Hey everyone, this week at work has been a KILLER for your old pal Devin so this column’s going to be a short one. The good news is that because there will only be a few sentences per item. the concentration of enthusiasm will be explosive BECAUSE I WILL WRITE IN ALL CAPS AND USE MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!
Okay, I won’t torture any of us with that nonsense. But still: short and to the point! Explosively exciting! Packed with Vitamin D! Let’s go!
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The 1970s was a weird time for mainstream comic books, with the two big publishers trying to supplement their traditional superhero offerings with titles inspired by a variety of other genres: kung-fu movies, exploitation, horror, and sci-fi. One of my favourite weird titles from Marvel at that time was Killraven, a sequel to The War Of The Worlds where the Martians had enslaved Earth and entertained themselves by watching human gladiator matches. Killraven was a gladiator-turned-freedom-fighter who, with the help of his fellow escaped gladiators, fought for freedom in this post-apocalyptic world wearing only a navy blue speedo and attached suspenders. It was a great littl series, but a very 1970s concept. That’s why Alan Davis & Mark Farmer’s 2002 Killraven miniseries was such a delight; the script felt like a slightly updated version of the swashbuckling adventures from thirty years earlier, but with Davis & Farmer’s glorious art giving it that much more of a stylistic punch. There were even panels that echoed some of the work that the great P. Craig Russell did on the original series in the 70s, but with the clean and muscular Davis/Farmer touch. The smile on my face grew with each issue I read, and by the end of the series my heart honestly felt a little lighter than when I started. It’s adventure and heroics and swordfighting and also robots and martians and gladiators in very little clothing. What’s not to like?