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Showing posts from June 29, 2014

When The Mob Met Charlton (Comics)

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The history of Charlton Comics is well known to most, especially the beginnings.  Charlton was formed in 1940 by John Santangelo, Sr. and Ed Levy, who met while incarcerated.  Jail is often the meeting place for strange bedfellows and this was no exception.Santangelo, a bricklayer, was serving time for copyright violation, Ed Levy, a lawyer, was in for a billing fraud conviction.  Formulating an idea they decided to team up and upon release established a printing plant.  From there the duo branched out into publishing, first with music magazines and eventually comics.
It's worth mentioning that most paper printing plants in America in the 1950s and beyond were generally used by various mobsters to print and distribute pornography and counterfeit, and generally illegal, items.  The allure of such publishing was twofold – it could be done cheaply and the end result sold for a massive profit.  Added to the attraction was that such items were hard for the authorities to track the origi…