the battles of home life!

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The next incarnation of The Web is the one I am most familiar with as the original webs son John Raymond Jr. returned to comics in Fly-Man #36 under most famously Superman’s Co-Creator Jerry Siegel. Humourously the concept of the steroetypical “Nagging Wife” would return but went a step further. As John took on the criminal underbelly as the Web his wife would unbeknownst to him would don a super suit as Pow-Girl and join him on his exploits without revealing her identity to him!! Fortunately this version of the Web would drop all the silver age silliness and this Web would re-debut in the 80s under Archie’s Red Circle banner and would become my favorite of all the Mighty Crusaders!

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The Shield, The Web, The Fly, Fly Girl , The Comet, The Jaguar, and The Black Hood and many others during various incarnations of the group would all Unite under one collective Super Powered group known as The Mighty Crusaders! Archie seemed to have nailed the Superhero concept or at least had great clay to work from with the MLJ Characters!  I loved every issue I uncovered. It didnt matter the condition wether they were torn, stained, or even coverless I just wanted my Red Circle comics!!

Mighty Crusaders Cover Gallery?? Okay..we got you covered!! Computer…load Archie Adventure Series Red Circle Mighty Crusaders!!

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Its no secret that I was a fan of action figures as is well  documented on this blog..when my old nemesis Remco would adapt the Crusaders into Action figure form. Check out my previous article on DC’s Warlord figures also notoriously by Remco. The company did not have a history of making “Quality” toys instead they relied on working from established concepts popular at the time and doing something “Similar”. Yes if He-man was popular Remco created the line of “Conan” or “Warlord” figures which were not coincidentally clones of the He-Man toyline. LJN Struck gold with their WWF license to create Professional Wrestling figures and Remco went with AWA Mat Mania figures. This time Mego was red hot with this Worlds Greatest Heroes SuperHero figure line and low and behold… Remco grabbed the semi obscure Mighty Crusaders action figures!

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Remco created eight figures in total and had an equal roster of good guys and bad guys..4 on each side to be exact! the line up were as below!

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  • The Comet. Prior to Marvels X-Man, Cyclops there was the Comet..that visor is something multiple characters would come to rip off!!

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  • The Fox. A cool design and character. The Fox was always one of the coolest heroes from the Archie Adventure line and was their answer to Black Panther / Batman..but not as interesting as either.

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  • The Shield. Its Captain Ameri…no wait..its the Shield. Even though this character may have influenced multiple American based heroes later in comics history he is still the single greatest design of the Crusaders!

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  • The Web. Always loved the Web!! Loved the color scheme and Web cape! I gurantee you , One year soon on Halloween you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be the Web..

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  • The Brain Emperor. The bad guys were very uninspired as is the case with the poorly designed Brain Emperor. Alan Moore himself would not have been able to save this Mort and his goons!

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  • The Buzzard. Every universe has their “Bird” villain..they also managed to snatch all the cool bird names. With The Falcon and The Vulture we get the sinister Buzzard!! Doesnt work at all does it??

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  • The Eraser. Despite the very cool double bandolier, the only thing the Eraser “erased” were several plates of cheeseburgers..That said.. he is the happiest villain I have ever seen!

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  • The Sting. By god Remco loved their skull faced villains!! In the era of Masters Of The Universe and the patriarch of the Skull Face.. Skeletor…is the reason why we allow jabronies like Sting to exist. That said..as a kid, Skull faces ruled and chances are this would have been my first bad-guy if I had a choice If I know “kid me” well enough!

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The comic ads got me so excited to get my hands on these great looking toys. Remco to their defense always got some of the best artists to design their comic book ads as well as their packaging! With Remco’s Sgt. Rock for example Remco scored the legendary Joe Kubert to draft their in comic ads as well as figure packaging!!

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They would score again with the great Steve Ditko taking the reigns with the Crusaders!! Ditko drew the wonderful ads that baited me originally and scored the packaging on the toys as well!! The problem however was the product that was delivered. The figures themselves had a certain charm but upon further inspection they were woefully impractical. There was something very weird about their hip structure. Their legs appeared shorter, almost baby like on some figures giving them a very odd look visually. As well, Remco..stealing a page out of Marvels Secret Wars toys, each toy came with a shield? I am still wondering what the fascination with the shield as a accessory was in the day?? That said with all their quirks and 80s weirdness The Crusaders were a win for this Hero!!

