Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

Two parallel universes from two silver age comic book publishers examined ad naseum!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Fiends: Cancelite, Thy Name Is Sales!



Cancelite. An plot device of Jerry Siegel (yeah...THAT Siegel!) used to level the playing field between good and bad guys. Except he shouldn't have leveled it...instead it should have been elevated. It was a period time in mid to late 60's that was riding the crest of Batman's campy television series. Nearly all comics publishers produced their own brand of superheroes...or in the case of Mighty Comics (Shield, Steel Sterling, etc) and Mighty/Radio Comics (Blue Beetle, Captain Atom) reintroduce their earlier creations. For the former, a more serious approach was taken to their presentation...for the latter, a more light-hearted one. Neither took.


1965 Comic Book Sales Figures
Average Total Paid Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership



Title Publisher Avg. paid circ.
1) Superman DC 823,829
2) Superboy DC 672,681
3) Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane DC 556,091
4) Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen DC 554,931
5) Action Comics DC 525,254
6) Adventure Comics DC 520,440
7) Archie Archie 467,552
8) World's Finest Comics DC 465,842
9) Batman DC 453,745
10) Walt Disney's Comics & Stories Gold Key 410,209




11) Justice League of America DC 389,285
12) Treasure Chest Catholic Guild 386,171
13) Flintstones Gold Key 374,322
14) Tarzan Gold Key 356,699
15) Metal Men DC 334,245
16) Uncle Scrooge Gold Key 330,925
17) Betty and Veronica Archie 328,969
18) G.I. Combat DC 320,607
19) Detective Comics DC 304,414
20) Flash DC 298,151




21) Walt Disney's Donald Duck Gold Key 298,144
22) Life with Archie Archie 293,651
23) Bugs Bunny Gold Key 291,816
24) The Three Stooges Gold Key 288,967
25) Korak Gold Key 278,800
26) Tom and Jerry Gold Key 276,980
27) Archie's Joke Book Archie 273,679
28) Green Lantern DC 273,527
29) Our Army at War DC 270,100
30) Laugh Comics Archie 269,747




31) Archie's Pal Jughead Archie 269,512
32) Archie Giant Series Archie 256,516
33) Twilight Zone Gold Key 256,050
34) Atom DC 255,254
35) Archie's Pals 'n' Gals Archie 253,860
36) Woody Woodpecker Gold Key 250,340
37) Turok, Son of Stone Gold Key 250,316
38) Yogi Bear Gold Key 250,175
39) Brave & Bold DC 249,768
40) All-American Men of War DC 247,717




41) Aquaman DC 247,140
42) Little Lulu Gold Key 246,650
43) Top Cat Gold Key 245,387
44) Bonanza Gold Key 244,042
45) Daffy Duck Gold Key 243,825
46) Star-Spangled Comics DC 243,700
47) Beetle Bailey Gold Key 237,700
48) Magnus Gold Key 236,713
49) Showcase DC 235,091
50) Journey into Mystery Marvel 232,644




51) Madhouse Archie 231,934
52) Mickey Mouse Gold Key 231,814
53) Strange Tales Marvel 230,285
54) Tomahawk DC 229,979
55) Phantom Gold Key 229,890
56) Doctor Solar Gold Key 226,720
57) Tales to Astonish Marvel 224,346
58) Tales of Suspense Marvel 222,060
59) Challengers of the Unknown DC 220,965
60) Pep Comics Archie 220,010




61) Millie the Model Marvel 219,427
62) Lost in Space Gold Key 216,775
63) Combat Dell 210,687
64) Wonder Woman DC 209,918
65) Adventures of Jerry Lewis DC 209,691
66) Young Love DC 206,456
67) Doom Patrol DC 200,188
68) House of Mystery DC 196,677
69) Kid Colt Outlaw Marvel 193,506
70) Rawhide Kid Marvel 192,540




