New Reviews of Old Comics
There is a unique wow-factor for me when I find (and can afford) a comic older than me. Not just a book that reprints an old story, but an actual issue originally published over 40 years ago. When I pulled this one I figured it was old just by the cover design, then I saw the Dell logo and I knew I was on to something. Of course since I found it in the dollar box it looks like it has lived a rough 46 years; curling corners, jagged edges and pages pulling away from the spine. If this comic were a human the doctor would be asking for payment up front because he might not live through the exam. Is it fair to judge an old comic’s story based on the condition?
Nowhere does this issue note the name of the story; instead it is broken up into three chapters. Apart from a mysterious “S-J-G” on the splash page the writer/artist is uncredited. Our hero, Kona is the monarch of Monster Isle, a tropical island near Antarctica that is full of dinosaurs and early humans. A professor and some kids are with Kona, and they must have appeared in the previous 14 issues because I have no idea what their relationship is with Kona. The plot of this story has thieves tricking the professor into taking them to Monster Isle so they can steal some dinosaurs. The kids find out, Kona fights back, but gets captured and dumped into the ocean as shark food. The thieves make their way to the island where they do indeed see real dinosaurs, but also incur the wrath of the native Neanderthal looking people. Kona escapes his watery grave, fights a giant squid and helps to chase the thieves away before the rather abrupt ending. There is also a four page back-up story called “Anak: the Tiniest Terror,” but it looked annoying so I didn’t read it.
Reading Kona I couldn’t help but think of other comics that came after this title, like Warlord or Ka-Zar (either incarnation), along with shades of Jurassic Park or maybe Land of the Lost. Maybe those creators had read Kona and were inspired by the concept. Apart from the rather abrupt ending the story wasn’t all bad, though calling it “good” might be a bit of a stretch. The art, however, could be classified as “bad” and not be too far from the truth. Being from the 60s I was looking forward to some cheesy ads, but I was disappointed because there were only 3 – inside front cover, inside back cover and back cover, and they were pretty boring at that. Kona was similar to just about every Charlton Comic title out there; neither good nor bad, just there. If I found another issue of Kona for a buck I’d pick it up, but there is no way I’m actively searching for Kona and I sure as hell ain’t paying more than a buck for one! Bottom line: the story was better than the comic’s overall condition, but not by much.