The Catacombs The Merchandise Guide
Comics: Charlton Comics
Compiled by Martin Willey

Charlton published two series of comics, a "magazine" format black and white comic and a smaller format color comic. Note that this US comics company is not the same as the UK broadcast company Carlton, who owned the rights to Space 1999 from 1999 to 2004. Art by kind permission of Charlton Media Group.

BLACK & WHITE COMIC (Charlton Comics)

US 1975-6, bimonthly, $1.00 each

Each 68 pages (including 10 pages of adverts -Charles Atlas, mail order, etc). 50-55 pages of art, with 3 stories of 15-20 pages (issue 1 had 4 stories), plus 3 text pieces of 2-4 pages (1 text story in issue 2, series stars/life on Alpha in issues 1, 2 & 5, all others science articles -Moon, computers, nuclear power, etc).

Editor George Wildman, art editor Gray Morrow. All cover paintings (superb colour designs of Koenig & combinations of other characters, scenes & abstract designs) by Gray Morrow. Most art by Gray Morrow, also with Adolfo Buylla, Vincente Alcazar, Pat Boyette, Dick Ayers, Carlos Pino. Writers Mike Pellowski, Nicola Cuti, 2 contributions by Joe Gill.

The first covering painting was used for ITC publicity art and appeared on the HG puzzles, the Image Entertainment laserdiscs, the CEL videos in Australia and, adapted, as the wrapper art on the Donruss bubble gum packs and Collegeville Halloween costumes.

Some superb art by Morrow & Alcazar, with good likeness but very stylised equipment & sets. On the other hand, most pages were obviously rushed and some was dreadful (the quality of the printing did not help). Koenig, Victor, Helena & Alan are the heroes and most other regulars are absent. Paul appears briefly - with a beard and based on Art Editor Gray Morrow, not Prentis Hancock. Some of format seemed based on the early 1999 premise (Moon City, Com-Com), but 1999 content was generally incidental. Stories included stock sf adventure, supernatural horror, & frequent social conflicts, quality ranging from indifferent to good. Morrow later became a highly regarded comic-book artist. Alcazar and Pino had drawn strips for the British TV21 comic, based around Gerry Anderson's series', in 1969.

Click for larger view Vol 1 No 1 (Nov 1975) The Last Moonrise (Nicola Cuti, art by Gray Morrow)
Seeds Of Doubt (Joe Gill, art uncredited)
Cornucopia (Nicola Cuti, art uncredited)
Endgame (Nicola Cuti, art by Gray Morrow)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 2 (Jan 1976) The Possessed (uncredited; Joe Gill, art by Gray Morrow)
E Pluribus Unum (uncredited; Nicola Cuti, art by Vincente Alcazar)
The Mind Of The Snark (uncredited; Joe Gill, art by Vincente Alcazar)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 3 (Mar 1976) The Old Gods Are Not Eternal (Mike Pellowski, uncredited art by Vincente Alcazar)
Spores (Mike Pellowski, art by Adolfo Buylla)
The Dawn Of Extinction (Nicola Cuti, pencils by Ed Davis, inks by Gray Morrow)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 4 (May 1976) A Lonely Emperor (Joe Gill, uncredited art by Carlos Pino)
Class Determination: Alien Insecta (Mike Pellowski, uncredited art perhaps by Carls Potts, Doug Beekman, Ed Davis)
Another Name For Hell (Nicola Cuti, art by Alcazar and Asian)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 5 (Jul 1976) The Strange Ones (Joe Gill, art by Pat Boyette)
An Alien Charm (Joe Gill, art by Dick Ayers)
Undisturbed (Nicola Cuti, art by Gray Morrow)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 6 (Aug 1976) Just Like Home (Joe Gill, art by Adolfo Buylla)
Snowball (Nicola Cuti, art by Vincente Alcazar)
Paradise Progression (Mike Pellowski, art by Gray Morrow)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 7 (Sep 1976- but according to title page, Vol 2 No 6 Aug 1976) The Perpetual Metamorphosis (Mike Pellowski, art by Carlos Pino)
Cosmic Headache (Nicola Cuti, art by Carls Potts, Doug Beekman, Ed Davis)
The Infinity Mechanism (Mike Pellowski, art by Vincente Alcazar)
Charlton Comic Magazine Vol 2 No 8 (Oct 1976) The Metamorph (Mike Pellowski, art by Gray Morrow)
The Primary Life Form (Mike Pellowski, art by Vincente Alcazar)

