According to comics lore, in 1983, for about $30,000 plus royalties, DC Executive Vice President Paul Levitz acquired the Charlton Action Hero titles as a gift for Dick Giordano, who by then had returned to DC. Then, after 40 years of steady but mostly mediocre production, Charlton Publishing closed their comic book publishing operation in 1985. The following year, the Charlton Action Heroes served as the template for Alan Moore and Dave Gibbon’s critically acclaimed Watchmen series.
In epitaph to the missed opportunities of the Charlton era, former editor-in-chief Dick Giordano said, “If they had wanted to go head-to-head with DC Comics, quality of the artwork, quality of the stories, quality of the printing and distribution, they probably could’ve done it at two-thirds the cost that DC was paying. And if they had done that, they really could have turned the comic book publishing business on its ear. But they chose to be junk dealers, they really did”