Sunday, April 29, 2007


Joe is one of the best cartoonists around, only not enough people know it.
I first encountered his work in the CHARLTON COMICS title PRIMUS, which was a licensed from tv property, based on a then-current program starring Robert "Here Come The Brides" Brown.
We had the Ivan Tors produced tv show that the comic book was based on running locally in Boston at the time, and I liked it, though it probably is a second rate attempt at the earlier SEA HUNT, from Tors also, but I bought the comic, starting, I believe, with issue #3.
At the time, in my opinion, the quality of the Charlton printing was not as good as it was when Dick Giordano was running the company, during the 1960's, and I was grabbing up their "Action Hero Line", but I liked the drawing in the book, which showed a lot of good touches even with the badly trimmed pages and the less than vibrant color my copy had.
When I heard that Charlton was getting a new super-hero title, E-MAN, ready, I subscribed to it, and was delighted that the printing was better, that they mailed the subscriber copies _flat_, and that it was draawn by "that guy who drew PRIMUS".
I later got into buying any Charlton mystery comic that had a Staton job in it, and, already a Charlton fan since 1966, I was buying CPL, Bob Layton's fanzine which had some Charlton material ("four out of five robots read CPL, the other one sells 'em"), and was later a subscriber to the "official" Charlton fan magazine, THE CHARLTON BULLSEYE.
But, to get to my topic again, I loved E-MAN, and Joe Staton's cartooning.
I was disappointed when E-MAN was discontinued, but during the run of the title, I bought a copy of one of the SF magazines that had a Staton drawing in it, and I was certain that Staton would still be drawing more for Charlton, or elsewhere.
Joe did draw EMERGENCY!, a Charlton comic derived from the Jack Webb produced tv series, note that this was the color comic, as opposed to the Neal Adams' Continuity Associates drawn magazine that Charlton put out, and handled similar chores on their comic of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN.
I had issues if MIDNIGHT TALES, a fun-to-read mystery comic from Charlton, I believe there is some Staton material in there also.
But I wanted _more_!!!
And I got it!!!
I met Joe at a comic book convention in New York City, in 1976, which was run by the great Phil Seuling. I asked Joe to draw an encounter of "E-MAN MEETS PLASTIC MAN", and he came up with a beauty, which we called "Best Two Out Of Three", and I have the piece to this day. I was thrilled when Michael Ambrose ran it, after I made him a copy, with his Joe Staton interview, in BACK ISSUE magazine a while back, by the way. The thing about all this is, a few years later, Joe was at DC COMICS drawing PLASTIC MAN!!!
What a kick that is for me to this day!!!
Anyway, Joe drew a lot of work for DC, and still does to this day, employing a couple of different styles, which enable him to draw anything from GREEN LANTERN (Staton was once an assistant to GREEN LANTERN cartoonist great Gil Kane), to "Power Girl" and "The Huntress", plus their series with the "JSA", in that legendary title ALL-STAR COMICS, to titles based on the WB Animated series comic books of BATMAN, SUPERMAN, in the great 1990's style those had down so well, to those intrepid "Mystery Machine riding meddling kids" in SCOOBY-DOO.
Joe also drew a wonderful fantasy tale for an issue of WITZEND back in the 1970's, which is a real treasure, and a favorite of mine.
Joe also drew the brilliant story in the last issue of the long-running DC COMICS title THE BRAVE & THE BOLD, in it's original incarnation with BATMAN team-ups, and a tremendous "prestige format" BATMAN two issue title with BATMAN versus "Two-Face". Just excellent comic book work!!!
You can also see Joe's work on the web these days, at places like:


Joe has also drawn anew E-MAN story recently, that came out as the one-shoe E-MAN RECHARGED, and I hope we see more!!!
E-MAN, by the way, has such a potent, however small, fan base, that he has appeared from other publishers besides Charlton, including the sadly-defunct FIRST COMICS, COMICO, and others!!!

I hope that we see cartooning by Joe gracing comics pages for many more years to come!!!

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