SUPERBOY [1st series] #183 (March 1972) "Karkan the Mighty Lord of the
In a parallel universe, Krypton explodes and the infant named Kal-El is rocketed
to Earth. However, through a twist of fate, the spacecraft lands in the African
jungle instead of on the outskirts of Smallville. The crash terrifies the local
gorillas, but later their curiosity leads them to investigate. Two of the tribe
discover the infant. The baby is crying due to the pain caused by a chunk of
green kryptonite lodged in the ship. One of the apes tells the other, a female
named Keena, to leave him. Keena will not abandon him for the serpents to eat.
Keena, a barren female, raises the child as her own, naming him Karkan the
Mighty in the gorilla tongue. Years pass and Karkan grows into a powerful and
resourceful teenager. When famine strikes, he brings food from afar; he easily
defeats threatening predators such as lions; and he eventually learns to fly.
When he is attacked by the giant python, Gorg, he refuses to kill it, allowing
the beast to flee.
One day, Karkan asks his mother Keena why he is mightier than the others. She
brings him to the crashed ship and shows him the colorful "pelts" (blankets)
which he wore. Karkan approaches the site and cringes in pain due to the green
kryptonite. Keena quickly takes him away from the "bad place". Later, when he
recovers, Karkan takes the "pelts" and decides to create clothing, so that the
others will no longer call him the "hairless one". As he tries to figure out
how to cut the material, his heat vision triggers for the first time, burning
Shortly, Karkan finishes and dons his new garment. He wears on his chest an
S-like shape, the mark of the python Gorg, as a symbol of his might. However,
instead of being more accepting of him, the other gorillas believe he is growing
stranger with each day. Sometimes they taunt him, saying he should join the
other hairless ones that they occasionally see on safaris. This only angers
One day, as he roams far from home, Karkan spots a group of men loading captured
animals onto a boat. Due to an inborn sympathy for the helpless, he decides
he must free them. Karkan flies at the humans, startling them. Just then, a
sudden flood sweeps many jungle animals down river toward the boat. Karkan watches
as the men release the captured animals onto high ground and decides that they
are good beings. He wonders if he is one of them after all. Karkan gathers the
hundreds of animals in the river and flies them to safety. The men leave to
report back what they saw.
Some months later, another safari invades the jungle, closer to Karkan's home.
They too come with cages. Karkan is unaware that this safari has an evil purpose.
A beautiful young woman named Toni asks her Uncle Karl when they will be heading
back to the coast. She says they have trapped enough poor animals. Karl replies
that they've just started. He has collected a dozen specimens of beasts that
are practically extinct, and they're worth a fortune. Toni protests, but Karl
The next day, they hunt for a couple of baby gorillas. They capture one, which
cries out for its mother. Karkan restrains the berserk mother, believing that
the humans are saving the baby from a flood. Karkan "helps" by flying more infant
gorillas to them in a cage of his making. He leaves them and flies away. The
humans are dumbfounded. Toni wonders who the handsome stranger is and where
he got his amazing powers. Karl doesn't care, he only wants to capture him,
stating he could make millions exhibiting the amazing man-ape all over the world.
Later, as they continue the hunt, the safari stumbles onto the crashed spacecraft.
Karl and Toni conclude that the wild stranger is from another world. At that
moment, Karkan flies in, wondering why the humans are in his secret place, the
place of pain. He suddenly collapses in agony. Karl notices that Karkan didn't
appear hurt until he neared the ship, and soon finds the green kryptonite. The
heartless hunter captures the poor teen and imprisons him in a cage, with the
green k close enough to keep him weakened but alive.
The next day, the humans leave in their boat. The apes follow Karkan and their
younglings along the shoreline. Later, Toni sneaks over to the cage and tries
to communicate with Karkan. She gets him to understand her name, and speaks
his own in turn. Karl appears and grabs her, telling her to stay away. They
struggle and accidentally knock the green kryptonite overboard. Karkan quickly
recovers and breaks free, pushing the boat ashore as bullets bounce harmlessly
off of his body. Karl vanishes, but Karkan notices that Toni is cheering him
After Karkan frees the young ones, he tells the gorillas that he will guide
them home, but Keena says he cannot come, that he is no longer one of them.
