RIMA THE JUNGLE GIRL #1

“Part 1 Spirit of the Woods”

Writer: Robert Kanigher

Artist: Nestor Rodondo

A man is wandering through the Venezuelan jungle after being bitten by a bushmaster. He collapses and finds himself in the hut of an old man. The snakebite victim tells his story. He is Abel and was part of a failed revolution against the military regime. After the defeat and his friends were executed, Abel made his way into the Amazon. He heard of tribes that had gold which he could use to help the revolution. Instead he is taken in by a peaceful tribe. While staying with them he is drawn to a forbidden part of the jungle. There he meets a beautiful blonde woman. He sees a bushmaster snake at her feet and tries to push her out of the way. Only the snake was guarding her and bites the man for attacking the girl. At the end Abel finds out that it wasn’t the old man who saved him but his granddaughter Rima.

“Four Tombs!”

Writer: Jack Oleck

Artist: Alex Nino

The Space Voyagers an explorer vessel with four crew come on a new planet. They go down to explore and find footprints leading into the jungle. Following they come on an old man being attacked by a giant insect. Their laser guns have no effect on the insect so they lure it into some sharp giant thorns. This impales it and they save the old man. The old man leads them to a mausoleum with four tombs. On each of the tombs is an image of each of the crew.

This jungle girl series came out back in the early seventies with beautiful Joe Kubert covers. It was based on a book written back in 1904 called Green Mansions: A Romance of the Tropical Forest by W.H. Hudson. It actually predates Tarzan by a few years. I believe that the first four issues adapt the book. Interesting that the writer and artist are uncredited but my research shows Kanigher and Redondo are responsible. Why they weren’t credited is a mystery. Anyway another cool sexy jungle chick adventure and I love sexy jungle chicks. So far this series has plenty of potential.

The backup was a sci fi called the Space Voyagers. Like most of the backups of this time it was a completely different genre from the main series title. This was also a fun and enjoyable series that ends with an intriguing mystery for the reader.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #118

“The Valley of Howling Shadows!”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

Conan has stolen a golden chalice from the Saahkiar horde. He manages to escape them after causing an avalanche. Arriving at a small village he sells the chalice and hooks up with Shameel. The next morning the horde arrives and Conan and Shameel are forced to escape. While fighting the horde an earthquake destroys most of the horde. It also leaves only the Valley of Howling Shadows open to continue on. This valley is supposed to have unlimited treasure but nobody ever returns. The surviving horde become complete wimps and beg Conan to take them along. They have further adventures with a strange monster that when killed reveals to have gems in it’s guts. They continue to travel through a surreal landscape of walking skeletons, people hanging from wheels and various skulls mounted on polls. Not to mention a flying griffin that gives them a cryptic warning. They arrive at a village that seems normal but Conan has to fight some kook. When he cuts the guy’s head off he just picks it up and continues on. They finally arrive at a crypt and Conan has to kill the survivors after they go nuts trying to loot the crypt. Shameel finds her lost love who disappeared and decides to stay. Conan has enough of this weird place and leaves to find his fortune in more normal places.

“Alchemy”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artist: Tony Salmons

An alchemist is awaiting the return of his son with a crucial ingredient to his formula to make gold. Only instead Conan comes. Seems his son was supposed to kill him after he retrieved the ingredient. Conan fed the son to the dogs. He then decides to feed the alchemist to the dogs. The alchemist screams that he has discovered the secret and as Conan leaves we see that gold is formed.

So this issue was a very weird one. Yakata gave us a very surreal story of Conan traveling through this mystical landscape. There was a mysterious figure of a hooded skeleton that was in the background. Also strange was the complete collapse of the hordesmen after the earthquake. There was also plenty of drinking this hallucinogenic drink called Juk that was native to the region. A very strange story indeed. Yet I enjoyed it. The story was interesting and also the art of Kwapisz is always something to admire. His women are some of the most beautiful and Shameel was no exception.

The backup was not real great. A poorly done story backed up with horrible artwork. It’s only redeeming feature was that it was very short.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #152

“The Dark Blade of Jergal Zadh!”

