E-Man

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E-Man
FirstEman.jpg
E-Man #1 (First Comics)
Publication information
Publisher Charlton Comics, First Comics, Comico, Alpha, Digital Webbing
First appearance E-Man #1 (1973)
Created by Nicola Cuti, Joe Staton
In-story information
Alter ego Alec Tronn
Abilities energy-based

E-Man is a fictional comic book superhero created by writer Nicola Cuti and artist Joe Staton for Charlton Comics in 1973. Though the character's original series was short-lived, the lightly humorous hero has become a cult-classic sporadically revived by various independent comics publishers.

Publication history[edit]

Charlton Comics[edit]

The character premiered in E-Man #1, the first of ten issues (cover-dated Oct. 1973 - Sept. 1975) published by the Derby, Connecticut-based Charlton Comics.[1] For the last four, artist Staton created painted covers, a comics rarity at the time.[citation needed]

The stories were humorous and lighthearted, in the style of Plastic Man, especially as E-Man could form himself into anything he wanted.[2]

E-Man #4 (Aug. 1974). Cover art by Joe Staton.

Backup features were Cuti and Tom Sutton's "The Knight", starring a superspy agent of C.H.E.S.S.; Joe Gill and Steve Ditko's "Liberty Belle"; two stories of writer-artist Ditko's superhero "Killjoy"; the time-traveling "Travis", by Cuti and Wayne Howard; and, in the color-comics debut of John Byrne, three stories of "Rog-2000", written by Cuti and starring a wiseacre, cigar-smoking robot Byrne had created in his fan-artist days.[1]

A supporting character, the grubby but right-hearted detective Mike Mauser, got his own backup series in Charlton's Vengeance Squad. An additional E-Man story, which introduced his energy-being "sister", Vamfire, appeared in the company's in-house fan magazine, Charlton Bullseye #4.

In 1977, six issues were reprinted under the Modern Comics label for sale as bagged sets in discount department stores such as North America.[3]

First Comics[edit]

In 1983, during a period of financial uncertainty for Charlton,.[4] the company sold independent publisher First Comics the rights to E-Man. First's E-Man ran 25 issues (April 1983 - Aug. 1985), with the company also publishing a seven-issue miniseries, The Original E-Man and Michael Mauser, that reprinted those characters' Charlton stories.[5]

Staton did the artwork, with stories written by Martin Pasko, Paul Kupperberg, Cuti, and Staton himself.[5] In the course of the run, Staton acquired certain rights to the character from First, although First Comics retained ownership of those stories that had been published by them. As Staton described in an interview published in 2001,

The deal with E-Man was that I had an arrangement with First Comics so that they bought the rights to E-Man from Charlton, and then I was to repay First all their expense out of my royalties. The rights to E-Man were then supposed to revert to me completely. But some of us needed more lawyers than we knew, and the end result of how it stands, as I understand it, is that I have the right to do any new E-Man stories I want to, and I have the right to license any new E-Man material I want. Ken Levin, the lawyer for First, controls the rights to what First published. To keep the rights unified, Ken and I decided he would represent the whole E-Man package. ... [W]hatever I get in, Nick [Cuti] gets 50%, but so far, it's been nothing.[6]

Steve Ditko's "Killjoy", a two-issue backup feature

Later publications[edit]

Several years after the cancellation of the First Comics series, Comico published an E-Man one-shot (Sept. 1989) by Cuti and Staton,[7] followed by a three-issue miniseries (Jan.-March 1990).[8] After Comico's demise, Alpha Productions did two one-shot publications, E-Man (Sept. 1993) and E-Man Returns (1994).[9][10]

E-Man appeared in the two-page story "Come and Grow Old With Me", by Cuti and Staton, published in the magazine Comic Book Artist #12 (March 2001).

Cuti and Station reteamed for three one-shots by Digital Webbing Press published the one-shots E-Man: Recharged (Oct. 2006); E-Man: Dolly (Sept. 2007); and E-Man: Curse of the Idol, per its cover-logo trademark, a.k.a. E-Man: The Idol, as copyrighted, per its postal indicia (Nov. 2008), each with Cuti & Staton as the creative team, abetted by co-writer Randy Buccini on the third.[11][12][13][14] The indicia for each listed E-Man as copyrighted by "Joe Staton/First Comics".[citation needed]

A previously unpublished E-Man story (done originally for Alpha Productions) by Cuti & Staton, saw print in Charlton Spotlight #6 (2008), along with an unpublished Mike Mauser story.

Fictional character biography[edit]

E-Man is a sentient packet of energy thrown off by a nova. Traveling the galaxy he learned about life, how to duplicate the appearance of life, and good and evil. Reaching Earth, he met exotic dancer/grad student Katrinka Colchnzski (who attended Xanadu University), also known as Nova Kane (novocaine), and formed himself into a superhero dubbed E-Man, with a civilian identity dubbed "Alec Tronn" (electron). His emblem was the famous mass-energy equivalence formula "E=mc2", and his powers included firing energy blasts from his hands, changing his appearance, and transforming part or all of his body into anything he could envision (e.g., turning his feet into jet engines so he could fly).

Nova would later be caught in a nuclear explosion and gain the same powers as E-Man and become his partner; later still, she would lose her powers and become a normal human being again, only to regain her powers sometime afterward. During their early adventures they picked up a pet koala named Teddy Q, whose intelligence grew to the point where he had a job waiting tables in a cafe.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b E-Man (Charlton, 1973 series) at the Grand Comics Database
  2. ^ E-Man at Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original December 8, 2011.
  3. ^ E-Man (Modern [1970s], 1977 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  4. ^ Cooke, Jon B.; Irving, Christopher (August 2000). "The Charlton Empire: A Brief History of the Derby, Connecticut Publisher". Comic Book Artist (9). Archived from the original on June 28, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  5. ^ a b E-Man (First, 1983) at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ "Joe Staton, Man of Energy! The prolific cartoonist on E-Man, Mauser & Charlton Comics". Comic Book Artist (12). March 2001. Archived from the original on April 10, 2011. 
  7. ^ E-Man (Comico, 1989 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  8. ^ E-Man (Comico, 1990 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  9. ^ E-Man (Alpha Productions, 1993 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  10. ^ E-Man Returns (Alpha Productions, 1994 Series at the Grand Comics Database
  11. ^ "E-Man Returns to Comics" (Press release). Digital Webbing via Newsarama.com. March 13, 2006. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. 
  12. ^ E-Man: Recharged (Digital Webbing, 2006 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  13. ^ E-Man: Dolly (Digital Webbing, 2007 Series) at the Grand Comics Database
  14. ^ E-Man: The Idol (Digital Webbing, 2008 Series) at the Grand Comics Database

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Back Issue #13 (Dec. 2005): "E-Man: Cosmic Hero for the '70s" (Nick Cuti and Joe Staton interview), pp. 34–47