Sunday, March 30, 2014
Number 1550: Monarch of Monster Isle
First, for a scientific expedition the Dodd family has taken a lot of guns and ammo. Dr. Dodd, who is “Grandpa,” his daughter Mary and her children Mason and Lily are flying in a surplus blimp and go down in the ocean off Monster Isle. Dr. Dodd makes sure to save all his guns. Was Grandpa using the scientific stuff as a cover? Perhaps he was really a gun runner.
Besides dinosaurs, the Isle is inhabited by Neanderthal men who are colored like the modern Caucasian members of the cast, and Pithecanthropus men who are dark-colored. The Neanderthals are good, Pithecanthropus men are bad. Is there a message there? Well, yeah, even if the people who made this comic book 52 years ago might not have thought about it. Or maybe they did.
Kona does not appear on the cover. A Pithecanthropus man is on the cover. Did I mention the Pithecanthropus men have trained the T. Rexes like pets?
Against that Dr. Dodd arms the Neanderthal men and teaches them to shoot. The Neanderthals don’t have enough technology to make fire, and yet Dr. Dodd gives them guns. I think that would be a bad idea unless they can be trained in gun safety, and even then it is still a bad idea. Better Dr. Dodd should do the shooting and train his grandkids for backup. Coincidentally, the only ad in the whole comic is a Daisy Air Rifle ad on the back cover.
If I stretch just a little more, the story seems an allegory of early U.S. involvement in Vietnam, where the U.S. sent in military advisers to train the South Vietnamese, and armed them against their enemies in the North.
I don’t remember why I passed up Kona when it was being published. It was one of the more successful titles (21 issues) from Dell after they split from Western Publishing, which became Gold Key. Maybe I thought it was a ripoff of Turok. I recognized Sam J. Glanzman’s artwork, which I had seen in Charlton comics. He was a longtime comic book journeyman whose work stretched way back to the World War II era. According to some sources Don Segall was the original writer.