KULL THE CONQUEROR #7

“Delcardes’ Cat”
Writer: Gerry Conway based on story by Robert E. Howard
Artists: Marie & John Severin

Kull comes on a fight at the front gate of the palace. An unruly man named Kulra Thorr from Zarfhanna was attempting to see the lady Delcardes. He has fallen in love with her but Delcardes is of royal blood and no noblewoman may marry a common foreigner. Kull decides not the put Kulra to death and instead banish him from the kingdom. Later an assassination attempt is foiled by a warning from Delcardes. In thanking her Kull learns that she has a talking cat named Saremes. Saremes can predict the future and Kull takes in the cat. Later the cat says that his friend Brule was dragged into the Forbidden Lake and only the king can enter this lake.

Well Kull is off to the lake and jumps in to rescue his friend. He has to fight a giant octopus, giant swimming spider and a gill-man that can disguise itself as a beautiful woman. A giant snake grabs hold and dumps Kull in the land under the lake. Here he finds a sword in a tree and pulls it out. Then he goes to the city and confronts the inhabitants who are walking dead. Because Kull has the sword they believe him a noble man and convince Kull that they do not have Brule.

So Kull goes back to the palace and confronts Saremes. He finds out that it is Saremes servant who was the real voice. This servant is none other than Thulsa Doom. Doom has his laugh then leaves. Delcardes apologizes for being in on the plan because she wants to marry her peasant. Kull decides to waive tradition and allow the marriage. Kull ends up with a pet cat that doesn’t talk.

So this was an adaptation from the master himself and it is one wild ride. Kull is just bombarded with one threat after another and just keeps on going. This was a really cool story that could be ridiculous if anybody but Howard wrote it. It flowed fast paced and you could really believe that the cat could talk. The story also introduces that Thulsa Doom is still lurking about and wanting to cause trouble. He makes a real good villain for this strip. A very enjoyable issue.

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KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #32

“He Ain’t Heavy…”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Paul Neary and Marie Severin

Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu are heading back home to the Savage Land. While they are traveling both envision their futures in the form of old sitcoms. Ka-zar Knows Best, I Love Shanna, Leave It To Ka-zar and The Honeysavages. Meanwhile Parnival Plunder aka the Plunderer is back in the Savage Land to loot it of its anti-metal. He runs into a tribe and gets the young members hooked on a portable video game. He promises them new batteries if they can find the anti-metal.

Ka-zar and company come home to their treehouse and find Parnival has taken up residence. Ka-zar is not happy to see his brother but Shanna convinces him to let him stay. He is after all family. So Ka-zar agrees as long as he does all the work which Parnival is more than happy to do. He is in fact bidding his time until the natives can find the anti-metal which they do at the end.

So this was an offbeat issue. You have the dream sequences of them in the old classic sitcoms. Sort of an interesting idea. I am sort of neutral on this issue. Didn’t really like it or hate it. Ka-zar’s brother is back and up to no good. I don’t think you can have a Ka-zar series without his evil brother coming around to cause trouble. I love the old portable video games used to addict the tribesmen. Q-bert. This does date the issue but brings back a bit of nostalgia. Those games back then were addictive.

HOWARD THE DUCK #9

“Do Do That Voodoo!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Howard and Bev are in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. They get into a fight and Bev goes off to talk to other men. During this time a guy in a duck mask has his henchmen kidnap Bev for a sacrifice to a duck deity. Howard gets into a fight with some loudmouth and is rescued by Mammy Tuba. She has a number of animals that can speak and she is a witch. She offers to help Howard by giving him a book on voodoo and some supplies. He then goes after The Dark Talon in Le Mort Bayou. Dark Talon actually wanted Howard and has been waiting for him. Howard uses the voodoo doll to cause pain in Black Talon by poking it with a needle. He also calls up zombie ducks to attack. Black Talon calls up the duck deity who is not happy with Black Talon. He kills Black Talon for all the ducks that were sacrificed.

“Heavy Business in a Mediocre Motel!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Howard and Bev are staying at a dumpy motel. Here both get in an argument over Howard’s attitude. Bev goes into the bathroom and Howard is in the main room. Both have conversations with their image in the mirror. Their mirror images both argue from them to break off the relationship. Howard decides to not take the advice and apologize but its too late. Bev breaks it off and kicks Howard out.