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The Heroes themselves were pretty well designed. I would kill for a Web figure! The Shield looked great with vibrant colors and I even gave his shield a pass.I had no idea who the Fox was but the figure was excellent. The Comet however was a comedy of errors. Not only did he come with a Shield but he also came with a bandolier and gun!!? This Comet was packin heat folks!! These toys were amazingly rare in my hometown. The odd figure would appear in a toy box or two in my travels to friends houses but no one I knew had the “set” or even a significant amount enough to say the collected them.

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The amount of Mighty Crusaders merchandise on the market though small by today’s standards, was surprising for a franchise many people today outside of retro fanatics (Like myself and many of the folks reading this post!) whom may never had heard of the property. One of the coolest items was the rare Mighty Crusaders Board Game! It sported a very heroic box art! The fun didnt stop there as the Crusaders were splashed all over the typical fare of the era such as water guns, disc saucer guns, walkie talkies, things that today would be considered dollar store toys! *Merchandise photos are all compliments of our friends at one of my all time favorite Retro sites  Plaid Stallions visit them and enjoy their absolute wealth of nostalgic riches!!

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I was however disappointed to find that there was no Mighty Crusaders Doctor Kit which was a trope in the dollar toy industry that every franchise took advantage of. Missed opportunity? However not to be disappointed we did get  very cool Crusader stunt cycles and parachute figures!

With a property that seemed so viable with several comics series, and plenty of merchandise to go with it how is it that the majority of the  World do not remember the MLJ characters? How is it that these characters are not household names? Well as fond of memories as I have for these characters , comics and merchandise the fact is that the line did not get over with the masses. The direct market format for Archie’s Adventure line went against the mass media publication market like they did with their digests and floppys sold at anywhere magazines were sold to a more niche distribution which hurt the line. Would we be telling a different story had the Archie Adventure Line been as readily available as Archie’s Digest series on every Supermarket Shelf? I feel they would have. The same goes for the toyline. Remco was a decent toymaker that sadly did not have the deep international penetration of Kenner or Mattel as a result many never even knew The Crusaders ever existed on a toy shelf. So both the comics and the toys suffered from limits on distribution but still manged to deliver a competitive product certainly comparable with the toyfare of the time.

The Archie Adventure Series came out of the gate roaring. Many forget that Archie Comics lured some of the industries most acclaimed artists in the business including Jack “King” Kirby, Steve Ditko , Jim Steranko just to name a few to work on these books!Would it be enough with the comics industry on the verge of the big comics boom of the 1990s?? Archie brought multiple titles to comics shelves and the world opened their doors once again to the classic MLJ hero universe!!

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My personal favorite of the lot was The All New Adventures Of The Mighty Crusaders that lasted 13 issues. See The Cover Gallery above kids for this one! This title came second place for the longest run of issues in the line and was probably the most action packed of all the titles as it featured all Crusaders and even some new ones in a full on team book.

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Blue Ribbon Comics 1-14 This one was a rehash of the old MLJ series from 1939 of the same name which was essentially a anthology series which told new stories from alternating characters in the universe. This edition from the Archie Adventure series was the longest lasting title in the line! It alternated stories of the Mighty Crusaders individual exploits. Mostly it featured The Fly and The Black Hood. The Art was probably the best of all series in the line and featured purposely an alternating roster of creative talent including Kirby, Ditko, Buckler, to name a few!

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The Fly 1-9 My favorite of the solo books! The Fly featured beautiful Steranko Covers as featured above as well as interior art from one of comics masters Steve Ditko for the last issues of the series. The adventures of the fly were very standard comics fare with one and done villain of the week stories that were wrapped up in a neat bow by the end of twenty something pages just how I loved it as a kid!

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Lancelot Strong: The Shield. This book had an identity crisis. It began as Lancelot Strong the Shield for issues 1-2 , Then changed into The Shield Steel Sterling for issue 3 before switching altogether into just simply Steel Sterling for its final 4 issues of its existence beginning with issue 5. It also had the dubious distinction of sharing two brands as well. It began under the imprint Red Circle before switching out to just the Archie Adventure Series on the 5th issue that also marked the final title change.Steel Sterling was a basic solo Adventure series which served a a bridge between the old MLJ universe and the new Archiverse.