71) Adventures of Bob Hope DC 191,656
72) Sea Devils DC 182,866
73) Mystery in Space DC 182,376
74) Thirteen Dell 175,169
75) Sugar & Spike DC 175,089
76) Forbidden Worlds ACG 172,270
77) Unknown Worlds ACG 168,330
78) Adventures into the Unknown ACG 163,049
79) Fox & The Crow DC 160,515
80) Adventures of the Fly Archie 160,235




81) Fightin' Army Charlton 144,865
82) Fightin' Marines Charlton 144,487
83) Hot Rods and Racing Cars Charlton 143,342
84) Sweethearts Charlton 142,208
85) Love Diary Charlton 141,333
86) Billy the Kid Charlton 140,635
87) Romantic Story Charlton 140,528
88) I Love You Charlton 139,689
89) Strange Suspense Stories Charlton 131,350
90) Space War Charlton 130,490




91) Texas Rangers in Action Charlton 126,665
92) Outlaws of the West Charlton 126,012
93) Cheyenne Kid Charlton 118,124





Average for comics
263,090

Charlton's diverse line of Son of Vulcan, Blue Beetle and Captain Atom soon spawned additional titles such as Judomaster, Sarge Steel and Thunderbolt. From these titles, other characters were introduced such as a new Blue Beetle, Nightshade and Question. All of these provided unique takes on the heroic genre, from cosmic to mythological to scientific to perfectionism to objectivism. Mighty Comics derivative line of Fly-Man, Mighty Crusaders, their version of the Shadow, and Mighty Comic's Black Hood, Web, and others seemed to borrow elements from other classic characters and turn them on their metaphorical head while trying to grab giggles and laughs that ultimately fell flat. Both looked for niches that weren't there.

1966 Comic Book Sales Figures
Average Total Paid Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership



Title Publisher Avg. paid circ.
1) Batman DC 898,470
2) Superman DC 719,976
3) Superboy DC 608,386
4) Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane DC 530,808
5) Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen DC 523,455
6) World's Finest Comics DC 513,201
7) Archie Archie 491,691
8) Action Comics DC 491,135
9) Adventure Comics DC 481,234
10) Justice League of America DC 408,219




11) Detective Comics DC 404,339
12) Metal Men DC 396,506
13) Treasure Chest Catholic Guild 348,305
14) Walt Disney's Comics & Stories Gold Key 346,250
15) Betty and Veronica Archie 342,295
16) Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 340,155
17) Tarzan Gold Key 338,052
18) Flintstones Gold Key 332,362
19) Fantastic Four Marvel 329,379
20) Flash DC 325,404




21) Life with Archie Archie 300,954
22) Uncle Scrooge Gold Key 297,516
23) Thor Marvel 296,251
24) Archie's Pal Jughead Archie 284,928
25) Laugh Comics Archie 282,731
26) Brave & Bold DC 279,406
27) Bugs Bunny Gold Key 276,949
28) Tom and Jerry Gold Key 271,920
29) Korak Gold Key 270,923
30) Avengers Marvel 269,994




31) Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos Marvel 268,499
32) The Three Stooges Gold Key 266,701
33) Walt Disney's Donald Duck Gold Key 265,932
34) Archie's Pals 'n' Gals Archie 265,476
35) Porky Pig Gold Key 261,850
36) Strange Tales Marvel 261,069
37) Twilight Zone Gold Key 259,703
38) Tales to Astonish Marvel 256,145
39) G.I. Combat DC 255,496
40) X-Men Marvel 255,070




41) Daffy Duck Gold Key 254,750
42) Mighty Samson Gold Key 254,725
43) Lost in Space Gold Key 253,025
44) Archie Giant Series Archie 252,427
45) Tales of Suspense Marvel 252,239
46) Showcase DC 250,512
47) Pep Comics Archie 248,718
48) Woody Woodpecker Gold Key 248,199
49) Yogi Bear Gold Key 247,356
50) Green Lantern DC 245,699