After the apes leave, Toni senses Karkan's despair. She befriends him, telling
him that they will return to her world together. She kisses him, and he flies
her towards the United States.
Toni has brought Karkan back to her home in Metropolis. He slowly learns to
speak English. In the short time that he has been in civilization, Karkan has
tried to help the humans, but they only see him as a berserk wild man, referring
to him as Super-Savage. One day, he attacks a "metal beast" (a crane) at a construction
site. Karkan believes he is saving the people present by destroying the "beast",
instead they begin firing guns at their would-be protector, which totally confuses
Elsewhere, Toni's Aunt Vera wonders why she ever let Toni go to Africa with
her Uncle Karl, who is still missing. Toni states that she believes Karkan will
soon become Earth's greatest hero. Also present is the family lawyer, J.R. Torrens,
who has important business with Vera and Toni, namely the reading of Toni's
father's will. Toni questions how Torrens knows her father is really dead. He
responds by saying her father, Eric Davis, vanished seven years ago, so he is
legally dead. A successful inventor, he left a fortune, and appointed Torrens
as his executor.
Torrens reads the will. Eric Davis left a mere $10,000 dollars to his sister
Vera. The remainder of his estate plus all unsold inventions are left to his
daughter, under the advice and guidance of Torrens. Vera and Torrens quibble,
then Torrens finally goes to open the large vault, but then realizes he has
lost the combination. Toni calls Karkan, who hears her with his super-hearing.
When the mighty teen arrives, Toni asks him to open the vault, and he easily
tears open the metal door. Vera asks Toni to send Karkan away because it is
private family business that they are tending to.
Soon after Karkan leaves, Vera releases knockout gas into the room. She loots
almost a million dollars from the vault and plans on heading to South America.
Not long after Vera disappears, Karkan spots the two unconscious figures and
rushes back to the room, expelling the gas with his super-breath. Torrens finds
a note for Toni and a small statuette in the vault. The note says that Toni
now holds the key to her future and the future of mankind. When Torrens prepares
to call the police, Toni tells him she won't have her aunt go to jail, and that
he should let her keep the money.
Toni recognizes the statuette as a miniature of a statue in the park which
her father planned on donating. She has Karkan fly her there. When they arrive
at the site, Toni explains that they stopped work on the statue after her father
vanished. Karkan accidentally pulls the arm of the miniature, activating a switch
which slides the statue to the side, revealing underground steps. In a subterranean
cavern, Toni finds her father's secret inventions. He never revealed them to
anyone because he felt the world wasn't ready for them.
Toni turns on a scanner designed to check on danger points throughout Metropolis.
They are alerted of a fire in the subway. Karkan streaks to the scene with Toni
to save the trapped passengers. Karkan pulls up the street, and lifts out the
subway cars. Fearful bystanders say it's the flying madman again ... Super-Savage!
Policemen begin firing at the misunderstood hero. Toni tries to stop them, saying
he was trying to save the commuters, but the police have orders to shoot on
sight. Karkan flies way from such an "evil place".
Toni later locates Karkan in her father's hidden cavern. She informs him that
they caught up with her Aunt Vera. She then tells Karkan that there is so much
he needs to learn about people, until then he can live in her father's secret
workshop. She'll teach him how to master his powers, to use them for mankind.
Karkan angrily replies that this "mankind" imprisons its fellow creatures in
cages; people rob and kill each other for greed; and they even tried to slay
him when he wanted to help them. Before Karkan flies back to his jungle home,
he tells Toni that he will keep watch over her with his telescopic vision. If
she needs him, he will come.
SUPERBOY [3rd series] #61 (April 1999) "Hypertension! Part Two: Superboy Of
As the post-Crisis Superboy tumbles through Hypertime, he views numerous alternate
realities, including that of Karkan the Mighty.
