Cheap Knock Off? Charlton Comics’ Konga!!

As a kid I loved all kinds of monster movies, even the bad ones. Konga and Gorgo were knockoffs of King Kong and Godzilla, both released in 1961. In the mid 70’s I saw both on TV, then ran across an issue of Charlton comics’ Konga in a second hand store. I saw an ad in it for Gorgo and the race was on to find back issues of both. Even though they were very hard to find, issues were usually very cheap and I had a decent run of them at one time. The primary artist was Steve Ditko, I loved his work, but it is not for everyone, and the writing was bland. Even so, I thought they were fun , considering they were a cheap adaptation of a knock-off. Read a story or two at the Charlton Library site:

Konga

[via] Charlton Library

mwentworth

I am a junior-grade retroist working out of the NW office, close to my Retro cave in Woodland, WA. I enjoy old video games, toys, books, movies, band-aid tins full of old Cracker Jack prizes and long walks on the beach.

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2 thoughts on “Cheap Knock Off? Charlton Comics’ Konga!!

  1. You hit on my area of expertise. Charlton Comics often published Licensed titles such a Hanna Barberra properties, The Six Million Dollar Man, Space 1999, etc. Some times when those licenses could not be secured you get things like Konga.

    Charlton Comics was a low cost operator who offered their staff low wages for high volumes of output. Often times paper quality, color and writing were at the expense of keeping everything under a tight budgetary vice. One thing they did offer creators was freedom of expression. Often a creator had free reign on what they wanted to publish as long as they pumped out a sellable product on a set deadline.

    Enter Steve Ditko. Ditko most famous for his ground breaking work on Spiderman . Ditko published a massive amount of work through Charlton and was responsibile for such classic characters like Captain Atom, The Blue Beetle (Ted Kord version), The Question and many many more. Ditko was frustrated by creative restraints at other publishers namely Marvel comics Steve would find his outlet at Charlton. Ditko would produce book after book and created some of the finest work in comics at the time. Some of Ditkos work on various Horror Anthologies like Ghostly Haunts, and The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves are a feast for the trained comic artist eye. Most of Mr Ditkos work is available online for the internet savy of our readers and is worth the read.

    The Charlton philosophy was that their sales on individual books were reasonably low so the idea for them was to push as many books to the market as possible and grow their business model with volume. It is safe to say that all books were not comics gold. In fact many titles suffered very short unmemorable runs but a few still stand up to today’s standards of what is acceptable.

    Konga..well I guess its up to you guys to decide on what side of the scale this book sits on.

  2. mwentworth says:

    I did not know Ditko worked on the horror books, I will have to dig into the longboxes because I know I have some of those. When I first started collecting, I got into DC’s House of Mystery and House of Secrets, so I would usually pick up any similar books I ran across.

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