Writer: Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan

Jerghal Zadh is a demon in another dimension that has a plan to take over our world. He sends his paramour Cleolanthe a beautiful woman to lure Conan. She pretends to be attacked by a flying reptile so Conan rescues her. He breaks his sword in the fight and Cleolanthe leads him to where he can get a new one. The temple of Jergal Zadh has a sword gripped in the hands of the statue. When Conan takes it, Cleolanthe conjures a horde of priests which Conan has to defeat. This is the plan of Jerghal. When Conan uses his sword three times he will become a soulless man and a slave to Jerghal. Then he will use Conan to take over the world.

So during the night Cleolanthe brings a dragon that has to be defeated. Only Cleolanthe then falls in love with Conan and refuses to create a third opponent for Conan. Jerghal sends this demon horde but Cleolanthe uses her power to destroy them. Only it comes at a price for she grows old and turns to dust.

This was an enjoyable story. We are introduced to this all powerful demon with plans to enslave Conan. He almost succeeds but Conan of course is just to manly for Cleolanthe to resist. So Conan really doesn’t have to do much in this story but be his irresistible self to the ladies. Must be nice to be him. At the end hints that Jerghal Zadh will try again so we may have some future stories with this fascinating demon.

ZORRO IN THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT #1

“Untitled”

Writer: Mike Wolfer

Artist: Alessandro Ranaldi

Fausto Caproni is launching an expedition to find the lost continent his grandfather found. He gets the financial backing of Don Diego and the Spanish government. Along with his sister Marina and six soldiers of the governor of Los Angeles he takes off in his ship Redenzione. While Don Diego says behind he still has some suspicion of the governors intentions and disguises himself as a sailor Patch. The ship does find the lost continent of Caprona. Using a smaller ship attached to balloons they manage to go over the cliffs and into the primitive land. There they are attacked by a pterodactyl and crash. After this some sabretooth tigers attack along with the pterodactyl. Only at the end Zorro appears to help the crew.

So American Mythology decided to crossover these two popular series. This actually was a good idea as both properties have their origins in the pulps. So far the series has my interest. It has a cool airship that gives it a steampunk feel. Wolfer uses the explorer’s grandson that was established in the ERB series to start the expedition off. Gives us some mysterious reason that the evil governor is interested in Caprona. Which is why Zorro tagged along. Another winner from American Mythology in their ERB series.

BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA OLD MAN JACK #8

“Untilted”

Writers: John Carpenter & Anthony Burch

Artist: Jorge Corona

Egg has found out from his book that the only way to defeat Ching Dai is for Jack to die. So he takes him aside and explains what he must do. Well instead of taking the offered angel’s blood to kill himself, Jack knocks out Egg and takes the book. He once again uses it to summon Ching Dai. The deal he makes with him is that he will not kill himself if Ching brings back Wang’s wife and daughter. Meanwhile Lo Pan and Wang find Egg and revive him. They go after Jack and find the blood wall his ceremony erected. They use negative energy to break through and find Miao and Winona brought back to life. They figure out that Ching got them from Heaven which still exists. Only this is bad for now Ching has a bridge to Heaven and can now conquer paradise. So Jack and friends get ready to once again confront Ching Dai and save everything.

This was a fun issue. So Jack gets Ching to bring back Miao and Winona who are the wife and daughter of Wang. We find out Heaven is still around and in danger. There is this whole speech that Lo Pan gives on how dangerous Jack is because he is the stupidest man alive. That he is the god of uselessness and gods are hard to kill. This series really has a lot of humor and heart to it.

CARMILLA #6

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Jones

Artist: John Ross

Georges has succeeded in killing Carmilla and burning her to a skeleton. He drags the bones away and goes about his life. Only the moonlight shines on the bones and resurrects Carmilla. We then go to Max coming home to a distraught Patty. Patty has found out that Carmilla is real from a picture and notes she discovered in Georges room. Georges comes on this conversation and tells them he killed Carmilla. The next day as Max finishes the film Carmilla confronts Georges. She tears out his eyes then goes to Patty. Max comes home and finds Patty dead.