Gray Morrow (1934-2001) was a comic strip artist, for Warren's horror comics, Marvel, D.C., Heavy Metal and others. He co-created the Man-Thing for Marvel Comics. He also painted book covers, including for the American Perry Rhodan books. He worked on animation with Ralph Bakshi for Spiderman TV series (1968), Fritz the Cat (1972) and Wizards (1977). He was nominated for the Hugo Award for artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968. He was a guest at the 1982 Space: 1999 convention. He described how he became involved: "I was contacted by Gail Munn, who was the agent for ITC, to come for a private screening of this fabulous new series that was going to appear on television here in the states. She wouldn't tell me at the time what my part in it was supposed to be; she wanted to build up a little suspense. I went and met the English representative and watched what I thought was a pretty damn good show, which I guess was the first episode. Then they asked me if I'd be interested in doing a Space: 1999 comic book, and we went from that. When you're working with a two-dimensional medium and you're trying to compete with a three-dimensional one, your best shot is to make the stories wilder or further out. In other words, attempt to do something they couldn't do on film, at least not inexpensively. I don't know how successful we were. I knew the writer Nick Cuti was very enthusiastic and worked very hard on making them as entertaining as possible."

FULL COLOR COMIC (Charlton)

U S 1975-6, bimonthly.

36 pages, 11 of which are adverts. One story per issue, generally 22 pages long, plus a 2 page text story. Cover painting by the same artist who did the comic strip.

Editor George Wildman, art by Joe Staton, John Byrne, Pat Boyette, scripts by Nicola Cuti and, in issue 7 only, Mike Pellowski. Generally stories were entertaining. Most stories were based away from Alpha, again with only Koenig, Helena, Victor & Alan. Figure work was good, though Boyette had somewhat stiff characters and Alan was often only recognisable by his blond hair.

Byrne was especially good at figures, dynamic layout and narrative. Text stories were too brief and dull. Byrne later became a top comic book artist, working on Batman and Superman. In 2020, Byrne said of his first issue, number 3 "It was a nightmare. The Anderson reps completely rejected my first issue. They said I had the characters move their faces too much. Joe Staton redrew all the likenesses, and in subsequent issues I just copied what he'd done. The main characters ended up looking like they belonged on Easter Island. Pretty much all the wind was taken out of my sails by what I felt was the butchering of that first issue. I'd been really quite proud of the job I'd done.". His opinion of the show: "The tech and the aliens! The costumes and acting didn't thrill me, and I thought the premise was absurd, though when I was offered the comic, I saw a lot of potential fun to be had with the technology. The Eagles were a hoot to draw. I'd been a big fan of Supermarionation since discovering Supercar when I was a kid. I'd followed the Anderson product through Fireball XL5, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the rest. I was also a big fan of UFO at the time." (Back Issue #120 p31,32, interview by John Kirk)

Charlton color comic Vol 1 No 1 (Nov 1975; 25c) Moonless Night (Breakaway) &
Intelligent Species (Joe Staton);
text story (non 1999) The Krammerer Effect
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 2 (Jan 1976; 25c) Survival (Joe Staton);
text article (factual) The Stars
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 3 (Mar 1976; 25c) Bring Them Back Alive (Byrne);
text story The Space Sirens
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 4 (May 1976; 30c) Demon Star (Byrne);
text story The Micron Metamorphosis
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 5 (Jul 1976; 30c) Gods Of the Planet Olympus (Byrne);
text story The Contaminator
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 6 (Sep 1976; 30c, UK 10p) Flotsam (Byrne);
text story The Presence
Charlton color comic Vol 2 No 7 (Nov 1976; 30c, UK 10p) Metamorph
Escape from Vipon (Boyette);
text story Primitive Planet
Original art for color comic 7

Original art by Pat Boyette for volume 2 number 7. 15" x 10" / 38cm x 15cm

Original art by John Byrne for other comics (thanks to Gordon Moriguchi).

Original art for color comic 2 Original art for color comic 3 Original art for color comic 4 Original art for color comic 5 Original art for color comic 6