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Charlton Comics

Charlton Comics was a minor comic book publishing house that existed from 1946 to 1986.

Operating out of Derby, Connecticut, the firm used a second hand printing press previously used for the printing of cereal boxes throughout the company's history. They printed a wide variety of genres including crime, science fiction, funny-animals and superheroes, often using unpublished material acquired from folded companies. This economizing also extended to the pay of their talent for their original material which had the lowest rates in the industry.

The most noteworthy period of the company was in the mid-1960s in The Silver Age of comic books when the company enjoyed the contributions of Steve Ditko who had returned from his stellar period with Marvel Comics after working on his greatest creations there. This happened in conjunction of a streak of creativity in superheroes for the company which produced such characters as the second Blue Beetle, The Question and The Peacemaker. This in turn gave the company the reputation of being a good company for new talent to publish their first work. Those benefiting from that include John Byrne and Dennis O'Neil.

However the superhero period proved short lived with licensed materials taking over with such properties as Hanna-Barbera, King Features Syndicate and various prime time television shows like Emergency and The Six Million Dollar Man. Throughout this period, their war comics also filled a niche although their rabidly jingoistic approach to the Viet Nam War did not endear themselves to an especially wide market in the 1960s.

By the 1980s, the company was in serious decline with their licensed titles lapsing, the comic book dramatically changing its retail approach and the old cereal box press deteriorating towards uselessness. The company closed its doors in 1986 and the building and press was demolished in 1999.

Today, all that is left are the superhero characters which were acquired by DC Comics in 1983 and put to their best known use in disguised form in The Watchmen mini-series by Alan Moore. The company's longest running character, Atomic Mouse, was licensed by the furry comic company, Shanda Fantasy Arts in 2001.