Monday, July 12, 2021

Kamandi's World

"Something had happened in the dim past---!  A natural disaster....The people in the bunkers lived out their lives and died dreaming of a day of return".

This was the world of Earth A.D. (After Disaster), and the world Kamandi, the Last Boy On Earth, set out to explore. 

Sadly, he didn't have a map with which to explore it!

Kamandi's world was introduced in Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth #1 (October-November, 1972) by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.  This featured the start of the adventures of Kamandi, a young boy who had lived in bunker of Command D with his grandfather, until some scavenging Rat-men killed the old man, forcing Kamandi out into the great unknown world.  In this world, he started to find things were not the same as in the old books his grandfather had shown him.  

Here, he encountered Great Caesar and his tiger-men cavalry, who were battling the leopard men.  Kamandi was captured, and taken to the human slave pits (the mutated men thinking Kamandi just a dumb animal, which all humans had fallen to).  There, he met the talking bulldog scientist Doctor Canus, who took an interest in the boy, and introduced him to Ben Boxer, a radioactive android who looked like a normal human...

The map was a part of Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth #32 (August, 1975), by Jack Kirby and D. Bruce Berry, and that issue also reprinted issue #1.

The issue had a new story as well, entitled "Me!", with with Kamandi, Dr. Canus, Ben Boxer and Prince Tuftan (the son of Great Caesar) fighting gorilla commandos and meeting a new alien, which would come to figure in the future of Kamandi!

The issue also contained a lengthy article on the penciling talent of Jack Kirby, written by Steve Sherman.

Jack would soon leave the title after this story, but with this and other works, DC writers would start to flesh out the world after the Great Disaster (more on that here!), and though they took it in some unexpected directions, Kirby had laid out the map! 

Oddly enough, #32 (less the Kirby article) was reprinted in The Kamandi Challenge Special #1 (March, 2017), along with the stories that were intended for Kamandi, The Last Boy On Earth #60 and #61, which had only previously been a part of of the Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2 (Fall, 1978), and even then, those (and what was reprinted here), was an uncolored and unfinished version of the issues that would have seen print, and included other titles that fell victim to the Great Disaster of the mass cancellation of the 1970s at DC, including Steel the Indestructible Man #6, Secret Society of Super-Villains #16 and #17 and more!

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