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Steel Sterling (Previously Lancelot Strong for issues 1-3) Switches to Steel Sterling with issues 4-7.This title was the ugly step-child of the group in that it was the one title that seemed to change every issue and lacked direction and consistency. As individual issues this title was okay ..as a collected work Steel Sterling was a tough road to hoe!

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The Original Shield was another short lived title that ran 4 issues that served as the origin story of the Original Shield. This title mirrored closest early era Captain America as The Shield battled Nazi’s all the while being a super patriot.Ironically he did NOT have a shield when it counted!! The title was much better than the newer incarnation of the Shield as well had so great Dick Ayres artwork. Worth a look!

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As it would come to pass.. The Archie Adventure line was a failure and all things Mighty Crusaders disappeared from comic spinner racks, and toy shelves. By 1985 the MLJ Heroes were resigned to long boxes in the quarter bins of the 80s basement dwelling comics shops and the bottoms of toy-boxes…and that was the final breathe for this classic group of heroes…UNTIL..

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In 1991…The Archie Adventure Series Heroes were all re-imagined under comics super power DC Comics to form their brand new imprint IMPACT!

But THAT friends..is a story for another day…TO BE CONTINUED…

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Welcome all to the 2nd volume of Super Blog Team Up. It is the Satellites privilege and honor to welcome several new blogs to our ever-growing roster! The Super Blog Team unite several times a year to bring the Blogosphere  the biggest unified exploration of any one particular topic related to our favorite genre…Comics! For those new to the Satellite..welcome and for those faithful readers who often frequent our orbiting time traveling hulk of technology strap in!  As we say here at the Satellite..Welcome aboard Heroes..today the Satellite takes us back to 1985…with a topic that sends shivers down the spins of comic continuity and universes and as well as us the fans..RETCONS! Be warned..what you think you know..maybe greatly altered in a moments notice. Without further adieu..

Transmission Restored: Feb 19 2014

*STOP Faithful Satellite Subscribers* Before reading this transmission it is imperative that you review this document to prepare yourself for the consequences of what we are about to encounter.

Click below first.

Charlton Action Heroes: A Count-Down To Retcon

If you have already absorbed this information then proceed this caution.

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Monitoring Systems online. Initiating System Restore. Restoring data bases. Possible damage sustained during Retcon.

Begin Transmission: Feb 19 2014

Welcome back Satellite Subscribers, forgive the temporary system interruption a Retcon will do that to a Satellite. Forget what you know, even things that look similar are not as they were. If you were a fan of comics in the Golden and Silver Age then you were in on the joke that was continuity. As decades came and went so did story telling sensibilities. A lot can happen in 50 years worth of storytelling. With my ever-growing stack of comic books the 1980s were as readers of The Satellite know , were my favorite era for just about everything. in the 1980s. DC was about to embark on a reboot as such. I loved all comics DC was primarily my favorite company and it was a big surprise to me when they injected their universe with heroes from The Charlton Publishing company.

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Near the back of my book shelf were my well-worn issues of Charlton Comics. In my home town it was rare to find any Charlton material but on that rare occasion when I would venture into the dusty depths of some out port Convenience stores Charlton treasures were uncovered and I snapped them up every time. In their tattered gritty, cheap newsprint format Charlton Comics were different from the norm published by the big two of DC and Marvel. Some of their books like their Horror titles were decidedly more adult in theme. They had licences like The Bionic man and Hanna Barbera that were unusual for a small publisher to gain these rights. The ads in the books were even more mature!  I loved reading the stories of Blue Beetle, E-Man, Captain Atom Hercules, and Judo Master! Suddenly the Charlton Heroes that  I had read sporadically for years were being reborn alongside my DC favorites like Batman, and Green Lantern! In 1985..DC and Charlton universes collided and the result..was the ultimate Retcon in comic book history!

Evolution Of A Company…

How did Batman not age over the course of 50 years? Why did Robin take 30 plus years to graduate from  school ? How did the lone survivor of Krypton, Superman, suddenly have a cousin Super Girl, as well as Krypto The Superdog, hell even DC even had Super Powered Horses and a Monkeys?

