In this entry of Off The Rack Comics I am covering yet another Charlton title. This one is Monster Hunters and it ran for eighteen issues from August of 1975 until February of 1979. This title I do remember reading regularly thanks to my grandmother, who would buy issues for her husband to read that would then be passed along to me.
As was the norm for Charlton titles, they were published bi-monthly and varied in quality from issue to issue. Though they featured beautifully painted covers early on, this eventually changed to drawn covers that ranged from very cool to somewhat silly. It seemed that as the series went on, the quality of the covers went down, which was a shame. The painted covers that Charlton were known for stood out so much on the comic book rack in ways that Marvel and DC titles could never match.
Artists like Don Newton and Tom Sutton did the best covers though Mike Zeck contributed to some great covers as well. Steve Ditko and Enrique Nietowas were also regular artists on this series.
This series also featured a host who would narrate the stories. His name is Colonel Whiteshroud and he belonged to the Monster Hunters Club. In addition to two or three full length stories, each issue would feature one or two full page strips just briefly touching on a monster in history. As was common with many of their horror titles there would also be a non-illustrated, one-page short story and in some cases there would be a themed word-search puzzle. This was a way for Charlton to advertise their own “Find-A-Word” and “Seek-A-Word” word search magazines on newsstands.
Monster Hunters had a brief publishing hiatus between issue nine and ten. After issue thirteen, the series began reprinting stories from other Charlton titles. Issue seventeen was even a complete reprint of issue three of the same series, with a new cover. Issue fourteen was touted as a special issue, as it featured all Steve Ditko art.
One of the problems that seemed to be a part of all of Charlton’s titles was printing and the trimming of issues. It was very common to open the cover only to find the pages inside slightly smaller than the cover as the trimming was off. There were also times, though not as common as the trimming issue, where the color aspect of the printing did not match up to the lines in the drawings, giving the whole page a very unprofessional look.
Modern Comics reprinted the first two issues of Monster Hunters to be released in three-packs of comics in bags sold in department stores. Instead of “all new” above the logo, it was replaced with “LOOK OUT!” The first issue of this series did not feature a bar code but on the second issue it returned and on the reprint, Modern inserted the words “READ COMICS!”
It truly is a shame that these series ended the way they did, with reprints and the decreasing quality. These series all need to be put together into collections, much like Gwandanaland Comics does. Hopefully modern readers will get to see these again in the very near future.
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