Sunday, 3 October 2010

Gullivar Jones and Co.

Welcome to the scruffy, comics addicted world of Never Iron Anything!
It is my intention to keep this comics centric.  (No crap movie rumour news or scandalous stories of industry pros in the lift with willing females!)

As a first post about comics on my new blog this comes with a stack of enthusiasm.  Not just the thrill of writing a load of crap down for bored comic nerds to read on the interweb but also because of an added rush about bronze age comics.  And fuck it just comics in general.  It has never been better for readers of the medium.  Now if only the sales were better!

Last week I bought a stack of Marvel bronze age Sword and Sorcery titles from a dealer buddy who has recently come into a really interesting Marvel run .  (Dead Universe Comics, look them up on Facebook).  Most of the stuff were Conan the Barbarian and King Conan missing issues but a short Creatures On The Loose run caught my eye from 1971 onwards.  (specifically numbers 16 - 29).

Issue 16 begins with an adaption of the 1905 novel 'Lieutenant Gullivar Jones: His Vacation' written by Edwin Lester Arnold.  It is the story of Gullivar Jones who manages to get magically transported to the planet Mars.  Upon arriving he discovers incredible 'Spidey' level strength and agility and wears a medalion that allows for translation and later in the series strange dreams and halucinations.  He encounters a Princess with golden skin called Heru, a birdman mutant ally called Chak and a Red Skinned warlord called Ar Hap.

Before you jump to snarky fan boy conclusions this novel predates anything by Edgar Rice Burroughs and is considered an influence (it would have to be wouldn't it) on the John Carter series of novels.  I have checked and the book is still in print even available on the Kindle.  Encouraging for a book that when initially for sale got only a lukewarm reception.

For the comic adaption it is beautifully handled by Roy Thomas (writer) and Gil Kane and Bill Everett (artists).  They handle the book until issues 20 and 21 (the last couple) when George Alec Effinger (writer) and Gray Morrow (artist) take over.

The story really zips along and nobody could accuse it of current comics decompression (Gullivar has to fight the King's champion in issue 20 and it only takes one panel - genuinely!)  I would encouarge anyone who likes pulp fantasy in a Robert E Howard/ERB style to pick it up.  Just be warned that you won't get a full issue and there are some 1950s filler / monster / horor stories as back ups.

More to follow.

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