Nicola Cuti talks about E-MAN

E-Man is part of the Charlton Arrow Volume 2 launch. The Iconic E-Man is returning to comics with an all-new three-part story from E-Man creators Nicola Cuti and Joe Staton. Nick was nice enough to stop by First Comics News to catch our reader up on all things E-Man.

First Comics News: How did you get started at Charlton Comics?

Nicola Cuti: I had discovered Wallace Wood’s name on one of his printed portfolio’s on sale at one of Phil Sueling’s convention and phoned Woody to ask him if I could show him my own portfolio. It wasn’t very good but was good enough to be hired as Woody’s assistant. Since Woody lived in Woodmere and I lived in Valley Stream we set up a studio on Rockaway Avenue between our two homes. While working in the studio Tony Tallerico, a Charlton artist came to visit and told me of the assistant editor’s job opening at Charlton. I interviewed with George Wildman and was hired.

Did Charlton consider their run with superheroes successful?

Nick: No. They recognized that Marvel and DC Comics had the field sewn up, however, George was such a dynamic editor, making so many positive changes, such as redesigning the Charlton logo and putting artwork on our delivery trucks, that when he suggested it at one of the publisher’s meetings, the publishers decided to give it another try. It didn’t work. Kids wouldn’t buy Charlton superheroes when they could easily go for the Marvel/Dc ones.

1st: How did you convince them to go ahead with E-Man?

Nick: When George Wildman came back from that fateful publisher’s meeting, he told me he had convinced them to go with superheroes and asked me to come up with one. After some thought, I decided to go with a superhero in the vein of one of my boyhood favorites, Plastic-Man. I asked for Joe Staton as the artist because I loved his work on “Primas” and some of the ghost stories we had done together. Joe drew up a spectacular version of the character and we were off.

1st: What was E-Man’s first origin?

Nick: Originally, E-Man was a factory worker caught in an explosion. Joe hated that origin and asked me to come up with something better. I was in the middle of reading a book on astronomy, “Challenge of the Stars” by Patrick Moore and David Hardy and was reading a section on star novas and it struck me. Having E-Man a bundle of energy released from a star nova would work much better. Joe agreed and E-Man was born.

1st: What is it about Einstein’s theory of relativity that excites you?

Nick: I had been reading books on Einstein’s theories ever since I was a teen. I considered it a revolutionary new way to look at the universe, so simple yet so reasonable. I was especially enamored with the formula E= mc2. Again, it was the simplicity, yet how it encompasses an incredible concept, energy to matter and matter to energy.

1st: How did you meet Joe Staton?

Nick: Joe and his charming wife, Hilary, had stopped at Charlton during their honeymoon, hoping to pick up work. George liked Joe’s art style and hired him. Joe would stop in the offices to drop off his work and so we became acquaintances and then friends.

1st: How did E-Man change once Joe was involved?

Nick: As I said, it was Joe’s dislike of the origin story which forced me to come up with a more cosmic one.

What was the initial fan reaction to E-Man? I told Joe I wanted no cape and have E=mc2 on his chest. Joe came up with a real cool design for the E=mc2 and I colored JOE’S black and white drawing, using the energy colors, orange and yellow.

1st: Charlton sold most of their heroes to DC Comics, how did you get control of E-Man?

Nick: Joe actually was responsible for that. When E-Man was dropped by Charlton after issue # 10 Joe went to see John Sangelo, the publisher and used his own money to buy the rights to E-Man. Therefore, when Dick Giordano, DC Editor, and former Charlton editor, came to Charlton to buy their superheroes, E-Man was no longer a Charlton superhero. Joe was at First Comics and shared the rights for E-Man with them. I was so flattered that Joe cared enough about the character to do what he did and to show you what a kind and generous person he is, Joe shares any profits he makes on E-Man with me.

1st: E-Man has been around for 44 years. How do you adjust the character to match readers changing tastes over the years?

Nick: I never really thought about it. I guess I leave the clothing styles up to Joe. I wondered why he doesn’t draw hippies anymore, now I know.

1st: Who is Nova Kane?

Nick: She is a college student who earns her way as a burlesque stripper, due to her statuesque figure and love of dance. She met E-Man by accident when he ended up in the lightbulb of her dressing mirror. After several adventures together, she was blown to pieces in an underground explosion but was able to reform herself the way E-Man does and became his partner and girlfriend.

1st: How close is Katrinka Kolchnski with her family?

Nick: Nova loves her family dearly but due to distance and her jobs as college student/stripper/superhero she rarely gets to see them. However, she does make a trip to Pennsylvania to see them in a three-part adventure, soon to be published by the Charlton Arrow.

1st: What does her family think about Alec Tronn?

Nick: They know all about Nova’s relationship with Alec Tronn, aka, E-Man. Their secret identities are more for convenience than actually a secret. The world knows that Alec Tronn and Nova Kane are actually E-Man and Nova.

1st: Does her family know she is Nova Kane?

Nick: Yes, they know her as Katrinka Kochinski, Nova Kane and Nova. She keeps no secrets from them and they accept her odd lifestyle.

1st: How does Anya fell about having a famous sister?

Nick: Anya loves her big sister but is a bit jealous of her flamboyant lifestyle. She leads a very mundane life and dreams of becoming a superhero herself. She gets her wish in the three-part E-Man story but, in many ways, it is both a blessing and a curse.

1st: How does Anya get super powers?

Nick: She gets them from two of E-Man and Nova’s worst enemies, Samuel Boar and the Brain. They intended to use her as a puppet to capture E-Man and Nova.

1st: Will Anya use her powers for good or evil?

Nick: I’d rather not say since it will spoil the reveals in the three-part story. Read the story and you’ll know.

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