Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Classics - Kamandi #29

   Surely one of the strangest comics created by the legendary Jack Kirby, Kamandi was solidly set apart from DC's continuity.

   His adventures took place sometime in the future, after the Great Disaster, which left humans in a mute, animalistic state - and mutated animals into intelligent, humanoid-shaped creatures (well, mostly).

   As the series rolled along (this issue is from 1975), Kamandi crossed the country with his small group of friends. In this issue, he's traveling with the mutant Ben Boxer (an intelligent adult male who has the handy ability to transform into living steel).

   They encounter a race of gorillas that worship the legend of the "Mighty One" - and a handy stone carving recites the story (in comic strip form) of how that hero saved the Earth from destruction during the disaster by using his amazing powers to move mountains. After the work was done, he left, promising to return one day. (The cover, of course, gives away that hero's identity.)

   So intense is the legend for these gorillas, they each aspire to earn the rank of the "Mighty One" - so they take part in a number of life-threatening stunts designed to prove their worth. The first one is being shot from a catapult (yelling "Up, up and away!").

   Boxer upsets this fanboy race because he seems to have the qualifications, as a real "Man of Steel" - but it's Kamandi who figures out the secret at the heart of the contest, and he must fight to preserve the legend.

   It's a fun, over-the-top issue with amazing visuals and a compelling (if somewhat silly) story.

   It's also one of the very few Kamandi stories that actually connects to the DC Universe (the only other example I can think of is an appearance in Brave and the Bold - but that wasn't drawn by Kirby).

   Kamandi was an odd book, but Kirby wasn't capable of creating a comic that was anything less than purely entertaining - which is why I love these stories. They're just a heck of a lot of fun.

Grade: A-



Glen Davis said...

I believe Kamandi teamed up with The Karate Kid during the 70s, in a truly odd adventure.

Chuck said...

That's right! I think there may have been another one, but durned if I can remember it.

john said...

kamandi also teamed-up with batman in an issue of the brave and the bold.

Chuck said...

That's right - thanks, John!