51) Turok, Son of Stone Gold Key 245,202
52) Little Lulu Gold Key 245,000
53) Our Army at War DC 243,906
54) Magnus Gold Key 236,304
55) Atom DC 232,850
56) Bonanza Gold Key 230,033
57) Blackhawk DC 228,453
58) Aquaman DC 228,403
59) Mickey Mouse Gold Key 225,716
60) Doctor Solar Gold Key 224,936




61) Phantom Gold Key/King 221,141
62) Wonder Woman DC 220,168
63) Archie's Madhouse Archie 220,056
64) Star-Spangled Comics DC 215,495
65) Kid Colt Outlaw Marvel 214,555
66) Tomahawk DC 212,954
67) Adventures of Jerry Lewis DC 211,934
68) Challengers of the Unknown DC 210,316
69) Our Fighting Forces DC 207,885
70) Little Archie Archie 206,321




71) Young Romance DC 204,613
72) Sad Sack Harvey 204,253
73) Rawhide Kid Marvel 202,823
74) Adventures of Bob Hope DC 194,004
75) Doom Patrol DC 191,420
76) Sugar & Spike DC 190,515
77) Millie the Model Marvel 190,217
78) Tales of the Unexpected DC 185,650
79) House of Mystery DC 183,934
80) Strange Adventures DC 174,922




81) Sea Devils DC 168,731
82) Unknown Worlds ACG 162,684
83) Thirteen Dell 161,231
84) Forbidden Worlds ACG 160,520
85) Adventures into the Unknown ACG 155,102
86) Teen-Age Love Charlton 148,813
87) Fox & The Crow DC 142,720
88) Army War Heroes Charlton 133,205
89) Fightin' Army Charlton 129,514
90) Texas Rangers in Action Charlton 125,114




91) Outlaws of the West Charlton 124,813
92) Fightin' Marines Charlton 123,517
93) Strange Suspense Stories Charlton 123,267
94) Cheyenne Kid Charlton 116,320





Average for comics
271,323












 After a mere three years from 1965 to 1967 of a concerted effort to launch a limited line of action-heroes, both publishers receded back to that which made them successful. In Mighty's case, it was its parent company Archie's line of teenage humor. And for Charlton, with the exception of licensed legend the Phantom, it was their love/war/old west comics that kept them in the game. Check out some of these titles...far down the list!

1967 Comic Book Sales Figures
Average Total Paid Circulation as Reported in Publishers' Statements of Ownership



Title Publisher Avg. paid circ.
1) Batman DC 805,700
2) Superman DC 649,300
3) Superboy DC 547,100
4) World's Finest Comics DC 537,200
5) Archie Archie 484,648
6) Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen DC 450,700
7) Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane DC 448,400
8) Detective Comics DC 425,700
9) Action Comics DC 420,900
10) Adventure Comics DC 412,800




11) Man from U.N.C.L.E. Dell 411,235
12) Justice League of America DC 385,800
13) Tarzan Gold Key 384,450
14) Amazing Spider-Man Marvel 361,663
15) Betty and Veronica Archie 349,632
16) Brave & Bold DC 342,400
17) Fantastic Four Marvel 329,536
18) Walt Disney's Comics & Stories Gold Key 310,665
19) Dennis the Menace Fawcett 308,736
20) Treasure Chest Catholic Guild 306,803




21) Thor Marvel 298,219
22) Archie's Pal Jughead Archie 287,422
23) Laugh Comics Archie 285,544
24) Archie's Joke Book Archie 282,199
25) Flintstones Gold Key 279,885
26) Uncle Scrooge Gold Key 278,901
27) Daredevil Gold Key 275,361
28) Life with Archie Archie 275,099
29) Korak Gold Key 270,050
30) Avengers Marvel 269,139




