Sunday, August 7, 2011

E-Man Part One--The Origin of E-Man

by Jack Seabrook

Note two things not seen anywhere
in the story:  the Brain's tentacles
and Nova's skintight purple outfit!
Back in the 1980s, when I sold off my comic book collection, I saved two series:  Will Eisner's The Spirit and E-Man.  I have long wanted to look at E-Man in more detail.

The first issue hit the newsstands in the summer of 1973, and I can remember standing at the magazine rack in a grocery store in Corsicana, Texas, when I spotted the words "First Edition!!" and "Collector's Item!" on the cover.

The E-Man story, which is untitled, is in two parts, spanning sixteen pages.  Part one, "The Beginning," follows a sentient burst of energy from its genesis millions of years ago through its encounter with a star-ship from Alpha Centauri.  The ship is guided by a giant brain in a glass dome.  The energy burst changes itself into a duplicate of one of the Brain's robots, and the extra weight causes the ship to change course and crash land on Earth.

The energy burst travels along high-tension wires and ends up in a light bulb on the makeup mirror of Nova Kane.  This page, with drawings of Nova in her dancer's outfit, both attracted and frightened me, and I have never forgotten it.  Nova explains that she's working her way through college as an exotic dancer.

I have never really gotten over this page.

In part two, "The Brain and the Bomb," the energy burst, having taken the form of a handsome young man, christens himself E-Man.  He and Nova are menaced by her landlord, who has suddenly gone crazy.  E-Man deduces that the man had been near the site where the star-ship crashed; E-Man travels there instantly by telephone line, while Nova takes her jeep.

The residents of the small town in upstate New York react violently.  E-Man shows off his new orange and yellow costume, and he and Nova track down the star-ship and the Brain.  E-Man destroys the Brain, saving New York from a bomb that would have turned everyone into a violent maniac.

E-Man #1 was the first time I saw Joe Staton's artwork, and I always liked it after that, especially when he started drawing superheroes for DC.  This story is filled with fun little touches, including a couple of off-the-cuff references to Tolkien.

Sauron to testify--against Baggins?!?
Baggins indicted?!?
The issue is rounded out by an eight-page story called "The Knight--Operation: Rotten Apple!"  This is a throwaway story illustrated by Tom Sutton.  Both stories were written by Nicola Cuti, who would write almost all of the best E-Man stories.

I had a similar reaction to this
filler story.
E-Man #1 is a Charlton comic, so its distribution was never very good.  It is packed with wonderful ads, some of which are reproduced below.

For more information on E-Man, I recommend this cool website:

Had I only known
hair loss=power
and prestige!

I think these have another
name today...

How I wish I
had one of these!


John Scoleri said...

I recall coming across E-Man during his First Comics incarnation. You've got me tempted to track down the Charlton run...

Jack Seabrook said...

The Charlton run is much better than the First Comics run, which got off to an unfortunate start with Martin Pasko scripting.

Peter Enfantino said...

Tom Sutton! Tom Sutton! Tom Sutton! One of these days I'l clear my desk and take a look at Charlton's horror comics. I've got them all. Now I just need the time. Great article, Prof. Jack. Can't wait to read more.

Todd Mason said...

Do the Charltons still have that peculiar scent?