Killer Kelly I
Written by Richard Meyer
State Prison was the scene of a multitude of law enforcement officials and
reporters gathering to witness the execution of Killer Kelly. Also on hand was
the man who brought Kelly to justice, the Vigilante. In a strange oath, Kelly
vowed to come back from beyond the grave to get his revenge on the Vigilante,
which the mystery-man mused about after the killer had been declared dead.
Unknown to the Vigilante or anyone else witnessing the execution, Kelly had
arranged things so that a mere two hundred volts had passed through his body,
and had forced the officiating doctor to have him declared dead and cremated
(Kelly had threatened the doctor's family). The murderer now set about putting
his plan for revenge into play. Several nights later, Kelly and his gang robbed
the leading bank in Preston City, killing at least one guard in the process.
The next day, Greg Sanders, the radio star known as the Prairie Troubadour,
posed for some publicity pictures, his photographer saying that maybe they could
make him as famous as the Vigilante. On the location they were doing the shoot.
A steer got loose and threatened to overrun and kill a young boy. Greg jumped
in with the lasso the photographer had given him as a prop and hogtied the steer.
Later that evening, after Greg's radio broadcast, he met up with blues singer
Betty Stuart outside the studios. Betty commented on how she had read that he
was a hero in the paper. Greg was more fascinated about an article in the newspaper
that claimed that Killer Kelly's fingerprints had been found at the site of
a bank robbery.
At home that night, Greg changed into his other identity, that of the Vigilante,
and prepared for what he thought would be Kelly's next target if he was still
alive, that being the ball at the Van Ardsley's estate that night. He went to
the Van Ardsleys' ball dressed as the Vigilante, with all of the guests thinking
it was a clever costume. Kelly and his gang came dressed as pirates and soon
had everyone freeze and wanted all the jewels thrown on the floor. The Vigilante
moved in, and had the element of surprise working for him since Kelly initially
didn't believe that he was the real McCoy. As the mystery-man put several of
Kelly's men out of action, the villain headed for the rear of the room and grabbed
Betty Stuart as a hostage to get out of the building. Outside, he tossed Betty
aside and leapt into a waiting car and sped off. The Vigilante followed, riding
on the sideboard of a taxi, which pulled up alongside the car. The Vigilante
jumped across and into the vehicle, but Kelly was prepared and knocked him unconscious.
The Vigilante woke up in a makeshift death chamber. Kelly's man Slats was watching
over the "execution" of the hero with gas. He told the Vigilante how Kelly had
threatened the doctor's family to get himself "executed" safely, and started
the gas into the room and left. Slats had tied the hero up with rawhide, and
finding a bucket of water in the room, was able to free himself by wetting the
rawhide so that it would stretch a little. He plugged the gas nozzle with his
kerchief, and then waited for Slats to return to inspect his act of vengeance.
Slats entered and the Vigilante threw himself feet first at the thug, knocking
The phone rang, and the Vigilante impersonated the thug to his boss, who told
him of their next work, which was a safe-cracking job. The Vigilante hurried
to the site and captured Kelly with his lariat, tossing him and several of his
men out the window and onto the telephone wires below. He called the police
and Kelly was taken back to jail (and presumably, another execution). The Prairie
Troubadour was out and about the next day, acting much the drugstore cowboy,
much to Betty's dismay.
Action Comics #42
King Faraday (and Danger Trail)
King Faraday has been on the scene for quite awhile in the DC Universe, and
has been for probably a lot longer than the average fan realizes. Faraday was
a recurring character throughout a lot of the government & espionage-oriented
super-hero titles of the eighties, including CHECKMATE, SUICIDE SQUAD, and CAPTAIN
ATOM. He was "retconned" into being the mentor/contact for Nightshade
when she was brought over from Charlton Comics with Captain Atom. Faraday also
starred in the four-issue limited series DANGER TRAIL in the early nineties.
But before all that activity, King Faraday was in virtual limbo for over twenty
years ... and technically a bit longer than that. Originally, Faraday was the
one of the stars of the original DANGER TRAIL series, which lasted five issues
in the 1950's (and is now highly prized by comic collectors). He was created
by Robert Kanigher (best known for the Metal Men and Sgt. Rock) and Carmine
Infantino (best known for the Silver Age Flash, Batman, and the Elongated Man).