31) Tales to Astonish Marvel 269,132
32) Flash DC 267,000
33) Bugs Bunny Gold Key 266,815
34) Uncanny X-Men Marvel 266,034
35) Lost in Space Gold Key 264,667
36) Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos Marvel 260,930
37) Tales of Suspense Marvel 257,342
38) Tom and Jerry Gold Key 256,448
39) Walt Disney's Donald Duck Gold Key 255,470
40) The Three Stooges Gold Key 253,384




41) Archie Giant Series Archie 248,241
42) Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea Gold Key 243,688
43) Pep Comics Archie 242,821
44) Porky Pig Gold Key 241,735
45) Strange Tales Marvel 241,561
46) Archie's Pals 'n' Gals Archie 240,407
47) Metal Men DC 239,700
48) Mighty Samson Gold Key 238,075
49) Twilight Zone Gold Key 236,720
50) Aquaman DC 234,200




51) Turok, Son of Stone Gold Key 232,565
52) Yogi Bear Gold Key 229,100
53) Bonanza Gold Key 225,625
54) Little Lulu Gold Key 224,800
55) Woody Woodpecker Gold Key 220,783
56) Magnus Gold Key 215,100
57) Daffy Duck Gold Key 212,225
58) Doctor Solar Gold Key 208,135
59) Rawhide Kid Marvel 205,221
60) Mickey Mouse Gold Key 205,083




61) G.I. Combat DC 202,100
62) Green Lantern DC 201,700
63) Our Army at War DC 196,500
64) Madhouse Archie 196,057
65) Sad Sack Harvey 192,213
66) Little Archie Archie 191,623
67) Showcase DC 189,500
68) Young Romance DC 187,400
69) Young Love DC 187,400
70) Atom DC 184,100




71) Challengers of the Unknown DC 182,200
72) Adventures of Jerry Lewis DC 180,800
73) Little Dot Harvey 179,592
74) Girls' Love Stories DC 178,300
75) Spooky Harvey 177,303
76) Wonder Woman DC 175,000
77) Heart Throbs DC 174,500
78) Millie the Model Marvel 173,519
79) Little Lotta Harvey 171,055
80) Falling in Love DC 170,400




81) Girls' Romances DC 170,400
82) Tomahawk DC 165,700
83) Tales of the Unexpected DC 162,600
84) Star-Spangled War Stories DC 160,000
85) House of Mystery DC 158,500
86) Doom Patrol DC 157,900
87) Blackhawk DC 157,700
88) Teen-Age Love Charlton 152,317
89) Our Fighting Forces DC 152,200
90) Sugar & Spike DC 150,200




91) Secret Hearts DC 149,700
92) Strange Adventures DC 146,600
93) Army War Heroes Charlton 140,005
94) Billy the Kid Charlton 136,615
95) Unusual Tales Charlton 135,266
96) Romantic Story Charlton 134,018
97) Career Girl Romances Charlton 125,710
98) Fightin' Marines Charlton 123,517
99) Teenage Hotrodders Charlton 120,890
100) Sweethearts Charlton 120,713




101) Hot Rods and Racing Cars Charlton 120,563
102) Cheyenne Kid Charlton 120,328
103) I Love You Charlton 120,310
104) Outlaws of the West Charlton 118,313
105) Grand Prix Charlton 118,002
106) Fightin' Army Charlton 117,513
107) Love Diary Charlton 115,412
108) Fox & The Crow DC 114,700
109) Just Married Charlton 112,413
110) Teen Confessions Charlton 111,410




111) Texas Rangers in Action Charlton 110,615





Average for comics
239,366


While all these characters were later revived...ironically by the same mother-of-all publisher for superheroes DC...something was lost. For despite their flaws...be it in printing process for Charlton or plotting process for Mighty...there was a charm hidden between the panels. However, their own Fiend, Cancellation...was the one enemy that could beat the combined forces of our scores of silver-age stalwarts. And sagging sales is the true Kryptonite...er Cancelite...of any superhero.

(Special thanks to Comichron.com for their compilation of the above sales figures.


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