Ka-Zar: Guns of the Savage Land – Chuck Dixon & Timothy Truman

Wait! What? Shanna the She-Devil is married and living in a London penthouse?

This a real piece of 70’s storytelling that was actually written in 1990. Ka-Zar is a Tarzan like character that appeared in pulp fiction of the 1930’s and was pinched by Timely Comics in 1939 then rebooted in 1965 for an X-Men appearance.

This story concerns the civilised by unhappy Ka-Zar leaving the surface world and going back to the Savage Land. There are brief Fantastic Four mentions and we have Wyatt Wingfoot as our narrator and POV character but you can follow along without needing to have a degree in Marvel Continuity.

It is quite a brief book considering the length of graphic novels today but we wisely spend our time with the three protagonists and observe the different viewpoints of man vs nature. It has quite a lot to say about civilisation and the fate of all aboriginal peoples. Shanna stands up wonderfully to her patriarchal husband and embodies strength, love and empathy perfectly.

The art is jaw-dropping because it is painted. As in with a brush and paint. You could never find anything like this done today, aside from possibly Blacksad. The wonderful colours and tones bring a warmth and life to the art that digital colouring just can’t match. There is a real sense of glamour to the characters and Shanna herself, with her green eyes, is positively radiant. And best of all she is appropriately clothed at all times.

This is more of a time-capsule than a hidden gem, just like the idea of the Savage Land itself.

Double Thumbs Up!!

Grifter & Midnighter – Chuck Dixon

Grifter & MidnighterOh no another cynical crossover cash-in. But fear not, this is good. It has a strong pace driven by action, witty dialogue, and doesn’t disrespect the characters. Although the narration does insult you, the reader, directly. But that just makes it quaint.

You don’t need to know who Midnighter or Grifter are, or the Authority who briefly cameo. There are references to previous continuity but they won’t trouble you. The bad guy is just generic monster from outer-space so you won’t be required to do any thinking. Read this because it is fun[ny].

The art is good. Plenty of variety in style and technique. It is very digital overt with tons of motion blur and the like. As it is used competently this shouldn’t bother you.

Thumbs Up!