I have made no secret on this blog for my love of the heroes of Charlton Comics. Heck, I even have a whole category on it here at Comics on the Brain.
The agreement that brought the Charlton Heroes to DC Comics has always been publicly vague. So vague in fact that I’m not sure if DC Comics knows the best way to exercise it.
Without a doubt, DC Comics got Blue Beetle, Captain Atom, The Question, Nightshade and Son of Vulcan in the deal. Of all the Charlton heroes, this group is used most often. But there are certainly others: Judomaster, Sarge Steel and Peacemaker pop up now and again, but not too often (though Judomaster has been spotted in JSA lately.)
But aren’t there more? Or, at the very least, some that DC can justifiably claim? The story from places like Comic Book Artist and Charlton Spotlight says that DC bought the “Action Heroes” line, but even characters that weren’t part of that group are definitely owned by DC, with Son of Vulcan being the prime example.
One site, International Heroes, helped my research some. It has done its best to catalog all the superheroes produced by the minor publishers through the year. Its Quality page , for example, offers a great snapshot of the heroes that company produced, many of whom were also sucked up into the DC Universe.
The Charlton page does the same. Most of the characters I had heard of or even read, but not all of them have appeared since their last days at the Derby, Conn., publishing company. DC hasn’t used them and no one else has bothered with them either.
So with that thought in mind, lets just assume that DC out-and-out owns all the Charlton “superheroes” (for lack of a better term).
With this thought racing through my head, I decided it was time to assemble a Charlton team, much like the Quality heroes assemble under the Freedom Fighters banner.
Thus was born Project Bullseye.
After inheriting a vast fortune from a conspiracy theorist, the Question decided to build her own special strikeforce. One that operated separately from the Justice League, the Justice Society and any government watchdog. She selected a variety of well-known, little-known and unknown heroes to operate as her team.
In their first outing, things got unnecessarily hairy, and members of the Justice League arrive to try and sort out the situation. Things go from bad to worse when old rivalries rear their ugly heads and new rivalries get planted. As the two teams begin a difficult battle, combatants split off to engage one another …
(When looking at this fight card, Charlton heroes are on the left, DC’s are on the right.)
- Captain Atom vs. Superman — The man with the power of a nuclear bomb fused with alien technology battles his long-time rival Superman, the alien infused with the power of the sun. (Even in real continuity these guys are ALWAYS fighting each other.)
- Blue Beetle vs. Green Lantern — The scarab fused to Jaime Reyes spine has a thing against Green Lanterns, and Jaime is pretty much along for the ride.
- Son of Vulcan I vs. Wonder Woman — They both have Greek heritage. They both are patrons of the gods. What happens when they clash? Well actually we’ve seen that at least once in War of the Gods, and Son of Vulcan got the short end of the stick. (Later in that series, SoV died. We’re assuming he was resurrected by a weeping Vulcan. Of course, he was recently replaced, so see below.)
- Judomaster vs. Black Canary — Two martial artists begin sparring. Those unfamiliar with Judomaster may think that Black Canary has the upper hand with her sonic scream, but Judomaster has her own power: An aversion field that lets her deflect attacks.
- Nightshade vs. Doctor Light — Can Nightshade outwit Doctor Light with her teleportation powers? Can Doctor Light show Nightshade’s true colors?
- Peacemaker vs. Green Arrow — The new Peacemaker is a rough and tumble guy who lives by his wits. Green Arrow is much the same plus a boxing-glove arrow or two.
- Question vs. Oracle — One’s got questions, one’s got answers. Though Renee Montoya worked close with Barbara Gordon, that doesn’t mean that Renee can’t take Oracle down a peg or two. No one should hold all the knowledge.
- Son of Vulcan II (aka Vulcan) vs. Martian Manhunter — While this may seem like a lopsided battle at first glance, you have to understand Vulcan’s origins to get this. You see, Vulcan is actually powered by Fire-infused weaponry used to hunt down White Martians. Yeah, that could be trouble for J’Onzz
- Sarge Steel vs. Steel –– Men of action and intelligence. Men of bravery. Men who both have the name Steel. Surely they’d hate each other.
- The Shape vs. Plastic Man — There’s a good chance you’ve never heard of the Shape . He’s basically Charlton’s Plastic Man.
- Nature Boy (who really has a TERRIBLE name) vs. Metamorpho — Nature Boy (maybe we can call him Fury of Nature or something) has the ability to control the classic elements. Metamorpho controls the periodic table of elements.
- Mercury Man vs. Flash — Mercury Man, who you’ve probably never heard of, can fly at 50,000 mph and do all sorts of crazy “writer’s fiat” stuff. So can the Flash.
- Baroness RH Von Bludd vs. Zatanna — Fishnetted Zatanna can cast a spell by saying it backwards. Plunging cleavage RH Von Bludd is a vampire with an odd ability of precognition (she was a horror comic host after all!) An interesting fight if ever there was one!
The battle rages on for an issue or two, and the Justice League seems to have the upper hand, but just when all seems lost, in walks Yellowjacket , the hero with trained bugs. He simply wipes the walls with every DC hero he sees, because after all. How can you stop a man with a cape full of bees?