Tuesday, 5 May 2015

E-Man



E-Man, if you've somehow yet to meet him, was Charlton's brief early '70's foray into superherodom, following the demise of the Action Heroes line in 1968 or thereabouts.
Writer Nic Cuti's original inspiration was Plastic Man, but I always looked at E-Man more as a groovier Captain Marvel ( the Shazam one ), being a light, bright, whimsical strip full of something sadly lacking in, well, just about every comic these days. Charm.
E-Man is a literally cosmic energy being with unlimited powers, who comes to Earth, likes it, and decides to stay, and the strip is just a hugely fun romp, ever so slightly satirical and completely irresistible.
E-Man is the ultimate nice guy, an innocent abroad who delights in every aspect of his new home. While as a counterpoint you, and E-Man, also get to meet his girlfriend Nova Kane, a sassy, intelligent female lead right up there with Beverly Switzler.
Again, your favourite stuff is all about when you first encounter it, and E-Man always feels like long, warm summer holidays to me, when comics were delightful.
Like the comic book version of a souffle, it takes a deft hand to make this work, and E-Man always teetered on the precipice of satire without quite falling over, until later writers missed the point entirely and went completely down that route ( Ford Fairmont's The F-Men anybody? ), so best to start with the original series. Cuti and artist Joe Staton are an absolutely perfect match here, as always, with the first issue.

















5 comments:

  1. Oh, yeah. Love E-man, and the first 10-issue Charlton run is classic (I had my copies bound). You pretty much hit the nail on the head: it was charming and whimsical, with just the right balance between super-heroics and light-hearted satire.
    The material that followed the original Charlton series is a mixed bag - I definitely agree that the second series published by First (there's a pun in there somewhere), and mainly written by Martin Pasko often pushed the satirical angle a little to far. I think E-man's best when he's done by his original creative team, Cuti and Staton

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  3. So nice to see E-Man again and I couldn't agree more with your comments. E-Man was a great fun comic with a pretty strong supporting cast (I even liked Teddy, the teddy bear) and these Charlton issues are still amongst my favourites from the 70s. I can still recall seeing this in the spinner racks in my local newsagents having never heard about it until then, luckily for me Charlton distribution was pretty good in the Glasgow area and I managed to pick up most of the issues first time around. The book as I recall also had some really nice back up strips that whilst not all great were fun ( Killjoy, Liberty Belle, Travis and of course the equally cool Rog-2000). Sadly the First, Comico versions (whilst ok) were never as good although I did enjoy the more recent " Digital Webbing Press" 3 issues that were published a few years ago.

    Ahhhh comics were fun back them weren’t they . Like you E-Man will always remind me of long hot summers days (yes we got them in the 70s in Glasgow) during the school holidays, great days indeed. More E-Man please.

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  4. I think there were a couple of worthwhile First issues ( like the one about the rabid comic fan who traps E-Man in a giant mylar bag! ) but, yeah, I think most E-Fans'd agree, Cuti & Staton never quite captured magic in a bottle again like they did in the initial Charlton run, as good as subsequent runs have been.

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  5. I remember buying this when my family first moved into town. We used to drive past the newsagent for years and I could see the spinner racks in the window, Metal Men, Action, X-Men. When I finally got there they had all gone and I got the Modern rpt of E-Man 1, Teen Titans 1 and a pile of Rampaging Hulk and Doc Savage. That E-Man 1 always stood out as something special and different. I bought a NM of the original a couple of years back.

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