“The Linoleum Lizard”
Writer: Steve Skeates
Artists: Gene Colan & Ricardo Villamonte

Howard is now in Chicago after breaking up with Bev. He gets in the middle of a gunfight and wakes up in the office of private eye Dirk Byrd. A woman comes looking for Byrd and mistakes Howard for him. She drags him off to a mansion. There with here obnoxious sister and creepy butler Howard discovers the murdered body of the real Dirk Byrd. None of the inhabitants think anything of the dead body and Howard is taken to the mother. She wears a Deborah Harry mask and wants Howard to find her sons. She feels her daughters aren’t worth the inheritance. Her sons are one person with two heads.

Howard decides that these people are too weird and plans to get as far away as possible. Then he discovers the Linoleum Lizard Bar. This was a clue that Byrd left behind. After an altercation with a phony two headed guy Howard figures out the whole scheme. He goes back and the creepy butler is actually the two-headed son in disguise. He was there to bump off his two sisters and when Byrd discovered to truth he killed him.

“Howard The Duck: Homeward Bound”
By Steven Grant

An article on Howard’s origin and how he got his own series. I found it kind of interesting.

So this is the last magazine issue for Howard the Duck. The reasons given were many but it was stated that Howard would move back to the color comic line. The magazine run started out with some ups and downs. Bill Mantlo had some preachy and confusing stories in the beginning but was getting better and better. Since the Duckworld issue this series has been consistently enjoyable. Except for the loathsome Street Peeples I have enjoyed it and sorry that it came to an end. Howard the Duck is one really off the wall creation. Yet there was some enjoyable satire from everything about society. I will have to some day check out the color comic series.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #6

“The Lurker Beneath the Earth!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Marie & John Severin

At a gladiatorial game the Count Ducalon the dwarf is knocked into the arena with a giant bear. Kull jumps in to save him. Another man also jumps in and saves Kull from the bear. Zarkus is a wanderer who was delivering scrolls to the royal librarian. The librarian believes he has found the lost city of Qar. It is underneath the City of Wonders. Tu the royal councilor tells how an evil mage used the underground to poison the city’s wells. Kull decides there is no reward to finding the city and refuses to mount an expedition.

The librarian uses a flute to call a giant worm to life. Its presence once again poisons the city’s wells and forces Kull to mount an expedition. So Kull, Brule and the Red Slayers journey into the sewers along with the librarian and Zarkus. They find the city and the giant worm. The worm is killed and set afire. The librarian is killed by Zarkus when he finds the librarian playing the flute. Zarkus is killed by the flowers that destroyed the civilization and Kull wonders what happened to the city and Zarkus.

Another interesting entry in the Kull saga. I loved that they traveled under the city to this old ancient city. They find and kill a giant worm thing. A very fascinating and atmospheric story. Zarkus seemed to be a character with possibilities. The writer though decided to kill him off this issue. The city has the possibilities for unexplored mysteries and adventure so maybe it will be back.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #31

“But I Don’t Want To Go Back To The Savage Land!”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artist: Paul Neary

Ka-zar is throwing a fit because he was banished from the Savage Land. He then notices that some pterons are burning effigies of him and Shanna. So he goes out the window and beats them up. In the struggle a burning torch ends up burning down the couples place. So the next morning he goes to the peace council and presents the beat up pterons. Then he throws another tantrum and stalks off in a huff.

It is now that Dherk reminds the others of the first Pangean War. Centuries ago the Atlanteans found an abandoned cavern full of advanced technology from an unknown race that was creating the Savage Land we know today. They also find specimens of animals preserved from past times. So the Atlanteans create an amusement park. They also do genetic experiments and create the animal men. These animal men are employed as workers in the amusement park.

Well the animal men are treated like slaves. A bird-man named Tilbrok dies while defending a young ape-girl that was being attacked. Later the animal-men are locked up as the Atlanteans plan to automate the park. During the night an image of Tilbrok visits and the animal-men revolt. They win their freedom and the Atlanteans terraform Pangea.

Peace is at hand for Pangea while Ka-zar, Shanna and Zabu head back to the Savage Land. They are ambushed by Phangor the leader of the pterons. Ka-zar gets one more ass kicking in before he leaves Pangea.

This was a fascinating issue with the history of Pangea. I liked the idea of slave labor at an amusement park rising up in revolt. This was a good idea in explaining the history of Pangea and how it came to be populated by such a diverse people. The only thing I didn’t care for was that Ka-zar was such a whinny baby. I have seen two year olds act with more maturity. This was not the personality of Ka-zar that has been established. Hopefully the new writer will move away from this.