Faraday was a very competent and fairly dashing secret agent working for the
U.S. Government's counter-espionage forces. He traveled the world, ending up
in a variety of exotic locales. And, even in those pre-James Bond movie days,
he got his share of attractive ladies as his companions on his journeys. Now,
I doubt that there are really that many folks out there who really remember
reading the original DANGER TRAIL, but many do remember those adventures because
of an auspicious reprinting of them. DC Comics' published a landmark series
called SHOWCASE, which was a try-out title - characters were given a short run
(usually one to three issues) to see if their popularity and sales justified
giving them a regular feature or comic of their own. Such Silver Age stalwarts
as the Flash, Green Lantern, the Atom, the Metal Men, Adam Strange, and the
Inferior Five earned their comic book wings in this manner.
The May-June 1964 issue of SHOWCASE was the 50th issue of the title, which
is normally a landmark for any title (especially nowadays). That issue was the
first of two featuring 'I-Spy', each reprinting two adventures of King Faraday.
I don't think a lot of folks at the time realized these tales were just reprints
of stories from DANGER TRAIL (and WORLD'S FINEST COMICS, to be accurate). Supposedly,
a feature known as Yankee Doodle was to have headlined the issue, but it was
dropped at the last moment, and the DANGER TRAIL reprints ran instead. SHOWCASE
#50 did have a four-page framing sequence by Kanigher and Infantino, which may
have caused a few people to think it was full of new material, but the dramatic
changes in Carmine's style in the ensuing years is readily apparent to the trained
There were four King Faraday stories reprinted in the two issues of SHOWCASE:
"Spy Train" (which had Faraday on the Orient Express), "Hangman's
House", "Hunters of the Whispering Gallery", and "Thunder
Over Thailand". the introductory sequence introduces readers to King Faraday
and his job as a spy for our government. the important officials that King meets
give him the codename of 'I-Spy', and try their best to dissuade him from taking
the thankless job ... but King Faraday is definitely their man!
- "Spy Train" (originally presented in WORLD'S FINEST COMICS #64):
King Faraday boards the fabled Orient Express to search for a spy who has stolen
vital information from our government. the catch: No one knows exactly who the
spy is or exactly what he stole, making him doubly dangerous. King gets to meet
the lovely actress Vina Flora, as well as almost getting killed several times
until he finally deduces the identity of the traitor in his midst.
- "Hangman's House" (originally presented in DANGER TRAIL [1st series]
#2): King meets up with old friend Jimmy West, who needs the ace spy's help
to find a missing scientist who is being held captive in the legendary Hangman's
House. When Jimmy is killed by the same men, King heads into danger to avenge
his friend and collect the scientist before the fiends can torture all of our
secrets out of him.
- "Hunters of the Whispering Gallery" (originally presented in DANGER
TRAIL [1st series] #1): King overhears a chance remark in the train station
that indicates that someone is about to be murdered. That someone turns out
to be a lovely redhead, who is being pursued by a man from her past who wants
to eliminate everyone who could possibly identify him to those pursuing him
for his heinous war crimes. One possible error in the 're-mix': the ending of
the first story in this issue features King telling readers that 'I-Spy' was
concluding in that issue "for now". I think this message was supposed
to be at the end of the book, so perhaps the editors laid out the stories in
this issue in the wrong order.
- "Thunder Over Thailand" (originally presented in DANGER TRAIL [1st
series] #3): A man falls out of a skyscraper window and King finds a strange
elephant charm clutched in his dead hand, leading the ace spy to Thailand and
into the hands of a Nazi madman with a terrible new weapon.
