This book is the one I most excited about finding, and the main reason I put together a week of new posts.
This humble, no-frills edition of Flintstones comics came from Charlton Comics, part of a line of digests published in 1972.
But these editions were not sold on newsstands; no, they were done as educational books, and list "Xerox Education Publications" as a co-conspirator.
Even though these books are nothing special, they are nearly impossible to find, and expensive when you do (unless the particular eBay seller doesn't really know what it is they're selling).
This copy is the only one I've ever seen, so when I saw it for sale I made damn sure I got my hands on it.
It's hard even finding a list of what digests there are. Luckily, DigestFan Craig Wichman put me in touch with Michael Ambrose, Charlton Comics expert and publisher of the Charlton fanzine Charlton Spotlight, who was able to give me the lowdown on these odd little books:
"I don't have the definitive picture on the digest books Charlton put out, just a list of what I've acquired and what I've seen.
They seem like really odd birds. All are 5.25 inches by 8 inches, softbound, color covers, black and white interiors. Most of them collect Hanna-Barbera material, though there are some exceptions. I've no idea what the "Xerox Education Publishers Book Club" was, though I suspect it was another in the long line of promotional deals that Charlton made in its long history.
Nor do I have any dope on Pendulum Press, though I suspect another promo connection there. Charlton had a paperback book division in the late 50s and early 60s (Monarch Books, lots of soft porno sleaze and militaria) and there may have been a later connection with various paperback publishers, including Pendulum.
I don't know how any of these were distributed, either. Lots of territory to be discovered here!
Here's the list:
Charlton Digest Books
Format: 5.25" x 8", 64 pp unless noted
Publisher: Xerox Education Pubs, Book Club Ed. unless noted
Barney & Betty - 1974
CB Jokes - 1977
Dino - 1974
Doctor Graves' Magic Book - 1977
Doctor Graves’ Haunted Puzzlers - 1978
Flintstones - 1972
The Jetsons - 1973
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm - 1973
Road Runner - 1971, Pendulum Press
Space: 1999 - [nd; late '70s] Charlton Press, Inc. on spine, 46 pp, Gray Morrow spots w/ text, 5 stories
Yogi Bear - 1972
You'll note the few exceptions to the Xerox Book Club H-B material, the Road Runner book and the Space: 1999 book. As I say, there may be others. Maybe your blog readers can contribute to the hunt."
I hope so, Mike! Part of the reason I think these are so hard to find (besides being fairly dull, presentation-wise) is their maddeningly generic titles.
Right this second, someone on eBay might be selling the Charlton Yogi Bear digest, but do you want to wade through a couple hundred auction listings to see? No, I thought not.
But I intend to keep looking, because I'm that obsessive. And who knows? Maybe I'll discover something that will add to the diverse and peculiar history of Charlton Comics...