HOWARD THE DUCK #8

“The Grey Panther”
Writer: Bill Mantlio
Artists: Gene Colan & Dave Simons

Howard and Bev are hitchhiking and get a ride from a colorful old man in his modified Model T. He takes them to Miami and when he hears they need jobs takes them to a rest home. The Wake No More nursing home run by Gerry Atric. He gives the two jobs as aids. In reality Gerry Atric is the Grey Panther. A man obsessed with power to take over Miami and put the young people in their place. He kidnaps the under 30 attendants and forces them to play shuffleboard, rock, knit and gum down low sodium slosh. Howard is helped by one of the residents who is secretly working for the Social Security Administration. Appears Atric is misappropriating the residents Social Security checks. In the end the Grey Panther is felled by a heart attack.

“How the Duck Got His Pants”
By Steven Gerber

An article on the myths and facts of why Disney forced some changes on Howard so he wouldn’t look like Donald Duck. This included putting on pants. An interesting article.

“Ducktective Comics”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Marshall Rogers

Howard and Bev are enjoying themselves at the beach when a shark attacks. Howard stuffs a beach ball in the sharks mouth which when he bits down propels him away. Howard is now a hero and a man named Spruce Payne offers the two a job. He sells a Super-Scent that supposedly is the sweat of super heroes. He puts on a show at the Mammoth Mall where Duck-man and Duck-girl battle the supervillains The Jokester, Puffin and Quizling. It is a hit and he sells the potion for $20 an ounce. Later while doing the books he finds out that his supervillains are embezzling from him. They kill Spruce Payne and frame Howard and Bev for the crime. Now as Duck-man and Duck-girl the two battle these villains and the Maller to clear their name.

“Best Friends”
Writer: Lynn Greame
Artist: Ned Sonntag

Something is going on with the Street Peeple. Cheyenne meets a childhood friend and the gang go out to the suburbs for a party. Something happens but I have absolutely no clue whats going on. This feature is pure shit.

I absolutely loved this issue except for Street Peeple. The first with the Grey Panther and his goofy machines that were forcing the young to do what they made the residents do is just hilarious. Maybe I am getting old but I love it when the under 30 get their comeuppance.

The second was a Bat-man spoof and it was obvious what villains the trio were spoofing. There is even equipment like the Duckarang and a Duckmobile. An old VW with a bill in front at looks more like a penis then a duck bill. I think Bill Mantlo is finally getting the hang of what this series should be about. Just sheer goofyness and fun.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #5

“A Kingdom By the Sea!”
Writer: Gerry Conway
Artists: Marie and John Severin

A delegation of mysterious dark skinned men arrive at the court of Kull. They bring riches as a gift and have more to offer. They are from the island Demascar and at war with the neighboring island of Rikos. Demascar needs the aid of Kull and his Black Legion. Naturally everyone wants the riches and Kull is moved by their plight so agrees to help. So the next day Kull and his army set sail for Demascar.

When they arrive the island is attacked by flying dragons. This angers Kull for the Demascarians neglected to mention that Rikos was using dark sorcery. Still he agrees to continue on if only for revenge against the Rikovians. Brule meanwhile spys on the Demascarians and finds out their true plans but is discovered and captured. Later Kull is told that his friend was captured by Rikos and the army sets sail. Storm clouds form and an army of the dead sails toward them. They have been tricked because Demascar has called the army. They need sacrifices for their magic to work. Kull and his men are the sacrifices.

Brule manages to escape and throw the sorcerer in a flaming pit. This unleashes the demons on both islands. Kull and his army manage to sail away with loot and the rescued children of Demascar before both islands sink into the sea.

This was an interesting issue. Kull is persuaded to help some people that seem good. You get to see Kull’s disgust with the decadent Valusians he rules as they are eager to sacrifice others for the promised riches. Baron Kaanuub is still plotting against Kull and ends with an exciting battle. Good to see Kull leave Valusia now and then for adventures. Gerry Conway is showing he understands how to write Kull and of course the Severin’s art is excellent.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #30

“—Or For Worse!”
Writer: Mike Carlin
Artists: Mary Wilshire & Ricardo Villamonte

Ka-zar and Shanna are now officially married but have no time for a honeymoon. They are soon taken prisoner by the allied forces that attacked the Aerie. Ka-zar is fitted with a helmet that he can’t see or hear and given a sword. Then placed in an arena. Shanna is placed in the arena and two Tublanti guards are attempting to force her toward the blinded Ka-zar. Shanna is too smart and instead lures the dumb clods that the Tublanti are into Ka-zar and they are killed.

Then Dherk comes and frees Ka-zar. He is now finally free of Belasco’s control. They free Zabu and the Aerieans and the fighting starts anew. Just then the Botorese join the fight. They were brought by Leila only her people haven’t forgiven Ka-zar for the perceived death of Mele. So they start to question why they are in the fight. Ka-zar decides to threaten the unconscious body of Leanne to force the sides to stop fighting. It is agreed that the fighting will end but Ka-zar is banished from Pangea.

