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George Wildman: The Charlton (m)Ad Man

Do you know how to hustle? George Wildman sure knew how.... and we're not talking about that disco dance craze, but we will travel back to 1970's. George. Got. Stuff. Done. B.C. (that's Before Charlton) George was an Ad Man, and if you happen to be a fan of AMC's Mad Men you know that in the world of advertising, slow and steady definitely does NOT win the race. It's funny how things can change, because although advertising was George's chosen profession, when times got a little rocky, Charlton offered him a second career. He originally just did some freelancing on the side, but Sal Gentile saw more and made him assistant editor, then a few years later he became the head Editor of the comics division.

We met up with George back on April 13th and he gave us a full rundown on what went on behind-the-scenes. You might remember his Popeye art (which he did while working as Editor), or his rebranded Charlton bullseye logo. Did you know it was his idea to use Charlton's distribution trucks as mobile billboards, and that he was able to wrangle better pay rates? He was the first to travel and do PR for the company, and even managed to get the building handicap accessible for one of the color separators.

....Suffice to say, well, George did a lot in his 16 years that the helm.

We'd also like to extend credit for this interview to George's son (and business partner) Karl Wildman. Karl is another part of the Charlton legacy. He's heard all of his dad's work stories, but he also worked in the factory and has shared quite a bit of information of who else we should be talking to. Thanks Karl!


But wait, there's more! We kept the momentum going in April by heading down to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in New Jersey for the East Coast Comic Con. While there we caught up with other Charlton favorites: Mike Zeck, Neal Adams, and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. We saw our friends Garry McGinnis and Mikey Plague, and we even made a new friend Mark Holmes who was cool enough to snap some pix for us! ​We joined Paul Kupperberg and Mort Todd for an All Things Charlton panel, and to make the panel extra special, Karl Wildman joined in to round off our team. You can listen to our panel here.

L to R: Keith Larsen, Paul Kupperberg, Mort Todd, Jackie Zbuska, Karl Wildman. (picture courtesy of Mark Holmes)

Now, before we sign off: If you happen to be at a con with us, please say HI! We love to make new friends and hear your thoughts on the project! And, as always, if you know or are someone who worked for Charlton, we wanna hear from you! The story is about the Comics division, but the people who worked there are also near and dear to this project - the story is incomplete without you! Drop us a line at Until next time, Up & Atom! Jackie and Keith

photo courtesy of Mark Holmes

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