Charlton vs Mighty MLJ

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

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Team-Up Tuesdays: Watchmen's !mpact #1

In 1986, DC Comics reinvented its brand from top to bottom, scrapping long histories of their most established marketable brands, and even removing characters that were thought to be redundant with modern-day versions. And yet, it was during this same period when all comic book publishers were attempting to reach out to more mature readership. And from this era, the Watchmen were born as a trend-setting phenomenon.
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We've already dissected the similarities between their take on Charlton's characters and those of the publisher once known as MLJ then Mighty, the original template for this epic tale. However, by 1992 there was a seeming reversal of the prevailing thought only eight years previous. Now DC wanted to build new bridges with younger readership, only their mainstream publications latched onto the more adult oriented themes that made Watchmen so popular.

So once more, the histories of two languishing silver age second string franchises were intertwined though perhaps unintended.

When DC acquired the rights to Archie Comics' superhero properties, the were immediately geared to a pre-teen dynamic. Yet there was by this point the need to establish a continuity to this new fictional universe they inherited.

While Watchmen was but a 12 issue maxi-series, !mpact was to be an imprint with an open-ended publishing time table. And so, as with every new comic book universe spawned, a back story had to be developed.

And so, just as the Watchmen's World War II forebearers were the appropriated labeled Minute Men, !mpact's residential pre-modern age team was known as the American Crusaders. While only five members to the Minutemen's eight, these Crusaders had ten years of seemingly successful comraderie while the Minutemen had ten tumultuous years of infighting. While the Minutemen dawned in 1939 and disbanded in 1949, the 1953 inception date of the Crusaders was during another war time era, Korea, were the sensibilities of the public were not quite as innocent as that early time. Still, the members America's team seemed amiable.
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The years, however, would not be kind to this faux golden age !mpact group, as we will consider next week in this Watchmen !impact series.

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