Charlton VS Mighty MLJ

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Tale of Two Towns: Metropolitan Models

The germs of an idea are spawned from reality, or so it has been said. For Charlton and MLJ, such was true regarding the towns upon which their cities were based.

In Charlton's case, it was Derby, Connecticut. Consisting of  12,391 people, 5,252 households, and 3,245 families, this was where Charlton Comics were produced throughout the decades until finally folding in the early 1980s in a 150,000 square-foot building in Derby city limits. The publishers of this comic line chose this venue as opposed to Manhattan so as to conttrol costs, and such talents as Joe Gill and Steve Ditko resided in Derby hotels rather than purchasing or renting homes. No doubt this was due to the thrifty nature of their employer, and the concern over how stable such work would be in the years to come. If such was the concern, it was well founded.

And for MLJ which became Archie, it was Haverhill, Massachusetts upon which Riverdale allegedly originated. Located on the Merrimack River, the town fathers have attempted to revitalize sections of the community through urban renewal. This nearly cost them the loss of an iconic treasure, the old school building upon which Riverdale High was based. Instead, the structure was rechristened as the new City Hall. However, the actual town wherein Archie Comics are produced is the Village of Mamaroneck, which has  18,752 people, 7,096 households, and 4,874 families residing  residing therein. More prominent, picturesque, and prosperous than Derby, Mamaroneck also reflects how far more successful Archie has been then its one time competitor Charlton.

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