After the funeral Carmilla comes to the grave and waits until Patty digs herself out. They both go to Max and have a threeway but Patty manages to kill Carmilla since she is now a vampire. They burn the body and inter the ashes in a silver lined box so she can’t come back. Max and Patty promise to love one another. We jump to 1983 and the grave of Max. His grand nephew Steven Jones is at the grave. He is visited by Patty who gives him the writings of his great uncle. Jones is a writer and will tell the story. Patty gets into her car and we see that Georges is still alive and the chauffeur.

So the final ending to the saga of Carmilla. The first three were an adaptation of the story and the second half was an original sequel. I loved how the writer inserted himself at the end. One of the first lesbian vampire stories this was an enjoyable read. Like most of the comics from this company it had an excellent writer with shoddy black and white art. Yet the writing is what is most important to me and that is why I always loved this company. I found out that the company originally manufactured foam insulation. When that didn’t work someone suggested comic books since they were so lucrative at the time. What a wild change for a company to go through.

So if you enjoy lesbian vampires in a gothic setting then I would recommend this series.

SAVAGE SWORD OF CONAN #117

“The Winds of Aka-Gaar”

Writer: Larry Yakata

Artist: Gary Kwapisz

Conan has been hired by the queen of Khemdi to lead an expedition to the oasis of Aka-Gaar. He recruits some condemned criminals to accompany him. The queen has been convinced by a prophet that the oasis holds waters that can restore youth. On the trip they come to an oasis and are confronted by a two-headed gorrilla. Conan chops it’s heads and arms off and finds that it is a guy in a suit. A cripple that was trying to extort money for use of the oasis. He accompanies Conan on his quest. They are attacked by serpents in a dead forest and when Conan slices one open he is blinded by the venom. The criminals abandon him and only the cripple helps.

The criminals go back to Khemdi and tell the city’s warlord about Conan. He goes to the Brotherhood of the Falcon with this news. They agree to help him and set off after Conan with 100 men. Conan meanwhile has to use his senses to survive. He battles a giant scorpion and manages to drive the scorpion’s tail into itself and kills it. Later with the cripple’s help they construct traps that kill most of the Falcon Brotherhood. The survivors race ahead to the oasis and drink from it. Only the water makes them blind and thus makes the fight with Conan equal.

“The Opponents”

Writer: Don Kraar

Artists: Rod Whigham & Roy Richardson.

In a tavern in Khemi Conan is in an arm wrestling match with a Kushite. Next to each others arms are poisonous vipers that will kill the loser. At this time a naval press gang comes to the tavern to draft men for the navy. A fight ensues with the men in the tavern. Conan and the Kushite continue their contest while using their free hands to defeat the press gang.

This was an interesting issue. I love these long quest type stories. Granted it was a bit over the top with Conan being blind but defeating all these opponents. Kwaspisz’s art looked beautiful and the story moved along at a quick pace. The backup story was also good. I loved how Conan and his opponent just ignore the fighting going on around them. His opponent also looked like a badass and would have made a worthy companion. We have to assume Conan won the match as he went on to be king in his old age.

CONAN THE BARBARIAN #151

‘Vale of Death!”

Writer: Michael Fleisher

Artists: John Buscema & Ernie Chan

Conan is in the hills of Cimmeria during winter hunting for game. He gets attacked by a giant snow hawk that grabs him and takes off. Conan manages to free himself and finds that he is in a valley. This valley has two peoples the Yggdar and Osiiren. The Yggdar have sacked a castle and Conan finds it. He is also attacked by a Yggdar and ends up with a horse. While looking for a way out of the valley he is attacked by a panther. The panther belongs to an Osiiren. Conan convinces him that he isn’t a Yggdar and shows him a locket a dying Osiiren gave him. This locket belonged to the man’s fiancee and so invites Conan to his family’s castle.

There Conan finds out from the father the history of the valley. That the two peoples long ago waged war. The Yggdar were barbaric and the Osiiren had power of shooting beams from their eyes. They made peace and the Osiiren settled into a life devoted to art and literature. Then a death cult developed among the Yggdar and they started attacking. The father offers a gem if Conan will help them defeat this cult. So with the son and his panther they set out to rescue his fiancee. They find her but she is killed in the rescue attempt. They also find out that the Yggdar used this time to sack the castle.

