Saturday, July 10, 2010

Kamandi vs. Devil Dinosaur

I've mentioned before that my history with comics is pretty spotty. I read only a handful of titles when I was a kid, most of them collected by friends or friends of friends. At the same time, my knowledge of the basic outlines of most comic lines is decent enough that I can converse reasonably intelligently about the major characters and storylines of the DC and Marvel universes. So long as you don't expect to know anything about The Stylist or Omega the Unknown, I can generally hold my own, or at least by able to follow the thread of a conversation.

Despite this, I'm still regularly caught off guard when I discover that a character or series I'd previously either known little about or had even dismissed out of hand turns out to in fact be cool. A recent case in point is Jack Kirby's Kamandi, The Last Boy on Earth. Now, in my defense, before Jeff Rients comes down hard on me for not adoring this comic, I have long been aware of it and its use as idea fodder for a Gamma World campaign.

But, for some reason -- I can only assume because Kirby drew and scripted them both -- in my younger days I confused Kamandi with Devil Dinosaur, a comic I did read and found simultaneously ridiculous and frightening.

Anyway, I'm attempting to rectify this gross injustice to Kamandi by acquiring reprints of the old comics. Unfortunately, it looks as if they're darned expensive to buy, so if anyone has any suggestions on how I might be able to fill the gap in my education without breaking the bank, I'd appreciate it.

19 comments:

  1. If you're willing to wait a bit, DC is most likely giving Kamandi the Kirby Library treatment soon. Check out the Fourth World Omnibus books for a sneak peek.

    And if you spot the gigantically-oversized Wednesday Comics hardback on the shelves, at least read the Kamandi story (which is amazing, but not quite as good as the Strange Adventures story in the same volume).

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah, just wait for it. Marvel and DC, unlike WoTC, seem to realize that people like to buy old stuff.

    I'd recommend you try ebay, but whenever I ebay old comics the collected edition comes out IMMEDIATELY after.

    Which means maybe I recommend you ask me to try ebay.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kamandi is experiencing a bit of a resurgence these days due to his appearances on the Batman: Brave and the Bold animated series. A collected trade paperback can't be too far off!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gah! I spoke too soon. Kamandi is already in a collected version (hardcover). There are two volumes. Best watch ebay or Amazon's used sellers for a cheaper copy.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Must've been because I started thinking about ebaying it.

    ReplyDelete
  6. There is a site called: Beware, There's A Crosseyed Cyclops In My Basement!!! that has all the back-copies on a fileshare. He has a ton of other things as well! You would need a Comic Book Reader (cbr.) to be able to read them (its a free program).

    I also have a MF-Wiki page with info about the setting. There are few and minimal rules, but its quite informative. Beware... the spoilers!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Those Kamandi hardcovers on Amazon are older "Archive" editions. I figure that Kamandi will eventually get a collected hardcover like the Fourth World and OMAC stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Kamandi is my all time favourite comic and I own every one of the original issues. Mike Royer was the best Kirby inker as he never toned down Jack's eccentric art. Hopefully it will be collected into an affordable black and white soft cover "Showcase"
    edition. There is tons of Gamma World inspiration in the pages of Kamandi.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kamandi versus Thundarr: Who'd win?

    ReplyDelete
  10. I have the 2 Kamandi HC collections and they are worth it if you are a Kirby fan and a fan of this genre. Fun stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I've been a Kamandi fan since my own personal golden age of comics as a kid in the 70s. Kamandi archives 1 and 2 are a greater start. I'd be surprised if Kamandi doesn't get an "omnibus" format volume like Kirby's Fourth World.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The comics themselves are too pricey to collect themselves right now. The Kamandi archives that Jay mentioned are usually around $30-$40 whenever I've run across them, but with luck one might find them for less. I'll keep my eyes open when I go comic hunting.

    And don't knock Omega the Unknown. The series had it's moments...it was odd to be sure, but that was part of it's charm. Unfortunately, they cancelled it before they could explore it fully and had to wrap it
    up rather unsatisfactorally.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Now that I think about it...
    Back in 1981 I plotted a couple short alternate world/other dimension adventures for my AD&D campaign. One of them was a Kamandi adventure.

    Devil Dinosaur had a much shorter run than Kamandi. It was basically an attempt to create an IP for cartoons or toys. It still has some of the Kirby charm but it's hack work compared to Kamandi.

    And Yes! There are tons of RPG adventure ideas in Kamandi. Kirby had more ideas in a single issue story than most modern comics have in a whole years of publication. Latter day comic writers continue to mine Kirby for plots and characters

    ReplyDelete
  14. And...

    The Gold Key Comics entry in the Post Apocalyptic genre, Mighty Samson, will be published in hard cover by Dark Horse this fall.

    ReplyDelete
  15. "Kamandi versus Thundarr: Who'd win?"

    Thundarr would totally win! What chance dose a boy stand against a lightsaber toting barbarian? If Kamandi had his friends from the latter part of the series, then he would stand a better chance.

    If Kamandi went against Mighty Samson, Samson would also win, because Samson is a super-strong mutant brick!

    All that leaves is Thundarr vs Mighty Samson, but I don't see a lightsaber, an angry Wookiee, or a nerdy princess/sorceress on Samson!

    ReplyDelete
  16. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  17. If you don't mind reading the comics in black and white (I find the older titles read just fine without colour), then DC have been doing big, cheap, phonebook style collections of their classic titles; if there isn't a Kamandi one yet there will be at some point, I'm sure.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You can find the two Archives volumes relatively affordably with some patience. The reward? Well, in my house, Kamadi is now well-known among the 6 year old set. My daughter yells "Kamandi!" every time he pops up in the Brave and the Bold opening and she nick-named our cat "Great Caesar" (which only means something if you have read Kamadi, which you should do, so get to it).

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.