13 COVERS: A DON NEWTON Birthday Celebration

The late, great artist was born 88 years ago on Nov. 12, 1934…


In the early 1970s, Charlton Comics opened the door for several artists who would later go on to fame at DC and Marvel. Among them were Joe Staton, John Byrne, Jose Delbo and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez. Oh, yes, there was also a teacher by trade who had been drawing and painting covers for a number of comic fanzines for years. He also liked to suit up as his favorite hero, the Golden Age Captain Marvel, for comic conventions. His name was Don Newton (born November 12, 1934).

His time at Charlton from 1974 to 1977 included well-drawn stories (especially on The Phantom) and exceptional painted covers. It was no surprise that DC quickly recognized his talent and set him to work drawing Batman, Aquaman, and the one character he wanted to do the most, Captain Marvel (aka Shazam!). There were other features for DC and a couple for Marvel, and his future looked bright. However, on August 19, 1984, Don Newton died of a sudden heart attack. He was only 49 years old.

For his birthday today, though, we celebrate when he was a star on the rise, about to become one of the greats. Here are 13 of his first works as a professional comic book artist — 12 covers and a splash page!

Ghost Manor #18 (May 1974). “The Empty Room” was Don Newton’s first professional art.

The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves #49 (Jan. 1975). Newton’s first cover, inked by Dan Adkins.

Haunted #21 (Apr. 1975)

Ghostly Tales #115 (May 1975)

Haunted #22 (June 1975)

Teen Confessions #89 (June 1975)

Monster Hunters #1 (Aug. 1975)

The Phantom #67 (Oct. 1975)

The Phantom #68 (Dec. 1975)

The Phantom #69 (Feb. 1976)

The Phantom #71 (July 1976)

The Phantom #73 (Oct. 1976)

The Phantom #74 (Jan. 1977)


— Here’s DICK GIORDANO’s Moving Eulogy for DON NEWTON. Click here.

— Just Look at This Unsung BATMAN Splash Page by DON NEWTON. Click here.

PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagehas just been published by TwoMorrows. He has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. Peter lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. At the time, I never really appreciated the painted covers. But, those Phantom covers are some nice work. I always enjoyed Don’s take on BATMAN.

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  2. My favorite has always been the last one in your series, from Phantom #74. While Hermes Press includes all of the Don Newton stories in its final Charlton reprint, they also have a reprint volume dedicated to just the Don Newton stories. But I’m shocked — shocked — that DC never released a Tales of the Batman: Don Newton Volume 2. Looks like it would have been as much of a best seller as Volume 1.

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  3. I was already enjoying Charlton’s Phantom series, and then along came Don Newton’s electrifying new take. I’ll never forget how exciting his early work was.

    Any comics fan who hasn’t seen Newton’s work should seek it out.

    Newton was a special talent, and his premature death was a tragic loss for every lover of the comics medium.

    Thanks for this great compendium!

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  4. Happy birthday to the late Mr. Newton. His painted covers here really know how to capture the imagination.

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  5. My first exposure to Don Newton was Phantom 73. I remember wishing he’d draw Batman. Got my wish when he did the Batman appearance in Aquaman a few years later and, eventually, in Batman and Detective Comics. I too would love a Volume 2 Tales of the Batman. I’ve got a lot of his work in the Gerry Conway series, but he did a lot of other great work after that.

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