Last time we checked out an issue of "Creatures On The Loose" that featured an adaptation of stories starring Lin Carter's barbarian hero Thongor, Warrior Of Lost Lemuria. And we noted a few things, like how the cover promised a sultry harem wench and failed to deliver, and the rapidly multiplying and subsequent subtraction of the numbers of gods Thongor invokes at any particular juncture. Stuff like that. Well, we got an outpouring of feedback from readers who thought we should give Thongor another chance, that surely the next installment in his mighty saga would provide manly deeds, buxom femmes, and epic struggles against fantastic forces. And we happened to have the next issue of "Creatures On The Loose" hanging around. So, here we go!
BEHOLD, barbarian! Behold the cover of your next adventure, which again holds the promise of what appears to be a bikini supermodel in distress! Well, as the saying goes, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on The Black Druid Sharajsha of Zaar. That's the wizard. Sharajsha. Geshundheit!
So first off here the letterer is beginning to regret using so much space on "Wizard" that they had to kind of squeeze "Lemuria" in there. Plan ahead, letterers. Secondly any time a comic book needs to add a little caption box on the first page to remind readers that they are in fact starting the story, well, that's a comic book that is either aimed at really small children, or doesn't know what the heck it's doing.
I feel ya, buddy
Say what you like about the Dragon City of Thurd, they make some stout cord.
Okay. Okay dude. "Unknown archer" my ass, THONGOR shot those arrows, we JUST SAW HIM DO IT last issue. Maybe READ that last issue, Roy!
Turns out "wishing he'd go away" isn't quite the winning barbarian battle tactic.
I knew it, heaven is Dairy Queen!
Occasionally you see why these comics were popular - it was a chance to see some honest-to-Gorm figure drawing, some lush backgrounds, some Frazetta mixed with some Hal Foster, just some old-fashioned detailed pen-and-ink work that was becoming increasingly rare. Especially when Vince Colletta was in the building.
That stereotypical strong silent stoic uncomplaining barbarian hero, that's old news! Today the readers want a barbarian who is always whining about headaches, or bugs, or vampire plants.
Wah! The heat! Waah, the distance between me and civilization! Whaaa, the insects! Whaaah, the vampire plants! If you WERE back in icy Valkarth, the frost-bound homeland of your people, no doubt you'd be complaining about something there too, Thongor. Now let's see. We've had giant beasts, we've had steamy heat and biting bugs, we've had carnivorous plants... what's missing from our parade of jungle hazards?
You guessed it, it's quicksand. Quicksand, which a childhood of pop culture usage led us to believe would be a much larger threat than it turned out to be. Why don't you complain some more about that Thurdan cord that's saved your life five times already, Thongor, Whiner Of Lost Lemuria?
Maybe if he'd shut his mouth for two minutes he'd have more strength to pull himself out of the quicksand, but who am I kidding, this is a Marvel book from the 1970s, everybody talks all the time, until they fall over.
It's at this point that the writer remembers the threatening dinosaur that has been there this whole time, patiently waiting for Thongor to wake up on the three occasions he's been knocked out cold like a big barbarian meat nugget.
Gorm the Dwark still lives! That's his name now, Gorm.
But hold your breath because the Wizard is here, baby! And he doesn't wash that cloak often, that's why you need to hold your breath.
(NOTE TO COLORIST: please make the cloud of sleep dust a different color than the dinosaur in panel 2, don't forget. Thanks.)
Even though he's lacking a tin man, a cowardly lion, and a scarecrow, Thongor is off to see the wizard...'s nearby dwelling.
"Is this guy hitting on me? This guy is hitting on me."
So remember a page back when this guy said his "dwelling" was "nearby"? Go home comic, you're drunk
Well Thongor, it was either follow the wizard, or walk through hundreds of vorns of dinosaur quicksand vampire plant jungle by yourself. Not a tough call to make.
After that first careless young man fell into the boiling lava, you'd think Sharajsha would install some handrails, instead of putting his no doubt numerous yound male visitors at risk.
Pretend to be interested, Thongor! You're a guest!
Casually strewn drapery, the random trunks and vases, hanging skulls, and a lava pit? Somebody has a subscription to Better Lemurian Wizard Homes And Gardens!
This is definitely a point in the story where you could have a sultry serving wench or a seductive scullery maid or something like that, you know, if you felt like living up to your cover, Thongor. But instead Thongor opts for "invisible servant".
Everything's OK now though, this (chomp) wizard is a (chew) swell (chomp) fella (tear) (gulp) (gnaw)
Sure, everyone loves it when your host just stands there and watches you eat.
If you didn't read last issue, here's what you missed. Thongor runs! Thongor leaps! Thongor fires an arrow that Thongor forgets about in this issue!
"Lots of jungle between me and all those depraved MEN, you know how MEN are, all depraved, not like me, with my lava pit, my skull decor, my invisible servants, and my sleeping powders so no one can resist or cry for help. But you don't want to hear about that."
You see kids, back before GPS we had to use paper maps to get from Zangabal to Cadorna. You don't want to have to stop in Patanga for directions, believe me!
Thongor would know the reason for your need, and he also wants to know the name of a good eye specialist, because his eyes are suddenly going in two different directions.
Feel that thrill of excitement? This comic book story has almost reached the scene depicted on the cover as the Wizard reveals what vision lies within his magic mirror! Remember, we gave Thongor another chance because we figured there was no way they'd cheat the reader out of sultry harem wenches on two subsequent occasions. There's just no way!
Well, by the seven gods of Zangabal, they did it again, they promised us Lemuria Lady and they failed to deliver. How dare Thongor Warrior of Lost Lemuria besmirch the impeccable honesty of comic book covers? I hope your whole continent sinks!
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