In the 1970s, America went crazy. For barbarians, that is! Maybe it was all those paperback book racks filled with 40s pulp nostalgia. Maybe it was the thousands of teens seeing Ted Nugent parade around in a loincloth and a longbow. Maybe the pressures and problems of the modern world made many a 70s man think "gee, if only I was a half-naked, super-ripped dude who could solve every single problem with one blow from his enchanted blade, THEN maybe I could get some gasoline and a lower interest rate on my home loan." Whatever the reason, pop culture spaces were suddenly filled with wizards, warriors, magical kingdoms, and sultry wenches. The din of their mighty battle echoed across the ages, right up to our current age of smartphones, internets, and Stupid Comics.

So the question here is, what dark wizardry convinced Marvel Comics, already publishing popular barbarian Conan, to compete with itself with what everybody - even its creator - agreed was a blatant imitation? Thongor, Warrior Of Lost Lemuria, was the star of a series of novels by Lin Carter, a longtime fan who parlayed his love of other people's characters into a career writing thinly-veiled imitations of other people's characters. Thongor was Lin Carter's Conan, a brawny man from a mythical land, now hacking things to bits in a vanished heroic age of legend, for the entertainment of 1970s comic book readers hungry for adventure, and also maybe Hostess Fruit Pies.

Thongor comes equipped with standard barbarian equipment like headband, sword, those pirate boots that were standard issue for 70s comic heroes, and Exotic Lady Companion. He'll need it all to battle what appears to be a combination of the Atlanta Hawks and a Cornwall-based pub league soccer team, the only extant sports team I could find using the name "Lizards". The Lizard-Hawks! Season tickets available now!

Remember when you were a kid and the family went out to a nice restaurant? Remember how if they happened to serve something you actually wanted to eat, like hamburgers, it came accompanied by a dish of something you hated, like peas? Here we see this concept in action with the art team for this Thongor story. Val Mayerik, okay! Vince Colletta, not so much. We join our Thongor story already in progress, as we find Thongor involved in a bar-room brawl with a nobleman from the city of Turd. I mean, Thurdis.

This is from a time when Marvel was printing little text ads for other comics in the lower gutter of their pages, just to remind readers that they COULD have spent their twenty cents on something with monsters on doorsteps, instead of Thurdans and gruel.

Thurdis, the Dragon City! Where hot-headed Otars make every night out a thrilling adventure. Notice how patient and reasonable Thongor is being here, he's trying to defuse the situation, he just wants to drink his drink in peace in that bar full of quiet weirdos in goofy hats. But noooo.

Jellied Malkh! THAT'S what I wanted for dessert.

Another tavern dispute solved with a little dinner-theater fencing. Truly Thongor is the master of any situation he might find himself in.

THOK! Unfortunately being a mighty warrior doesn't mean you have eyes in the back of your head.

While Thongor recovers from his concussion, let's take this time to catch the readers up - we are five hundred thousand years ago in the now-sunken continent of Lemuria, Thongor of Valkarth apparently is a habitual offender, and although he frequently invokes the name of his deity Gorm, he also reveres seven gods of Zangabal. Fun fact: Lemuria is named after the animal, the lemur! No, really. Look it up.

When all looks bleak for Thongor, he's rescued by his friend Ald Turmis, which is Lemurian for "he whose face is poorly served by Vince Colletta inks"

Gorm almighty, Thongor would have crushed his skull to glory ruin! Now most of us would assume "glory ruin" is a typo and the intent was "GORY ruin," but who knows what they worship in Thurdis or Valkarth? And why is Ald Turmis always helping Thongor out of tight situations so they can battle mad sorcerers and demons? Because bros before Athmar Phongs, dude.

And while we'd thrill to more adventures of Turmis and Thongor battling side by side, it turns out this is where Ald Turmis lives, and he can't abandon his quest to petition the city fathers to change the city's name to something less reminiscent of "turd." So long, my mighty-thewed friend.

"Okay, roll a D20 for stealth. Now you see two guards. They're drowsing in confidence. I don't know, that's what it says in the dungeon masters guide, maybe they're really sure of getting a good night's sleep. I don't write this stuff. Roll a D20 again."

There he is, the escaped murderer! No, he hasn't actually murdered anybody. But trumped-up charges are the Thurdisian way of justice!

(in the original Lin Carter book, Thongor did totally murder Jeled Malkh in that fight, but that was changed for the comic version, except when it wasn't)

Looking forward to reading that new issue of Luke Cage, Hero For Hero. But first we need to get a score card to keep track of all the gods Thongor keeps adding to his invoking schedule - we're up to 19?!

Well Thongor, what do you do? Where where do you run? When when do you act and/or think? Maybe one of your thirty-seven gods can help out here.

Sword & sorcery fantasy fiction can never just use a perfectly understandable word like "promotion" or "reward" or "advancement." It's got to be some clunky fantasy term poorly merged with modern English, leading readers to think that if this guard captures Thongor he gets some sort of ship, or something.

ART TIPS: Haven't any reference for a man climbing over the edge of a roof? Don't sweat it. Show the "before" and the "after" and the reader will just fill in the rest. Gorm willing.

I wanna say he actually killed that guy. This is what happens when a super-being is falsely accused of murder, he's gonna figure he might as well kill some people!

Hard to believe a continent with a supply of weightless minerals would someday sink into the ocean, but maybe the Urlium was the only thing holding Lemuria up? What a metaphor for today's continuing addiction to fossil fuels! Hats off to you, Thongor, for making us think. Now let's see if Thongor can figure out "front," "back," "up," and "down."

"Hmmm, I want to throw some Native American culture into my vanished continent story, how can I do this... nomads, western plains, can't call them Red Indians, what's the opposite of red... got it. I'm a genius!"

Sometimes you feel like Phondath The Firstborn, sometimes you don't. Sometimes you feel like the cover of this comic promised us a sultry harem wench, and so far has failed to deliver. And that sometime is right now.

Gorm dang it! We're back to seven gods of Zangabal because Thongor can't catch forty winks on account of all the GRAKK going on! By my count, we're short twelve gods.

This comic might be missing some babes, but it's finally delivered on its promise of Lizard-Hawks, or Grakks as they're known in Lemuria. Wonder why they're called that.

(Didn't Spider-Man fight this guy?)

I bet Thongor is wishing he had "A Gun For Dinosaur" right about now!

The new Olympic sport of "dangling archery" has a powerful new champion today as Thongor of Valkarth, after an ineffective first shot, has managed to score gold on his second arrow today over the jungles of Chush! Let's see if his painful follow-through will cost him points with the judges. Stay tuned for more action on Wide World Of Lemurian Sports!

"The Dwark." Really? This comic finally gives readers something awesome - a T-Rex - and has to ruin everything by labeling it what might be the dopiest fantasy name yet? First no girls, and now this. AND to add insult to injury suddenly we're to be continued, because Marvel has to fill the rest of the comic with reprints? No wonder Thongor only lasted nine issues and then sank without a trace. Like Lemuria.

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