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Review: E-Man #1

E-Man #1
Cover by Joe Staton

E-Man #1
Published and © by Charlton, October 1973

Title: “E-Man”
Synopsis: An energy packet released from a nova star gains sentience and eventually makes its way to Earth to become … E-Man!

Writer: Nicola Cuti
Penciler: Joe Staton
Inker: Staton

Review: As the Bronze Age pulled superhero comics in a darker, more realistic direction, E-Man stands as an anomaly. Nicola Cuti’s script captures the feel of madcap, old Golden Age comics; readers get the sense anything can happen. And Joe Staton’s cartoonish art is the perfect fit for E-Man’s zany adventures.

•••

Title: “Operation: Rotten Apple!”
Synopsis: Knight and other agents of C.H.E.S.S. investigate a government contractor – and discover more than they bargained for!

Writer: George Wildman
Artist: Tom Sutton

Review: A bit of Bond. A splash of Steranko. The Knight – featuring stylish cartooning from Tom Sutton – could’ve been a contender.

Grade (for the entire issue): B+

Second opinion: “The origin story was interesting and competently told, and later issues built upon this high standard.” – William G. Wilson Jr., Art & Story #1, 1976 … “Between Nick Cuti’s bouncy dialogue and sly humor and Joe Staton’s semi-cartoony, spirited art, E-Man … was a sheer delight.” – Michael Eury, Back Issue #18, October 2006 … “… written and drawn with a comic lightness … a lot of fun.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: Charlton’s “all new” era just oozed cool, and E-Man is no exception. The series debut was headed for a B but earned its plus on coolness alone.
Not-so-cool factor: Quality control issues mean finding high-grade copies of any Charlton comics from this era tough.

Notable: First appearance of E-Man and Nova Kane. … Includes a one-page text feature titled “Melifera Adamsonii on the Warpath.”
Collector’s note: According to the Grand Comics Database, there is a Modern reprint of this issue from 1977.

Character quotable: “I am and I know that I am, but who … what am I?” – the energy packet who would become E-Man
A word from the writer/co-creator: “I was reading an Arthur C. Clarke book on the planets and the stars, and he talked about novas, about a star erupting and then cooling back down again. And there was, of course, a great deal of energy given off when the star novas, and I thought, ‘Well, there you go. (E-Man) was created when a star novaed.’ ” – Nicola Cuti, talking about finding an origin for E-Man, in Back Issue #13, December 2005

Editor’s note: This review was written July 15, 2020.

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