Kong the Untamed (1975) - #3
"The Caves of Doom"
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Alfredo P. Alcala
Alfredo P. Alcala
Alfredo P. Alcala
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Cover Date: November 1975
Cover Price: US $0.25
Issue Tagline: Journey Through The Caves of Doom!
Format: Color; Standard Comic Issue; 18 pages
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Letters Column: Cave Comments
Kong and Gurat are hunting a wild boar near the foot of a smoking volcano. Before Kong can spear his prey, a saber-toothed tiger leaps down and kills the beast. Gurat is resigned to having lost his supper, but bull-headed Kong is determined to follow the tiger back to its cave to retrieve the boar he believes is rightfully his.
In the labyrinthine caves Kong and Gurat become disoriented after bats fly into their faces. They stumble along, soon finding themselves looking down on Kong's former clansmen, who are dancing in a ritual that Kong recalls his mother Attu telling him of, a rite of passage for the clan's warriors. Kong's hunger brings to mind the fact they bring food to this retreat.
Suddenly the saber-toothed tiger springs into the scene and scatters Trog and his men. Kong and Gurat descend to stuff themselves on their food, "thick and tangy, heavy with the odors of decay."
But Kong's erstwhile tribespeople return sooner than expected and he and Gurat are quickly overpowered. Kong and Gurat stir to find themselves suspended from a tree sapling bent over a fiery pit. Magl, the witch-doctor, speaks up and warns Trog not to kill Kong in the moonlight, noting that the smoke from the volcano is hiding the full face of their moon-god Lural. Trog agrees, but sadistically hands the freed Kong a spear and orders the boy to murder his Beast Man friend.
Kong's "eyes are cold as he steps forward, raising the spear overhead, ignoring the pleading look Gurat gives him." Kong stuns all assembled by expertly throwing the spear into the bonds restraining the sapling, which cut suddenly springs back, hurling Gurat into the mob, toppling them like tenpins (a sequence expertly illustrated by Alcala).
Kong and Gurat begin making a hasty escape, pursued by Trog and his warriors when suddenly the volcano erupts, and "the tribesmen whirl--shrieking with agony as droplets of lava rain across the stoney plain, spraying the cavemen with liquid hell." Before Kong and Gurat can rejoice at Trog's retreat, the ground about them yawns wide with an earthquake and the two men tumble down a crevasse.
Kong and Gurat awaken in a cave, and stumble about for an hour following a glimpse of daylight which opens onto "a world the like of which Kong has never known," a world "waist deep in fruit," on which they eagerly eat. Gurat notes, "This food is good--almost better than meat!"
But this strange new world is also fraught with unsuspected dangers, including quicksand and a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Gurat's brute strength coupled with Kong's cleverness save them both from doom.
However, unknown to Kong and Gurat, they are being spied upon by Rolen and Sharra, a young man and woman. Sharra is frantic, saying that "Jelenna will never forgive us" if they let Kong and Gurat escape. Rolen assures her that if the Pterodactyl swooping down on the men fails to finish them, he will.
Next issue promises to provide "answers to the questions which are doubtlessly plaguing you." And in a bit of Stan Lee-inspired hyperbole, that closing caption states KONG #4 "may well be the most important tale you read this year!"
This issue's CAVE COMMENTS includes letters from BOB ROBINSON, RICHARD MORRISSEY and RICHARD SALA.
The lettercol also notes that "next issue one of the top talents in comics writing is taking over, since Jack Oleck has moved on to other projects. Gerry Conway stepped in to dialogue this issue, and starting with #4 he'll be going solo." (This KONG story was among the first that Conway wrote for DC after coming off his long and controversial run on Marvel's AMAZING SPIDER-MAN.)
This issue is especially heavy on DC house ads. Among them are a full-pager for "2 Sizzling Summer Specials in D.C.'s Spectacular Super-Size" touting the SECRET ORIGINS: SUPER-VILLAINS tabloid and the SUPERMAN tabloid with a cover showing Supes flying a kid past the Statue of Liberty. This page is followed by another full-page advertising all the then-available tabloids (noting supplies of FAMOUS FIRST EDITION: WHIZ COMICS "are dangerously low ... Order now or you may be too late!!"). Another full-page ad asks the question: "Where can you find exciting super-heroes, savage jungle action, brand-new team-up and quality? You can find it all... IN THE DC FAMILY! Below which text are cover repros of TARZAN FAMILY #60, SUPERMAN FAMILY #173, BATMAN FAMILY #1 and SUPER-TEAM FAMILY #1.
The Hostess ad this month is for Twinkies and finds Shazam up against the "Minerva Menace!"
The "best" ad of all this issue, however, must go to Captain Collector, Inc. whose half-page display ad asks, "Hey Kids! Did you know a 1960 Fantastic Four is now worth $100?" This is fascinating because FANTASTIC FOUR #1 is dated November 1961.
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