DANGER TRAIL was also the name of a very underrated limited series that DC
Comics put out in 1992. I don't believe it was very well received financially,
and I am almost sure it was critically panned in it's day because of the creative
team (and the sensibilities of the time), but this series is a little gem. A
four-issue spy story that manages to entwine a whole bunch of archetypical espionage
situations with a likeable hero and a very evil villain, DANGER TRAIL was a
DANGER TRAIL featured DC's version of James Bond, the operative named King
Faraday. In the 1950's, Faraday starred in the original DANGER TRAIL series,
a short-lived adventure anthology with a spy bent. the series was reprinted
in part in SHOWCASE #50 and 51, as 'I-Spy'. Faraday has since been used infrequently
but prominently as a major member of the DC Universe's intelligence community.
He acted as a contact and mentor for Eve Eden, the former Charlton Comics character
known as Nightshade, and has had dealings with Captain Atom, Amanda Waller (and
her Suicide Squad), Sarge Steel, Checkmate, and nearly every other espionage
organization. DANGER TRAIL was his first real solo outing since the fifties.
DANGER TRAIL: "The Serpent in the Garden File"
After preventing the assassination of President Ortega of San Madeira, King
Faraday returned to the Washington Office of the Central Bureau of Intelligence
to get his next assignment from Sarge Steel (who was Secretary of the Office
of Meta-Humans). Faraday was to escort Natalia Sokoloff from Istanbul back to
Washington. Natalia, the former personal assistant to Professor Gregor Mendekov,
a missing nuclear physicist. She claimed to have important information on those
responsible for the professor's disappearance, but would not talk until she
was in Washington, as she believed her life was in danger.
Faraday met up with Natalia in a safe house, which ended up being not quite
so safe as they had to escape a number of men intent on taking Natalia. Faraday
and Natalia got away, and got on the Orient Express out of Istanbul wearing
disguises. Faraday was again accosted, this time by the porter. Faraday dispatched
him off the train, only to find himself caught between two gunsels on the roof
of the train.
After using the time-honored tradition of ducking to dispatch his pursuers,
Faraday returned to Natalia, who became extremely upset when Faraday absent-mindedly
traced the shape of a tattoo he saw on one of his attackers on the carriage
window. She attacked her companion and then jumped off the moving train, forcing
Faraday to follow. By the time he caught up with her and calmed her down, the
train moved on without them, forcing them to walk to the next stop. A helicopter
attacked them as they traveled, but luckily Faraday got the pilot to stray too
near to some power lines and the copter went down in flames. In the next town,
Faraday and Natalia came to, they were again attacked but managed to escape
in a power boat.
Word of Natalia's escape had reached the mastermind searching for her, who
was in fact the despotic Kobra. Meanwhile, Faraday and Natalia reached Venice,
where Faraday's old friend Pietro gave them some assistance. He also sold them
out to Kobra's agents (and ended up dying in a hail of gunfire). Faraday used
a shattered fish tank and a broken lamp to electrocute the thugs and they escaped
onto the canals in a motorboat. Faraday managed to contact Sarge Steel and arrange
for a pick-up in Paris, atop the Eiffel Tower.
After a rather uneventful night in the back of a supply truck (well, uneventful
in terms of not being attacked, anyway ...), Faraday and Natalia reached Paris
and the Tower, only to find their contact, Dupree, already dead. Kobra's men
descended on them and Natalia was taken. Faraday pursued, jumping after the
men onto a rope from a helicopter, only to have the belt of the man he was clinging
to break, causing him to fall from the upper deck of the Eiffel Tower ...
In true James Bond fashion, Faraday managed to glide on the air currents to
land atop a nearby hot air balloon. Sarge Steel met up with Faraday as he made
it back to solid ground. Meanwhile, Natalia was brought before Kobra. the madman
had been gathering nuclear experts from around the world to build the "ultimate
weapon", a nuclear device that, when detonated, yields no harmful radiation
(I assume that the explosive power would still be present, or this goes from
'ultimate weapon' to 'really stupid weapon'), in order to bring about the Kali
Yuga (the age of Chaos) which was Kobra's eternal quest. Professor Mendekov
told Kobra that he couldn't function without his assistant, which is why the
manhunt for Natalia was commenced.
Faraday and Steel went to the French branch of the CBI (a very James Bondian
operation) and was able to track the whereabouts of Kobra's stronghold by the
unique radiation that one of his deceased agents was emitting, which was Chernobyl.
