Enter the Primitive World of KONG The Untamed!
1975 saw a lot of comics from DC. The company did a major push to put anything and everything on the spinner racks. Basically, it was a time where companies would throw an idea on the wall and hoped it stuck.
Lasting only 5 issues, Kong the Untamed was a product of Joe Orlando, Alfredo Alcala and writer Jack Oleck.
Joe was an extremely prolific writer/editor in those days. The man had a million ideas and I think he tried them all at one time or another. The story of Kong was a sad one.The setting was millions of years ago when man was just getting to be a little more than your basic caveman. The first issue starts with Kong's mother ATTU about to give birth to him. Attu was a kind "witch" that worshipped the moon, while his dad was your basic jerkwad caveman tribal leader named Trog. He was a creep that believed he was the "greatest ruler the tribe will ever have" kinda guy.
Now, back in the day, everyone had black or brown hair...anything else was just weird. A bad sign. Super unlucky. Not a good thing to be a blonde in one million BC.
Guess what color hair Kong had?
Which, as you might guess, made everyone hate Kong...especially Trog. Why? Because of the prophecy that said a "yellow haired man will usurp Trog's rule".
Eventually Kong and his mother get kicked out of the tribe and they're forced to live on their own for many years. After a lot of hardship, Kong grows into a teenager and Trog decides, like any good dad, that his son needs to die to protect his rule. Evading Trog, having a few adventures here and there, Kong meets up with the beast man Guart! Guart eventually becomes a traveling companion to Kong but only after Kong's mother is killed by Trog & his tribe of creeps. Towards the end of the issue, Kong vows revenge!
Throughout the first 3 issues, Kong is plagued by the always present threat of Trog and his tribe trying to capture and kill him.
Issues 4 and 5 take a slight turn as dinosaurs are introduced. We also meet Rolen and Sharra, a nice young caveman couple that are constantly in fear of Sharra's mother Jelenna, another moon witch that really hates men.
The last 2 issues also have some pretty disturbing death scenes for something from the 70's. A pretty gruesome burning at the stake kind of thing really bothered me for some reason.
There is a rumor that I can't seem to find out if it's true or not, but I've heard that Kong is a direct decendant of another DC caveman character Anthro. If anyone knows anything about that, I'd really like to know for sure.
All in all, Kong the Untamed was a pretty standard fare caveman comic, but it did have some good moments too.
As stated earlier, Joe Orlando created and edited this 5 issue adventure, but the real treat is the fantastic artwork by one of the industry's finest, Alfredo Alcala. For me, I always remembered Alcala inking John Buscema's Conan from Marvel, but this comic was visually a treat.....
Until issue #4.
Alcala left to pursue other projects, so enter new penciler, Tony Caravana and inker, Jo Ingente. While neither are bad artists their art styles just didn't seem to mesh with the primitive semi-dinosaur land. So, like so many of the 70's Implosion comics from DC, a new art team came in on ish. 5...David Wenzel and Bill Draut. If the previous team didn't mesh with the landscape, this one destroyed it. Again...the artists were talented enough, but it was like having Steve Ditko illustrate a Bernie Wrightson horror story...it just didn't work.
Speaking of Mr. Wrightson, one of the bigger draws for Kong was that his art graced the first two issues covers. Really good looking stuff!
And so, with issue #5, Kong's story ends. It really wasn't a bad story as I truly believe if the book had been given a decent chance and a suitable art team, this book could have been a much bigger comic.
I've always had a soft spot for DC's Implosion era comics. Maybe the collector in me saw the fact that there weren't too many comics to find and buy so I was more apt to jump on them.
So if you're looking for something a little different, a little quirky, and fairly easy to find at conventions, then give Kong a try....you just may like it!
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