How did Flash meet The Original Flash Jay Garrick in the classic 1960s story “The Flash Of Two Worlds”? Why did Green Lanterns origin change several times without explanation over the years? How did heroes that existed in another Super Hero universe (and Publisher!) suddenly appear within the DC Universe? Even DC and their writing team had written themselves into a proverbial corner.

A Flash Of Two Worlds were a reason stories like these began to present a problem!

Thus was born the Multiverse. A series of parallel Earths that crossed over from time to time and explained away all the weirdness and continuity errors. If something didn’t make sense storyline wise it could now be explained away as having happened on a parallel world! With every backdoor though comes overkill. Earths 1 and 2 became Earths 3, and 4. We had Earth X, Earth S and so it goes. What started as a way to explain away continuity issues and to maintain the integrity of the Golden age, spiraled into a confusing mess even DC themselves could not get out of. After 50 years of publishing no one had ever taken the time to make sense out of 50 years of stories. There were stories of value in every era however how did it all make sense in the bigger picture? Easy answer..it simply didn’t. What was important..what was not? What was considered cannon and what were considered “What If” stories? There was no definitive answer. That is until writer Marv Wolfman of DC  took on the task of making sense of 50 years of DC Comics continuity.

With so many stories interwoven into the fabric of DCs continuity making the decision on what should stay and what should go was not an easy chore. In 1985 Marv Wolfman alongside penciller George Perez , Jerry Ordway and (editor /inker)Dick Giordano embarked on a 12 issue Maxi series known as Crisis on Infinite Earths. Crisis was intended to eliminate the concept of the “Multi-verse” and streamline DC continuity once and for all. It is best known for the demise two key characters in the DC Universe Barry Allen (Flash) and Super Girl. For our purposes it is not the deaths that is the thrust of our discussion it is rather the inclusion a group of heroes RETCONNED into DC continuity by way of Crisis. That group of characters..The Charlton Action Hero Universe! How did an entire universe simply get absorbed into DC? With great difficulty filled with twists and turns that one might not have expected.

Crisis Casualities..

DC stalwart Paul Levitz of Legion Of Super-Heros fame was on of those responsible for bringing the Charlton Universe as a “gift” of sorts to his colleague and  now Managing Editor Dick Giordano. Giordano a former member of The Charlton Action Hero creative team who carries a special place in his heart for the characters in the Charlton Universe. The Universe consisted of several Ditkionian era heroes such as Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) , Captain Atom, The Question, and Night Shade. It was easy to see why the company would have interest in acquiring theses properties. Others like Peace Maker, Sarge Steel, The Judo Master and Peter Cannon Thunderbolt would be added later as well.

Charlton Heroes Come to DC sharing the cover with DC icon Superman!

It was decided that the introduction of Charlton’s Action Heroes into the DC Universe of the 1980s would occur through The Crisis event. All Earths of The Multiverse would be merged into one Earth..including the Charton Universe. In short all alternate Earths such as Earths 1,2,4, Earth X, Earth S, just to name a few are suddenly slowly merging cosmically and in doing so, some worlds such as Earth 3 are systematically destroyed as a result of the event. The Charlton Universe for our readers purposes was known as Earth 4. Before I confuse our reading audience with the already impossible to understand Crisis / Earths debacle I present to you a Crisis for Dummies if you will.

EARTH X :

Earth X is a world created to explain the existence of War Time characters as it is set in a world where World war 2 did not end. Characters included the likes of The Freedom Fighters, The Black Hawks, and even Plastic Man!

EARTH S:

Earth S was a world created to include the purchased characters from several defunct companies most notably Fawcett publications. Most notable of the character set were Captain Marvel (Shazam) and the Marvel Family, as well as the Squadron Of Justice!

EARTH ONE: DC PROPER.

Earth One was simply OUR Earth. It included Silver and Bronze age versions of the DC Universe that existed up to Pre- Crisis events.

EARTH TWO:

Earth-Two was the reality designation assigned to the planet Earth, and the Universe it includes, that existed prior to the Crisis. Earth-Two itself was inhabited by various characters who resembled those of its primary Earth One. This Earth served the purposes of maintaining the existence of DC`s Golden Age characters namely The Justice Society !