OK so this is one free for all issue. All these sides are fighting. Dherk is first against then with Ka-zar. I loved the way they tried to have Ka-zar kill his new wife Shanna. An interesting idea but still not good enough to do the job. A very fast paced issue with an ending that finds peace at the price of Ka-zar’s exile. Although the Pterons have not forgiven Ka-zar and still plan to exact revenge.

HOWARD THE DUCK #7

“Of Dice and Ducks!”
Writer: Bill Mantlo
Artist: Gene Colan

Howard and Bev find themselves back on Earth in the Florida swamps. It is here they run into the Man-Thing. The Man-Thing is drawn to the emotions of these two. Emotions that for Bev turn to fear and anything fears the Man-Thing burns. Luckily she faints and the fear goes away but the Man-Thing still picks up Bev and carries her away. Howard is knocked unconscious and later awakens in time to escape an alligator.

In searching for Bev he sees them go to a town that has been designed to look like the board game Monopoly. When Howard arrives at the toll kiosk he is given $200 and a little race car to use. Large dice roll a three and he breaks down at Baltic Avenue. The owner a blind blues critic sells the property for $100 and the race car. All the while the little men in suits appear and give him community chest or chance cards. One is to go to jail and he finds the chief architect for this town known as Swamp City. The man tells how the developer who became a gorilla named Kong Lomerate foreclosed all the property.

Howard stages a prison break and continues on to find Bev at a house. Man-Thing brought Bev to a young girl in a wheel chair who is the daughter of the architect. Man-Thing has developed a bond and helps them to reunite her with her father and find her mother. The trail leads to Boardwalk where Kong Lomerate has brainwashed the mother with all the consumer goods. A big battle ensues that sees Man-Thing defeat Kong and free the inhabitants of Swamp City. In gratitude they give Howard and Bev some money. But the money is phony play money so the Greyhound bus driver throws them off and they are forced to walk to Miami.

“Duck of Many Faces”
By Bill Mantlo

A portfolio of several artist that submitted drawing of Howard and Bev. Marie Severin did The Cheap Ducktective. A sort of Noir detective picture. John Byrne King Duk’s Tomb. An Egyptian mummy scene. Marshall Rogers Duckman a parody of Batman. Walt Simonson Snailian. A take on the Alien movie. Howie Chaykin Fred ‘N Ginger. A Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers look.

“Dynamite Baby!!”
Writer: Lynn Graeme
Artist: Ned Sonntag

Riff is still pretending amnesia so he can stay at the Street Peeple’s place because he has a crush on Cheyenne. Qwami gets involved in a plot to blow up the Bank of the United States.

Ok so Howard and Bev are back and find themselves in one weird place. I really liked this story with its use of a giant town based on Monopoly. Combined with the Man-Thing it was a very surreal issue but quite interesting. An enjoyable story for Howard’s adventures back on Earth and these are the stories that I enjoy. Looks like Bill Mantlo is getting the hang of writing for Howard.

The art portfolio was just some beautifully drawn renditions of Howard and Bev to the various cultural icons of the time.

Finally Street Peeple was just a stinking pile of crap. Characters you could care less about, incomprehensible plot and poor drawing. I suppose that was the sixties in a nutshell.

KULL THE CONQUEROR #4

“Night of the Red Slayers!”
Writers: Gerry Conway & John Jakes
Artists: Marie and John Severin

It is a hot summer in Valusia and the heat brings out tempers. Kull has to break up a fight by his Red Slayers that the minstrel Ridondo started. Ridondo is part of a four man conspiracy to depose Kull. The conspirators make a deal with the mysterious Melkori. The next day Melkori visits the court of Kull with his beautiful daughter. The daughter Jirane persuades Kull to take her on a cruise. So Kull leaves the city and goes off boating.

While away his Red Slayers start to murder innocent citizens and prominent opponents of Kull. The citizens start to openly rebel. Brule manages to inform Kull and he finds out that Jirane is actually an animated wax dummy. He goes to Valusia and rallies his real Red Slayers against the phony wax Red Slayers that Melkori had created. When he defeats them he throws Melkori to the Valusian mob to met out justice.

So Roy Thomas has left the writing to very capable hands. Gerry Conway using a plot by John Jakes tells an exciting story with an evil sorcerer. The conspiracy it shaping up to be a major opponent to Kull’s rule. Kull is shown that Alecto his commander of the Red Slayers and Brule the Spear-Slayer are reliable friends. The series is starting to shape up as a very viable ongoing series.