Saturday, July 24, 2010

Giant Sharks, Mutated Animals and Dinosaurs

I am currently reading the (so far) wonderful Art in Time, which features reprints from comics the editor, Dan Nadel, finds to be interesting for one reason or another.  The stories aren't ones that have been reprinted often in the past, so reading them has been a rare treat.  One of the more pleasurable stories in the group has been from Kona issue three, and features Kona, the white-haired caveman, trying to find a solution to a very vexing problem.  He is in a cave with some travelers from the present time period (Sixties).  This cave is quickly filling with water.  The waters have some toxin in them that has caused the sharks in the water to grow bigger than the dinosaurs that populate the cave.  This, of course, spells trouble for Kona and his people.  He does remember, however, that there is a cave nearby that has been blocked off because the other side of it contains hideously mutated animals. 

You have to love these comic book premises.  Could a book throw in anymore of the kitchen sink?  Cavemen, dinosaurs, giant sharks, mutated animals (like giraffes with bull bodies or some such insanity).  When you think those kinds of storylines wouldn't fly today, remember that just recently the Uncanny X-Men has these weird alien predator things dropped onto their Utopia island by a wayward mutant in a plane.  Perhaps not as outlandish as what Kona faced, but the concept is the same.

Reading the old stories is a lot like watching old movies.  The dialogue sometimes doesn't sound right, and the ideas sometimes seem almost quaint, but you are witnessing a product from a bygone time.  They, quite honestly, don't make them like that anymore.  Is that a good or bad thing?  I don't know.   More people read comic books back in those days, and while few would argue about the quality of our stories today, where are the readers?  Perhaps they want those crazy stories from the days of yore where logic took a backseat to ... just about anything else.

Me?  I like both periods.  And to be frank, we wouldn't be where we are at today without those stories from decades ago.

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