Faraday and Steel accompanied the Russian military force that was storming Kobra's
base. Faraday confronted Kobra and Kobra was forced to flee in his Ark. Faraday
had booby-trapped the vehicle earlier and it exploded. Faraday and Natalia went
back to finish the task of getting her safely to Washington.
Danger Trail [1st series] #1-5
World's Finest Comics #64
Showcase #50-51 (reprints)
Ms. Tree Quarterly #8
Danger Trail [2nd series] #1-4
King Faraday was recurring in the Marv Wolfman run on BATMAN in the 80s and
I think appeared once with Robin in NEW TEEN TITANS.
King Faraday was also retconned-in as Nightshade's trainer and lover in an
issue of SECRET ORIGINS (to senselessly replace Captain Atom) though that's
just as likely been re-retconned out by now.
I was thrilled to read that summary of the Dingbats/ Newsboy Legion/ Green
Team crossover, it sounds hilarious.
Kings of the Wild
SHOWCASE #2's "Kings of the Wild" featured various characters
in wildlife adventures. One episode ("Rider of the Winds") was reprinted
in DC SPECIAL #5.
Knights of the Galaxy
Based on the Knights of the Galaxy stories that I've read, Artho,
Ora and Lyle were the only members named. The group was in MYSTERY IN SPACE
#1-8, the last three episodes of which were reprinted in PULP FICTION LIBRARY:
MYSTERY IN SPACE, DC SUPER-STARS #2 and JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #85, respectively.
The Knights were mentioned in TWILIGHT #1, no longer a part of DC continuity,
and popped up in that great issue of STARMAN (#55) that appeared last year.
Kolossal Kate Krasher
(alias, real name unknown)
First appearance: "Flashing Wheels" by Cary Bates (Script), Irv
Novick (Pencils), Dick Giordano (Inks), FLASH vol. 1, #211 (Dec. 1971).
Synopsis: While researching a story on a new Roller Derby sensation, Iris
Allen joins an opposing team and goes up against Kate Krasher, a woman Barry
Allen describes as “an Amazon” who “must weigh a hefty 300
pounds.” Kate promptly clobbers Iris. Semi-conscious, Iris looks at
Krasher as she skates away, but instead sees a “grotesque, monstrous
The next night, Central City is rocked by an earthquake. The Flash spends
the evening shoring up buildings, cleaning up debris and rescuing folks from
peril. He then visits the Institute of Science where he learns earthquakes
are impossible in Central City because of the many layers of strong bedrock
beneath it. He also learns that the epicenter of the quake was Broadway and
Main, the site of the Roller Derby rink.
Investigating at the rink, Flash discovers oddly glowing roller skates that
contain strange devices. Struck in the head, Flash identifies his attacker
as the same creature Iris saw just before he blacks out.
Flash awakens to find himself trapped by Krasher, who explains she is an
alien sent to destroy Earth. Her own world is dying from “natural and
unnatural causes,” she her people have decided to build a new planet.
But first, they must acquire raw materials by blowing up Earth.
The Roller Derby rink is actually the top of a “gigantic energi-coil”
which winds down to Earth’s core. The motion of the special skates going
round and round on the rink’s floor powers to coil, she explains, and
soon, it will have enough power to cause internal vibrations that will shake
Earth to pieces.
Flash breaks his bonds and dons a pair of skates. Skating counter-clockwise
at super-speed, he hopes to undo the damage Krasher has caused. Then, as the
Earth trembles, Flash realizes he has been going the wrong way and has actually
sped up the end of the world. Quickly, Flash grabs nine more pairs of skates
and begins skating clockwise so fast that he is able to keep all 10 pairs
going at once. Earth is saved and Krasher trips over a pair of skates, allowing
Flash to capture her and turn her over to the police.
