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Monsters Looking to Get Laid? – Monsters on the Prowl #16

November 28, 2011

Kull isn’t just a conqueror. He’s a man. A MAN. Sit back and admire a Valusian king who has the wherewithal to STAB A GIANT SEA SERPENT IN THE EYE. Eat your heart out, Quint.

This issue is one of the earliest appearances of Robert E. Howard’s Kull during that character’s 1970s Marvel run (predating an issue from his own series that was examined here). Written by the ever-dependable Roy Thomas, with splendid art from the sister and brother art team of Marie and John Severin, it also contains Kull’s first encounter with that classic Howard bête noire, Thulsa Doom. And along the way he battles lizard-men. There’s a lot going on in here, people.

To set the stage:

Did I mention Kull being a MAN? Well, he’s a very generous MAN, because when a loyal soldier needs a mercy killing, Kull is more than willing to do the Kevorkian honors (while speaking of himself in the third person):

As alluded to earlier, the art in this issue is wonderfully colorful and detailed. Even the chainmail pops off the page. Look at the work done in this close encounter with the cover’s sea monster (said Monster on the Prowl, one supposes):

When Kull enters the evil temple that is his goal (he goes in alone, like a MAN), he meets a not yet familiar face:

Count me as one of the people forever tainted by the James Earl Jones Thulsa Doom — I’ll never shake that. WHO THE HELL IS THIS WHITE PHIL DONAHUE-LOOKING IMPOSTER?

Doom manages to convince Kull that he’s a nice guy in this ish. But some ominous signs and a “Next Time” blurb would indicate otherwise:

“Next: No Kidding.”

This is classic comic book merry-making. I’m no Kull fan, but even I can get into this. The Severin art has me smitten, and to say that art generates interest in otherwise uninteresting material is perhaps the highest compliment that can be given. Such praise from these quarters isn’t exactly an Eisner Award, but it’s the best I can give.

There are also two classic Ditko and Kirby pre-hero tales reprinted at the back of the comic, a practice that I wish more series followed over the years. There isn’t all that much to say about these shorts, but two points need to be made. One, there are few better suited to drawing a classic ghost shape than Steve Ditko:

Two, merely reading the phrase “Jack Kirby draws a giant robot baby in a blue diaper pushing a vacuum” can make you smile. The execution can do the same:

If Kull pushed that vacuum, he’d push it like a MAN.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 21, 2015 4:39 pm

    Many a comic I have wanted to sell until I realised there was a Ditko or Kirby back up I’d forgotten about and thought better of it,

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