Sunday, January 22, 2017

Kamandi Challenge Special #1, Part Two

I have to read this in bits and pieces so I feel like I'm accomplishing more than I truly am.

I ended the first part by celebrating how I won't have to read "The Birth Bag!", Issue #2 of Jack Kirby's Kamandi. It was only later as I was coming down off the elation of having achieved the barest minimum of goals for the day (that goal being reading part of a comic book) that I realized the whole scam of this Kamandi Challenge Special: they're just reprinting a bunch of Kamandi issues! I don't mean for that to sound like I don't want to read these old comic books. I totally love them! I just don't want to read a comic book called "The Birth Bag!" Hopefully they'll just reprint issues that introduce characters that will be part of the Kamandi Challenge. I also hope Jack Kirby's estate is making money from this. I'm sure they aren't, DC Comics being one of the tycoons of the industry making money off the pudgy backs of comic book artists and writers, especially the ones before the Image Era.

My definition of The Image Era was a time when writers and artists (but especially artists and especially especially artists who can't write) decided they should get more money from the company profiting off of their ideas. I totally agreed with them and still agree with them! But I never really bought any Image books in the nineties because most of the art was the kind of art which garnered only compliments of how "kinetic" it was (I said most! Get off my wide-brushed paint brush!) and the writing was terrible. But it caused a surge in speculation which caused DC and Marvel to think, "Hey! People really love these comic books with terrible writing and 'kinetic' art! Let's copy what Image is doing! I mean, not everything! All ideas are still owned by us!" I think eventually The Image Era helped improve compensation for writers and artists. But I could also be wrong because I don't do research. That's for losers who think they're going to live forever. I'm not wasting my time on looking up facts to back-up my opinions!

I will say this about The Image Era though: it would pave the way for The Second Great Image Era which is happening now (this era is also called The Era of DC and Marvel's Loss is Image's Gain). Writers and artists save the work they're most interested in doing (which usually makes it their best work because they're putting all of their effort into it) for Image or, if they're a bit more ambitious, self-publishing. I don't many truly great innovative characters or story arcs coming out of The Big Two due to many economic factors. Although we'll always see some, probably from newer writers who need to work up to an Image deal, like Tom King's Omega Men and Tom King's The Vision and Tom King's The Sheriff of Babylon. Also probably some writers and artists other than Tom King.

I begin Part Two by looking at the map of Kamandi's future world. Based on what animals are ruling what countries, I think Jack Kirby took the same view of research as I do. The tigers rule the East Coast of the United States because why not? Then the lions rule the West Coast which makes more sense except I'm sure they're African lions and not American mountain lions. Middle America and the American Non-Coastal Southwest are ruled by gorillas which might be social commentary. Mexico is the Wild Human Preserve which seems about right since I'm sure the Lions, Gorillas, and Tigers don't want humans coming up and stealing their jobs and bananas.

Canada is the Dominion of the Devils which seems so far from reality that I'm beginning to believe this future truly is a crazy, upside-down world of danger. Alaska is now known as Strange Fire Area, probably because global warming has set fire all of the snow. One bit in the North that hasn't changed?

Intelligent Killer Whales off the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Australia also hasn't changed being that it's home to the "Kanga Rat Murder Society." The Pacific Island Nations have become the Orangutan Surfing Civilization. I hope there's an issue with Kamandi visiting those guys.

Other inhabitants and places of note: Snow Wizards in the Fjordic countries (those are the Nordic countries full of fjords); Polar Parasites in Moscow; Death Worshipers and Screamers in Africa; Wolves, Baboons, and Gorillas throughout Europe; Bulldogs ruling Britain; Savage bats, jaguar sun cults, and God-watchers in South America; and Ireland.

Kirby must have gotten bored by the time he got to Antarctica because he just calls the people who live there Antarctic Ice Dwellers. I'm going to assume they're sentient penguins.

The second story in the book is simply called "The Last Boy on Earth!" Which I've already noted is totally a lie because Kamandi is obviously the last girl on Earth. Kirby explains, with liberal use of exclamation points (which I'm totally in favor of), that Kamandi is named after the building she and her grandfather, the possible last people on Earth, lived in. Eventually Kamandi's grandfather decided to send her out into the world to reclaim their lost home.

Grandfather: "Kamandi, my grandson..."
Kamandi: "Granddaughter."
Grandfather: "You must go out into the world and find a woman..."
Kamandi: "Man."
Grandfather: " take your seed..."
Kamandi: "Ew, gross."
Grandfather: " that mankind..."
Kamandi: "Fuck mankind, Gramps."
Grandfather: "...can continue to grow and prosper!"
Kamandi: "You know what? Good idea. I'm out of here, you old freak."

This will the the spin from Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer when Trump brings about the apocalypse: "It was a natural disaster! Natural! Couldn't be helped! Stupid scientists didn't even see it coming!"

Kamandi heads up the Hudson River and finds a tribe of people. But they flee when she calls out to them. I guess waving and yelling "Hello there!" translates to "I'm going to fuck you up!" in their language of grunts and hand motions. It took Kamandi a few days to paddle this far in her little life raft so it must be a real pain in her ass when she sees the explosion from the bunker she left days ago and feels forced to go back to check on her grandfather.

"Am I mating? Is this mating? Is something pregnant yet?"

Kamandi returns to find looters have broken into Command 'D'! She must save her grandfather at all costs! Well, maybe at some costs. And maybe she doesn't really need to save his old patriarchal ass either, really.

Kamandi finds some humanoid wolves have killed her grandfather so she kills them. Afterward, she leaves Command 'D' forever. She steals the wolves kinky truck and hits the road for an American adventure!

Kamandi's first encounter is with Great Caesar and his platoon of tiger-men. They're riding horses who are probably thinking, "What the fuck? Why aren't we sentient in the future?! This sucks." Kamandi saves Great Caesar's life by killing a sniper and subsequently becoming Great Caesar's pet. I suppose if a dog pulled out a pistol and shot some guy who was about to shoot me, I'd feel obligated to take him in and feed him. Since Great Caesar is busy with his war, he sends Kamandi off with one of his men to be locked in the Royal City Kennels until Caesar returns from battle.

Kamandi is cleaned up and dressed by a sentient dog which must be humiliating. I suppose it could have been worse and one of the sentient felines could have licked her clean. She's then brought to Great Caesar's victory celebration where she discovers the sentient tigers worship a nuclear missile. Was Jack Kirby ever sued by the creators of The Planet of the Apes?

Kamandi decides the only hope at this totally hopeless point of being freshly washed, fed (with dog vomit but it's still food!), and clothed that the only answer is to kill everybody by blowing up the nuclear missile. I guess she loved her grandfather more than I've been giving her credit for. Kamandi's attempt at blowing the missile with a stolen laser is thwarted by Doctor Canus, probably because the stolen laser looks so much like a stick and Doctor Canus can't help but retrieve it.

Now kiss!

Doctor Canus decides to help Kamandi because he's a scientist and he'd like to do experiments on a talking animal.

This is unnerving. I'm beginning to hope all Doctor Canus wants to do is experiment.

I know I wrote I wanted them to kiss earlier but that was before I really thought that they might!

Inside the room is Ben Boxer. He has the ability to press his chest and emit radiation. It doesn't sound like the safest power which is probably why Canus keeps him in the closet. Doctor Canus calls Ben Boxer "a natural atomic-pile." I really hope Atomic-Pile is his superhero name.

Kamandi hugs Ben Boxer and cries and asks, "Grandfather says we must exchange seeds now." The end!

That's it for Part Two! Here's hoping this comic book doesn't become prophetic this year!

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