It should be pointed out that Krasher is called Kolossal Kate on the cover
only. The name “Kolossal” Kate Krasher appears on a poster, but
otherwise, she is referred to as “Kate Krasher” incessantly throughout
Also interesting is the fact that the Kate on the cover, drawn by Giordano,
bears no resemblance to the character in the book. One the cover she is sneering
at Flash, but still looks female. In the book, she appears to be a husky,
Was this Kolossal Kate’s only appearance? As the police take Katie
away, Flash muses, “Something tell me I haven’t seen the last
of ëKate Krasher’ — or her race of determined Earth-killers.”
Hungry and cold, the young blonde boy passed through the snow and crept into
the cave where the clan of Cro-Magnons slept. It would mean his death if any
of the tribe was awakened, particularly the sadistic chieftain Trog. Luck
was with the boy and he escaped with a flaming torch and a mammoth bone to
act as fuel. Kong and his mother would not freeze this night.
Attu, the child's mother, was thunderstruck. "You went to the sacred
fire! If Trog had CAUGHT you — he is as the beasts! He has no heart! You
know that! You knew, and STILL you went. The spirit of Kong DOES live within
you. One day, you WILL be a mighty warrior. May the gods grant that you may
LIVE to see that day."
One of several non-super-hero titles launched in 1975, KONG THE UNTAMED came
from the editorial office of Joe Orlando. The text page in issue #1 related
the short-lived run of ANTHRO from the late 1960s and observed that "the
fall 1974 TV schedule proved that cavemen and prehistoric monsters are back
in fashion, so we decided it was time to try another magazine devoted to that
theme. And, rather than just redo Anthro, we decided to try an all new series,"
with Jack Oleck writing scripts and Alfredo Alcala provided exquisite artwork.
Berni Wrightson drew issue #1's cover.
The star of the comic book was to be "an adult caveman, the chief of
a tribe of the emerging Cro-Magnons. To make him an interesting person, we
began to think about his family, his childhood, and the social system that
he lived under. But as we grew more and more involved in the structure of
his youth, we decided that the tale of growing up in prehistoric days deserved
more than a cursory telling."
The youth had been born in the shadow of a battle between his mother's tribe
and a rival clan of Beast Men (the neanderthals). An hour behind the conflict,
Attu went into labor, praying to the moon goddess Lural that she might bear
"a man child that I may be honored by my people." Her prayer was
answered and Attu gave birth to a boy.
Resuming her trek, she caught up with her tribe only to be informed by their
leader, Trog, that the infant be taken away. Magl, the shaman, had noted the
child's hair, blonde in contrast to the common black and brown, and recalled
a legendary "strange tribe of great fighting men" who were "led
by a yellow hair. A mighty warrior called Kong. And Attu's child was born
while the goddess Lural showed her full face. The spirit of Kong may live
anew within him. All life comes from Lural. If she has given him Kong's spirit,
he will be a mighty warrior. A hunter, and unbeatable in battle."
The sorcerer had said too much. Trog had no desire to harbor a youth that
might one day defeat him. When Attu protested his attempt to crush the baby's
skull, Trog exiled mother and son from the tribe. "I'd kill you where
you lie were it not that female blood would steal the strenth from my axe."
A curse from the shaman effectively made them pariahs.
Attu christened her son Kong in recognition of the prophetic story. They
spent the next several years in seclusion, ostracized by any of their people
that they approached. While foraging for food one day, Kong was captured by
Gurat, a member of his clan's tribal enemies, the Beast Men. Gurat bound the
youngster and slashed at his body with his knife, anticipating that the scent
of his blood would draw animals and inflict an ugly death on Kong.
Kong outwitted his captor, escaping while Gurat slept, luring him into a
boar pit and thrusting a spear into his chest. Attu imagined that the death
of a Beast Man would put them back in the good graces of the clan but Trog
simply sneered and denounced them as liars. Kong returned to the pit to find
evidence but was captured himself by an entire tribe of Beast Men.
Against Trog's will, Attu raided the camp and freed her son — suffering
grievous spear wounds in the process. Kong left Attu in a cave while he went
in search of medicinal herbs but returned to find the horrific sight of his
mother's tortured corpse. Trog had vowed to kill Attu if she pursued her son
and he made good on the threat. A grief-stricken Kong denounced Lural for
giving him golden hair and making him an outcast. Trog, he promised, would
pay with his life (KONG #1).