EARTH THREE:

Earth-Three was introduced in a 1964 issue of Justice League of America. Earth-Three’s history is seen as a mirror image to that of the Earth One. Earth-Three was home most famously to an analogue Villains to the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate of America. Earth Three is the one world not merged in the Crisis series as it is destroyed very early in the event!

EARTH FOUR:

Earth Four was essentially the Charlton Action Hero Universe!

Crisis tells the story of two God like beings, the  Monitor and the evil Anti-Monitor, both created by the Multiverse experiment. The Monitor was teased in many DC comic book series for two years prior to the launch of Crisis.  The Monitor was teased to be a villain but  he is revealed to be working on a seemingly futile  plan to stop the inevitable destruction of the Multiverse  hands of the Anti-Monitor. The Crisis event throws the DC Super in a desperate war  to stop the Anti-Monitor’s plan rule the entire Multiverse.

Crisis On Infinite Earths: The Ultimate Retcon!

The Monitor is murdered by Harbinger, his own assistant, while under the possession of the Anti Monitor . All 5 Earths (1, 2 4, S, and X) are merged into one LIMBO universe, however Harbinger, coming out from under the spell of the Anti Monitor unifies the heroes of all worlds (Including the Charlton Action Heroes) to bring down the Anti Monitor.

Harbinger recruits The Blue Beetle from the Charlton Action Hero Universe (Earth 4)

However, it would be the Spectre`s  battle with the Anti-Monitor,that creates an energy overload that shatters space and time.The result …the ULTIMATE RETCON.. A single universe is created and all the superheroes return to a present-day reality where the various elements of the five Earths were fused into one single Earth, with no one except the people present at the dawn of time remembering the original reality.

The DC Universe Post Crisis looked a lot different than it did prior to the event and included many new faces into its (At that point 50 year History)

DC had much bigger plans for the Charlton universe. Not only would they have a role in the events of Crisis but DC took a gamble that these Heroes could draw an audience by themselves in solo titles! Personally this was an exciting time as a fan as new title popped up everywhere with DC throwing new concepts at the wall attempting to feed off of the buzz of Crisis.

DC had big plans for The Charlton Action Hero cast..starting with the Beetle himself!

Blue Beetle flew out of his flying Beetle on the cover of his official DC solo series in 1986! I remember pulling this and Captain Atom #1 off the spinner rack with my 20 dollar a week allowance and drooling over these new heroes!

Captain Atom was one of the most successful acquisitions and went on to not only star in his own solo series but as with Beetle joined the DC franchise the Justice League!

To this day Blue Beetle #1 serves as the way you showcase a hero on his debut issue! Beetle not only brought along some of his rogues gallery like The Madmen. His title also served as a launching pad for the return of Charltons The Question who returned in issue 5 of the series.

The Question returned in grand fashion in the pages of The Blue Beetle #5 in 1986.

Nightshade another Charlton alum returns in the pages of Captain Atom #14. The gang was slowly creeping into the DC Universe!

The Question would also get his own solo series in a direct format and a much more adult style. Possibly influenced by Watchmen alternate! (See Below!)

Of course each series would have varying degrees of success, DC also embedded these characters permanently into the DC universe. Beetle joined The Justice League, Atom lead the Justice League Europe, Nightshade was a member of the Suicide squad! Everywhere you looked DC took full advantage of these properties and did not let them go to waste. As a fan Justice League was my all time favorite team book and heroes like Beetle and Atom were easy favorites!

The Bwah Ha Ha Era of The League was my personal favorite Team Book of all time!

Blue Beetle came into his own and gained full acceptance as DCs fun-loving tag team partner of Booster Gold and perennial team member of the Justice League. Captain Atom went on to greater heights and actually captained a branch of the Justice League dubbed The JLE, Or Justice League Europe. Both titles were big sellers for DC and prominently featured the Charlton flagship characters.

The Captain takes the reigns on his own Justice League..The JLE!

