Yeah, this one's a stretch. But isn't that half the fun of doing these things?
As much as I love Charlton Comics' 1960s Action Heroes line (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Nightshade, The Peacemaker, Thunderbolt, Judo Master, even the freakin' Sentinels), my favorite Charlton characters were Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton's extraterrestrial energy hero E-Man and his lovely Terran companion Nova Kane. These were some of the best and most fun comics of the 1970s, and it's a shame the title only lasted a mere ten issues. I've written previously about how I discovered those comics as a teen in the '70s, and one of these days I'll dig out the E-Man retrospective I wrote for Amazing Heroes and reprise it in this space. For now, suffice it to say I was and remain an E-Man fan.
After E-Man was cancelled, the fan publication The Charlton Bullseye # 4 presented a new E-Man story by Cuti and Staton, which I presume was originally intended for the scotched E-Man # 11. That black and white publication is the source for the lead-off story in today's 100-Page FAKE!
In the real world, DC Comics acquired most of Charlton's Action Heroes line in the '80s, while E-Man and company wound up at First Comics before Cuti and Staton were eventually given the rights to their creation. The 100-Page FAKES! Boppinverse has already established the idea of DC Comics taking over the Action Heroes in the '70s instead, as well as taking over Charlton's license of King Features' Ghost Who Walks The Phantom for a DC 100-Page FAKES! edition of Charlton's The Phantom # 67. Given those liberties with history, maybe it's not such a stretch for DC to also continue E-Man.
Charlton's E-Man was usually a split book, with a lead E-Man story followed by an unrelated back-up. By the end of E-Man's run, John Byrne's Rog-2000 had become the regular back-up strip; when E-Man was cancelled, Rog-2000 moved to the back of Charlton's Vengeance Squad. Rather than poach one of those subsequent Rog-2000s to fill out the "new" material for this 100-pager, I went back to Charlton Bullseye for another black-and-white adventure, specifically the legendary artist Alex Toth's take on Action Hero The Question, as it appeared in The Charlton Bulleseye # 5.
For reprints, I knew I wanted one Golden Age Plastic Man story; Plas was an obvious and acknowledged influence on E-Man's own effervescent exploits. I figured I would also throw in the 1966 Dial H For Hero story in which Robby Reed's dial turns him into Plastic Man, which was DC's very first use of Plas since acquiring him from former rival Quality Comics. I also wanted to follow E-Man and Nova with another male-female pair; Hawkman and Hawkgirl would have been a good choice, but I always wished that DC had reprinted more of its Fawcett Comics acquisitions--Spy Smasher, Ibis the Invincible, Minute Man, Mr. Scarlet and Pinky, as well as Captain Marvel and The Marvel Family--so I awarded this spot to erstwhile Fawcett heroes Bulletman and Bulletgirl. My boy Kid Eternity and Charlton Action Heroine Nightshade (the latter with simply gorgeous Jim Aparo artwork) filled in the rest of the bill, leaving almost enough room for some vintage Alex Toth work on the Western hero Johnny Thunder. The end result winds up two or three pages too long, but we don't care, do we?
E-Man and Nova in "...And Why The Sea Is Boiling Hot," Charlton Bullseye # 4 (1976)
Bulletman and Bulletgirl in "The Vanishing Bombs," Master Comics # 103 (May 1949)
Dial H For Hero in "The Wizard Of Light," House Of Mystery # 160 (July 1966)
Plastic Man (untitled), Police Comics # 24 (November 1943)
Nightshade in "Masque Of Mirrors," Captain Atom # 89 (December 1967)
Kid Eternity (untitled), Kid Eternity # 5 (Spring 1947)
Johnny Thunder in "The End Of Johnny Thunder!," All-American Western # 114 (June-July 1950)
The Question (untitled), Charlton Bullseye # 5 (1976)
E-Man, Nova, and their cast o' characters are copyright Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton; keep an eye out for new E-Man adventures in the pages of The Charlton Arrow. Everyone else is copyright DC Comics Inc. The Bulletman, Plastic Man, and Kid Eternity stories are now public domain, while the rest can only be shown here in sample pages; I share the whole thing privately with my paid subscribers. Energize! It's time for an imaginary 100-page edition of the unpublished E-Man # 11.
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