Friday, April 19, 2013

365 Comics... 109: Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth #45 (1975)

I love post-apocalyptic-set movies and stories, and equally I have a fascination with 70's "future" stories. Merge the two and I am in a dreamscape, wowed by the seriousness and earnestness of the story and the of-the-era representation of what a dystopian would look like (which tends to be delightfully clunky technology and still 70's polyester earth-toned inspired garb).  It's a true wonder then that I've never caught onto Kamandi before today's random 75 cent discovery of a dog-eared, beaten copy of issue 45.  (There was the one story in "Wednesday Comics" a few years back and a more recent episode of Batman: The Brave and The Bold but they're not the authentic Kamandi experience).

This being my first exposure to vintage Kamandi was a total mind blast.  It made no sense at all, I had no idea what was happening and I couldn't for the life of me figure out any of the characters' motivations or objectives.  Things seemed to turn on a dime story-wise which may be because 3 writers contributed to the main story this issue with Denny O'Neil ultimately toting the script duty. 

This is the 5th issue following Kirby's departure from the series and it was in total flux.  Keith Giffen and Bob Smith are the credited artists and it looks really good. Not Kirby good, mind, but still a very solid outing for a young Giffer.  That guy's so super talented.

There's a backup feature, Tales of the Great Disaster, and it's outlandishly terrible.  I've never heard of writer David Anthony Kraft before but this is a pretty dire story about pretty dire humanoid animals riding horses (! why are there still horses?) squaring off against police dogs ("coppers") riding giant  insects.  It's not even close to being as cool as it sounds. The art from Mike Nassir and Joe Rubenstein waffles between nice and sloppy.

But it doesn't detract from the rather sizeable impact that The Main story had on me. I want more. I wish I'd discovered this 25 years ago.  I don't know why other than I think 12 year old me would have loved the shit out of this.

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