 The Charlton Action Heroes arrived in the DC Universe mostly intact with a few differences in origin and slight appearance modifications. Beetle retained his classic look while Captain Atom was dramatically streamlined into a chrome skinned embodiment of nuclear power, a much-needed upgrade from his dated Charlton look.  His origin however was modified to fit the times. Nightshade arrived in her original guise but would be altered for the 80s in her Suicide Squad attire. The Question survived both in look and origin. Later additions to the Charlton gang would be Peace Maker, Judo Master, Peter Cannon Thunderbolt and Sarge Steel all of whom were given ill-fated solo runs and didn’t catch an audience like the Ditko characters. All in all the Charlton Action Heroes were now officially DC Super-Heroes and now firmly entrenched in DC hallowed halls. I was a fan and these were great times as a reader! DC had been relaunched and had been injected with a dose of new characters to move forward with!

However the introduction of The Charlton Heroes into DC almost took a much different path….

Satellite Extra:

Can you believe that at one point and time The Archie MLJ Universe were being considered to be the main characters for TheWatchmen?

Prior to the decision to Retcon the Charlton heroes into the DC universe via Crisis, fate could have taken a much stranger turn. After the Charlton acquisition by DC comics Managing Editor and former Charlton creator Dick Giordano was approached with an informal proposal by writer Alan Moore. Originally the proposal involved the use of Archie Comics MLJ group of Heroes. Moore want to use the death Mighty Crusader, The Shield as the thrust for the story that would eventually become the most famous graphic novel of all… Watchmen. After this idea fizzled it was Moore’s proposal that the newly acquired Charlton Action heroes be used as the central characters in the storyline. The original concept was a story called “Who killed the Peacemaker?” The story would be a deconstructionist piece that set the Charlton Heroes in a desperate race against the clock to investigate a murder and to stop a nuclear apocalypse. Giordano who had an investment in the characters from his time at Charlton Publishing deterred Moore from using the characters and instead swayed him to use archetypes based around the Charlton Heroes for the story instead. Moore convinced that as long as the characters felt familiar he would be able to project the same sense of investment a reader would have in the actual characters…and boy was he right. Thus was born Nite Owl, Doctor Manhattan, Silk Specter, Rorshach, The Comedian and Ozymandias…THE WATCHMEN.

These characters would never have existed without the Charlton Action Heroes who were the influence for each of The Watchmen.

Had Moore had his way our Heroes would never have existed in the same fashion that they had been introduced into the DC Continuity in the 80s! As cool as it may be to have my Charlton heroes as Watchmen I much preferred the manner in which I came to enjoy each of these heroes in the DCU!!

For those who are wondering its more than clear who inspired each hero in the Watchmen universe. For those who could use a little more clarity here’s your Watchmen/Charlton cheat sheet!

What Charlton Hero inspired YOUR favorite Watchmen Character?

Well that’s it Heroes!! After all this Retcon talk, I am retiring to the Satellites hibernation chamber for a long nap as we set course to return back to present day! One more extra before we go..I mentioned prior to our conclusion here that The Charlton Heroes introduction required a light modification to their Charlton origins..so I have included complete DC Who’s Who Bios of the core Characters so we have a complete go to source for your Charlton/DC Retcon needs!! Enjoy!

BB II Whos Who 87 V.I

End Transmission…

If You have enjoyed this blog contact me on Twitter @Charlton_Hero and join the conversation using #SuperHeroSatellite Thanks for reading!

Okay its time to check out the continuation of this cant miss series! Retcon Continues NOW: Super Blog Team activate!

1.Silver Age Sensations: The Red, White, and Blue Silver Age Avenger!

2. Flodo’s Page: Green Lantern: Secret Origins – Revision or Retcon?

3. LongBox Graveyard: Retcon: Roy Thomas And Earth-2

           4. *NEW* Between The Pages: Good Cowboys Always Shoot First

                    5. *NEW* Bronze Age Babies: “Was The Vision Really Carrying a Torch”

*NEW*6. Superior Spider-Talk: Peter Parker – Child of Radioactivity or Mysticism?

7. Super-Hero Satellite: Hey you are here already!! RETCON: Crisis On Continuity Earths

#8 Fantastiverse: Age of the Retcon: Bucky 4.0 – The Winter Soldier

#9*NEW*Superior Spider Talk: #9 Chasing Amazing: Brand New Day and the Retcon of Harry Osborn Coming Soon