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Thursday, 13 July 2017

Kong, the Untamed 1 - Kong debuts

Kong, the Untamed debuted with the June/July 1975 issue. This was another book that tried to capture the Conan market, although it was not a sword and sorcery title. Rather, this is set in prehistoric times. As the text page explains, Kong is meant to be a Cro-Magnon, and the Beast Men in the book are intended to be Neanderthals. The text page also acknowledges the earlier series, Anthro, which explored a similar concept. Sadly, that strip was far more effective than this Jack Oleck tale, despite the lovely art by Alfredo Alcala, and Bernie Wrightson cover.

The story begins by centring on Attu, Kong's mother. She is workshipper of a goddess, and thus viewed as a threat by the men who rule her tribe. She gives birth to Kong, a boy with blond hair. She names him after a legendary blond warrior. There is a prophecy that the ruler of the tribe, the most powerful man in it, will only be defeated by a blond guy, so Attu and her child are sent into exile, shunned by the others, adult and child.

We see Kong start to grow up, longing to play with other kids or be a part of things. In winter they are horribly cold, and the tribe will not share their sacred fire with Attu and Kong. So one night Kong sneaks in and steals some of it, bringing it back to their cave. His mother is upset that he took such a risk, but at the same time proud of his bravery.

Things take a turn for the worse when Kong runs into a Beast Man. At first he does not realize he should be afraid of them, but then one captures him and prepares to kill him. Kong not only gets free, he kills the man. Attu finds out, and tries to warn the tribe about the Beast Men being near. No one believes her, so Kong heads back out on his own, and gets captured a second time. Attu comes to help him escape, but gets injured.

Kong tries to find some sticks to make a crutch, but when he returns his mother has already been killed by Trog, the leader of the tribe, the one who cast them out. Kong vows revenge.

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