While throwing stones at wolves, Kong witnessed sparks when two of the stones
collided. After experimenting with an assortment of rocks, the boy found two
that would start a fire. The flames did more than warm him, though. They also
attracted the Bear People, who placed Kong in a cavern to serve as a sacrifice.
The boy was astonished to find himself rescued by Gurat, who had survived
the earlier spear attack. His motive: "A whelp who dared defy ME deserves
better than to die like some insect caught in a spider's web." The duo
fought off an attack by a bear and fled, Gurat now as much an outcast as Kong.
Ultimately, the Beast Men captured Gurat, whom they proclaimed "an evil
spirit" and sentenced to death. Kong, because of his "magic"
ability to create fire, was free to go. The boy refused to leave, threatening
to "call down fire from the sky to destroy you all" as he held two
stones aloft. "I am an evil spirit. It makes no difference to me whether
you live or become ashes." The bluff succeeded and Gurat was permitted
to depart with Kong. "When we fought the bear," the Beast Man noted,
"our blood mingled. That makes us brothers" (#2).
When Trog's tribe was forced to flee its meal thanks to an attacking sabretooth,
Gurat and Kong decided to help themselves to the food — only to captured
when the clan returned. They were sentenced to death and hung over a volcanic
pit but the sight of a full moon gave the shaman pause. He cautioned Trog
against incurring the wrath of Lural by slaying Kong. The chief offered an
alternative. The boy would be welcomed back into the clan if he killed Gurat
with a spear. Kong took the weapon, rushed towards the Beast Man ... and cut
The rescue coincided with the eruption of the volcano, surely creating a
new legend about the wrath of Lural. Gurat and Kong didn't wait around, though.
They entered the same series of caverns where the sabretooth had been seen
earlier. When they emerged, the blood brothers found themselves in a lush,
green valley. The threat of Kong and Gurat's human enemies paled beside the
giant lizards — some of whom could fly — that they found here (#3). It's
entirely possible that the cavemen had stumbled through a portal into the
other-dimensional land that would be known in the 20th Century by names such
as Mikishawm and Skartaris.
Gerry Conway had scripted KONG #3 over Jack Oleck's plot and assumed full
writing chores with #4. Tony Caravana and Jo Ingente provided art for #4 while
David Wenzel and Bill Draut drew #5. The final two-parter concerned a female-dominated
tribe in the lost land who were commanded by Jelenna, the tyrannical priestess
of the goddess Dra. Kong met the clan when Rolen, one of the males, thrust
a spear into Gurat, who plunged in a river and was left for dead.
Gurat had been discovered by another tribe, one that was even more advanced
than the Dra clan. These warriors had built elaborate tree-houses, created
bows and arrows and even domesticated pterodactyls (whom they called the Lanktor),
equipping them with saddles and riding them like horses. The commander of
the Lanktor was a man named Errus.
Meanwhile, Kong came to terms with Gurat's death and prodded Rolen to rebel
against the leadership of Jelenna. Rolen denounced Dra as a false goddess
and demanded that the men of the tribe rise up in rebellion. The agitator
was bashed on the head by his bethrothed and, to Kong's orror, burned to death
as a sacrifice to Dra. Kong was spared a similar fate thanks to the arrival
of Gurat, Errus and others, all astride the flying lizards. A rain of flaming
spears and arrows left the Valley of Blood in ruins.
Kong's story ended with the fifth issue, his life commemorated only in a
write-up in WHO'S WHO '86 #12 and a mention in HISTORY OF THE DC UNIVERSE
Nice Wrightson cover on the first issue, the interior story was OK but unspectacular.
That was about the same time as Kubert's TOR, the first appearance of WARLORD,
CLAW, JUSTICE INC, BEOWULF, STALKER and a few others. With the exception of
WARLORD, which I loved, the rest were OK for a few issues but unspectacular.
But it was still good to see some new and different characters, and with WARLORD
we got one great series out of the bunch.