Sunday, July 15, 2018

Kamandi Challenge

The Kamandi Challenge is kind of a neat thing. DC Comics decided to celebrate Jack "The King" Kirby, creator of many of Marvel and DC's properties, by resurrecting a fan favorite character of his- Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Kamandi was a series that ran in the 70's and was a post- apocalyptic tale of a boy who made his way though a rugged wasteland after some Great Disaster. The world at this time has changed, with talking animals and only scattered pockets of humanity left. Humans have mostly reverted to savagery, with the more advanced animals treating them as little more than beasts. Kamandi's name is a mash-up of Command D, a bunker where the boy was raised by his grandfather. When his grandfather is killed, Kamandi ventures out into the world to make his way.

The point of the Challenge was to tell a twelve part story, in honor of Kirby, with each installment written and drawn by a different creative team. Each story ends on a cliffhanger, with the next installment's creative team tasked with continuing the story, and by turn handing it off to the next team. I love the idea of this, and even though I've never read the original series I was intrigued and wanted to check it out. And the creative teams are a who's who of comic creators too, so added bonus.

So... let's take a trip into the apocalypse with the Kamandi Challenge. The first issue is split into two halves, with two creative teams doing their thing.

Issue #1

Written by Dan DiDio and illustrated by Keith Giffen.

The boy who will become Kamandi wakes up late for school and has to make a run for the bus. Unfortunately the world is ending- or his is, at any rate. Apparently the bucolic small town he lives in is a bunker? And everyone in it (other than him) is tasked with guarding him. As invaders overrun the town, everyone else apparently dies defending the boy, who manages to escape after his grandmother ushers into a chamber where he'll be safe. This chamber somehow educates him, including a directive to "remember Command D,"  but after an indeterminate amount of time he is removed from the chamber and captured by talking animals, who throw him into an arena to fight for their amusement.

Written by Dan Abnett and illustrated by Dale Eaglesham.

Eaglesham is one of my favorite comic artists and this section has amazing art. Kamandi is in the arena and facing off against a huge gorilla named Tiny. After outsmarting the beast he is slated to train as a gladiator, with Prince Tuftan (a talking tiger) instructing Dr. Canus to get him ready. Neither initially believes him to actually be intelligent. Kamandi tells Canus about the dream-like memories of his prior existence, along with the knowledge that he is to seek out his parents. It turns out Kamandi is in Tiger City, ruled by King Caesar, who is away on campaign. Tuftan is his son.

Canus is showing Kamandi around when Caesar returns, having crushed a leopard army, and bringing many of them back as prisoners. He also has a nuclear warhead he has brought back, and Kamandi realizes he is stockpiling weapons. Caesar instructs his scientists to "wake the god," which translates to arm the nuclear weapon, which begins counting down to detonation. Kamandi warns Canus that they're about to be blown to bits, but he doesn't get it.


  1. That does not look like a 'boy'. :D

  2. This sounds like a fun one and I really like the artwork. WIll have to check it out

  3. oh this story sounds fantastic! For some reasons the art reminds me of Thundercats :)

  4. I agree with Christy that my first thought was that does not look like a boy. That is a man lol. But I love this idea of different teams writing each issue and continuing the story where the last ones left off!