So the two continue to the cave where the cult is at. Conan manages to topple their statue which crushes many of the cult. The son uses his eye beams to bring down the roof killing everyone. Conan gets on his horse and rides off.

Well this issue was OK I guess. The story was not all that original or exciting but did keep my interest. Some stuff was a bit goofy like the hawk carrying off Conan. Also the Osiiren were supposed to have this power to shoot beams out of their eyes but never seemed to use it. Only at the end was it used. Seems like something that would come in handy if being attacked by a death cult. Also that was another goofy thing. A grim story with everyone dying and not much else accomplished.

STARRING SONYA DEVEREAUX #1 WARRIOR WOMAN DEATH TEAM 5

“Warrior Woman Death Team 5”

Writers: Todd Livingston & Nick Capetanakis

Artists: Brendon & Brian Fraim

Sonya Deveraux is attending Wonderfest and meets one of the geeks looking at Kaiju models. She recommends that he check out her latest movie Warrior Woman Death Team 5 on Webflix. So he orders it on his phone. The movie starts with Lord Tombstroke attacking a castle and slaughtering everyone. He is after the Merlin Scrolls but Princess Harlotta has escaped and she has them. We then find Eena dreaming of her past life as a warrior. She is now a farmstress and married to her third husband. The other two died at the alter and this one actually survived a whole year. Eena finds Princess Harlotta hiding in the barn from Tombstroke. Eena’s husband arrives and thinks that his anniversary gift is a threesome with Eena and Harlotta. Unfortunately for him he is killed by Tombstroke’s men. Eena triggers the spikes buried outside and kills all the attacking knights. Only she is hit on the head and wakes to find Harlotta gone.

So she gets her sexy warrior woman clothes and goes to reassemble her Death Team 5. The first is the cleric Gwyndovere of the huge bossoms who also lives in the village. The second is the black one named Drusundra who is pretending to be a strong man in a carnival. The third is the Asian who is working as a seamstress and the final one is Sky the Hispanic looking sorceress. The save Tombstroke’s jester from ogres who were about to eat him. He helps them infiltrate the castle disguised as a cleaning service for dungeons. They have to fight Tombstroke’s right hand man Romero twice. The second time he is brought back as an undead zombie. Eena manages to kill Tombstroke and is betrayed by Harlotta. Seems Harlotta is her younger sister and Eena is the rightful queen. Eena throws a stick and knocks her out. She becomes Queen Meena which is her full name and makes the jester her king. The jester is excited until he finds out all her past husbands die a gruesome death.

This issue we get a spoof of the Sword and Sorcery genre. A squad of tough women that check all the diversity boxes and run by the white blonde woman. Yup that is the film industries idea of diversity. There is plenty of intersectional gobbledygook dialogue and sticking it to the patriarchy. Hot women warriors and implied lesbianism. Corny gags and over the top characters to make this seem like some hilarious modern day S&S film. The writers of this character do such an excellent job of putting every cliche in their stories. The next one is Scream Queen Summer Camp Massacre and I would assume it is a slasher parody. I love this series.

CARMILLA #5

“Untitled”

Writer: Steven Jones

Artist: John Ross

The movie Carmilla continues on. Max and his girlfriend Patty have been having these dreams of Sarah Karnstein visiting them. Max finds out he has other problems as a racist columnist threatens to expose Max’s relationship with a Chinese woman. She demands that this relationship is broken off or he will be exposed. Max refuses and quits. The studio head threatens the columnist with a visit from a Harlem mobster that is a major stockholder. Max goes to Sarah for comfort. The columnist gets a visit from Carmilla’s minion and gets a sword through her heart. At the end Georges an old respected French director that Max hired for the movie visits Carmilla. He knows what she is and when he hears her plans for Max and Patty he shots Carmilla with a shotgun then sets the body on fire.

So this issue was somewhat of a mixed bag. First is the story was all over the place. There was these pages of Patty reading some journal from Georges about Max. The story just bounced around from these random scenes and stuff was hard to follow. Yet I did get the basics of the story. I will say that the ending was a big shock. Carmilla was shot and set on fire which is something that looks hard to get out of. I am interested in seeing how that is resolved in the final next issue.