A Tribute to the of





Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #428. If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

This one might end up being a little self-indulgent. Do you remember a couple of entries back when I mentioned the old DC Superpac’s? Somehow it kinda got stuck in my head and I decided to see if, against the odds, such a thing existed any longer. The first one I stumbled across (and shared with the webmaster) was this offering on eBay.

Pretty astonishing really, but…awfully pricey. I can understand, to an extent. It’s incredibly rare that something like that would still be around, 50+ years later and of course the seller even hinted that this would be a nearly unheard-of opportunity to crack the sack and have some mint copies that could be *shudder* slabbed.

So, I’m cruising eBay again at a later date and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a seller with a handful of them, smack dab in the middle of my childhood timeframe of 1973 and all starting at a very reasonable $9.99. One out of the batch was even something I don’t remember seeing, a 2-pack of 52-page issues. Did somebody get an old warehouse lot? Who knows? I was just blown away at the number of them and that they had survived in the first place. I put every one of them on “watch” and the night they ended, I actually scored the first auction, which was probably fortuitous, because at least one of them went for over $100.00, which was more than I was willing to spend and I got mine for about a third of that and was absolutely thrilled.

It was nearly as big a kick as receiving my first eBay purchase, a copy of Adventure Comics #353 [Sage #1] or the time I got my copy of DC Special #5 [Sage #296] back in the mail with a fresh Joe Kubert signature on the cover, dedicated to me. My Superpac will be put in my wonderful spinner rack as soon as I figure out a good way to do it, but meanwhile, I’m savoring the fact that I’ve managed to score another piece of my childhood without breaking the bank. Again, I’m flabbergasted that you can find an unopened Superpac and by the way, I have no intention of cracking mine open.

So, since you’re doubtless dying to know, it contains a copy of World’s Finest #219 and, as I suspected, a less appealing offering hiding in the center, Lois Lane #133 (though I don’t know how they knew that; there must be a listing someplace, because it’s very difficult to see what the middle comic might be) and on the back, Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, #9.

I’ve never reviewed a Kamandi story (I did review the back up tale in Kamandi #45, Sage #210, as a lead in to my interview with Joe Rubinstein) so maybe this is a good time. Fear not, I have access to an electronic copy, so rest assured that no Superpacs were harmed in the making of this edition of the Silver Age Sage.

Before I get started, let me mention that one of the markers for the twilight of the Silver Age or perhaps the dawning of the Bronze Age was Jack Kirby’s return to DC in 1970, so this is appropriate, even though it’s not Silver Age material.

Credits for this issue are short and sweet. The cover was drawn and inked by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer, respectively. “Tracking Site!” was written, drawn and edited by Jack Kirby with Mike Royer on inks and lettering. The interior is a direct take off on the cover, with Kamandi and a couple of other men aboard a balloon, being attacked by giant bats who are inexplicably wearing clothing.

Now, I realize that Kamandi was a take off on the Planet of the Apes film and that anthropomorphized animals are a big part of the formula, but I just have to ask: How did they get the clothes on the bats?

Right off the bat (ha!), some interesting effects are used by Kirby when the figure of Kamandi and whomever the guy in white is, are shown imposed over a photograph and soon they’re entering a hollowed-out globe that looks like a planet. And in a mere 5 pages, Chapter one is complete.

Chapter Two has them literally splashing down in the basket that has been disengaged from the balloon into a sort of reservoir within the globe, that seems to have metallic sides, complete with rivets and so forth. It is called “The tracking site,” and there are robots on hand, called serviteks, described as walking computers. They are basically caretakers of this place.

They transport Ben Boxer and the others to a mock-up of an aircraft carrier via raft and they are piped aboard, in accordance with tradition. Row upon row of the serviteks are assembled, saluting the returning party, or survey crew as they keep referring to themselves.

Soon they are at some classic Kirby machinery and pay a sort of fealty to the “Nasa mind” at mission control, where their suit cartridges are read and stored when they place their hands on it. The idea is that the Nasa mind will compile an accurate picture of the outside world from the inputs provided by the survey crews.

Just then, a servitek arrives and abruptly attacks the crew with what looks like a spray gun. He spares Kamandi because he was not part of the survey crew and therefore not in the robot’s programming that he para-shock them. Kamandi exclaims that the servitec has ambushed Ben, Renzi and Steve. He then scoops up a weapon and exchanges blasts with the servitek until he strikes a back-mounted tank that blows the automaton to junk.

Chapter three is called “Murdering Misfit” and Kamandi is confronted with an odd creature that looks a lot like Marvel Comics' MODOK (check out Tales of Suspense #94, October, 1967 True Believers!), being held aloft by another servitek. He calls himself the Misfit and explains that he can control the robots with mental commands.

The Misfit is about to take control of Kamandi’s unconscious companions, but the boy tries to awaken and warn them. For his insolence, the Misfit orders he be fitted with a harness seat. It seems that the more he struggles, the tighter it gets, so he relaxes and is able to breathe, but now he is hauling around the Misfit in the seat behind him like some screwy baby-carrier.

The Misfit then shows Kamandi his diabolical creation named Morticoccus, the ultimate germ, carefully contained in a jar within a large, metal cask. He boasts it has the power to destroy all life on Earth. He then continues to take Kamandi around the Tracking Site and to see the desolation. The Misfit explains that all human life had been wiped out, but he and Ben Boxer and company are not truly human and therefore survived.

Kamandi quickly makes a daring move when he notices an electrical unit by lunging backward toward it. The powerful jolt has knocked the Misfit for a loop, but he then warns Kamandi that he has just deactivated the defense systems and now the bats are entering the Tracking Site.

Kamandi scoops up the Misfit and flees as the bats begin a merciless attack. The strange creature sends out mental commands to the serviteks to engage, but they are soon overrun and now there is a danger that the germ will be released. The Misfit sends another mental command to awaken the survey crew and they show up just in time to blast the bats with weaponry, saving Kamandi and the Misfit, but there are more on the Tracking Site when the story ends on that cliffhanger, but the final panel promises, “Next month – more about Ben Boxer! The Misfit! And Morticoccus-! THE KILLER GERM!

You know, ordinarily, for whatever reason, I typically enjoy post-apocalyptic stories and I readily acknowledge the nearly incalculable contributions of Jack Kirby, but this just didn’t do it for me. Now, I won’t dismiss Kamandi out of hand. Of the work Kirby did for DC during this time period, Kamandi seems to have the most staying power, going an impressive 59 issues, Jack having total creative control over 37, but if this is indicative of the typical tale, I just found it…weird.

Despite that, I’m still overjoyed with my Superpac and it will hold a proud place in my collection.

Thoughts or comments? Make yourself heard. Fire off an e-mail to: professor_the@hotmail.com. I’m always looking for feedback of all kinds.

C’mon back March 1st for another trip into the four-color past. We’ll be waiting with a new review right here.

Until next time…

Long live the Silver Age!



© 2000-2018 by Bryan D. Stroud


This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud

 

Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview #1

Len Wein Interview #2

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview


Don Perlin Interview


John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)


John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)


Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview



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