Saturday, February 07, 2009

No one can withstand the power of Talus the Great!

You may or may not recall this post from last July, which was a continuation of a little quest or search of sorts which I've been passively pursuing for some time now, even before I started blogging. I started reading comics as a preschooler; in fact, I could read before I started first grade (no kindergarten in our rural Kentucky independent school system at the time), and comics were a big reason why, I do believe. Anyway, one of those precious few first comic books that were given to me by my parents and grandparents was Strange Planets #16, which (as I came to find out later via pal Dave) was by and large an I.W. Publishing/Super Comics reprint of February 1952's Strange Worlds #6, published by Avon Comics. And among the stories in this comic was the tale of a young fellow in a far-flung future who ruthlessly came to rule the world with an iron fist. There were others that made an impression as well; one, an extrapolation of the Native American "Maid of the Mist" story, another about a wrongdoer who is haunted by a vengeful totem spirit. I kept and reread the comic over the next few years, but as I grew up, it lost a cover and a page or two and eventually was relegated to a box in the basement, with other damaged comics that I owned as a kid and didn't choose to add to my collection when I actually got around to beginning the hobby in earnest. For a few more years after that, if I happened to be digging around in my parent's basement looking for this or that, I'd see it and look it over and toss it back in. At some point, it got moved, the box that is- my pack-rattish folks wouldn't have thrown it away, I don't think, but the upshot is that I havent laid eyes on the book in a couple of decades, I'll bet. But that one story stuck with me, and I thought if I ever ran across it again I'd like to own it or at least read it again, so I started asking around both here and on the internet, and today, on a site called Beware, There's a Crosseyed Cyclops in My Basement! I finally found it, where someone had put it up for download. I will share it now with you (cleaned up a little in Photoshop, because yellow paper does not make me nostalgic) -from 1952 via 1964, script and art credited to Norman Nodel, here's "The Man Who Owned the Earth":

Rereading it now, for the first time in a LONG time,'s not a great story, I don't think. There are huge holes in the script, and the dialogue is wooden even by early 50's standards. Talos' rise to power is only mentioned in passing, and how he managed to achieve this is glossed over completely. His motivation is unconvincing- we're never really made to understand what drove him to do what he did. For that matter, the resolution doesn't really convince all that much either, although there is precedent for people who realize a lifelong goal finding themselves unhappy after the getting of it, realizing that the pursuit was what made it worthwhile. Still, dude! You've got the world at your feet! If nothing else, chill and kick back with a cold one and some video games or something till you find a new goal! The art is not great either; it's often crude and perfunctory. That is a nicely done pose on the dancing girl on page five, I will say.

Regardless, here it is. I'm a little hard pressed to define exactly what it is that fascinated me so about this story as a child, and can only venture guesses. What do YOU think about it?

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