Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Make Mine Marvel: Thongor

Lin Carter's Thongor was a fan boy's homage to the great Robert E. Howard's Conan as he merged Howard like characters with a more Edgar Rice Burroughs inspired world. Carter's character first began in the mid-60s during the Edgar Rice Burroughs boom and appeared in novels, short-stories and a variety of fantasy anthologies. Could Thongor have been Marvel Comics first barbarian character?  Writer Roy Thomas planned to get the rights to Thongor before he tried for the Conan license because he imagined Howard's estate would want more money for the character. However, Thomas soon found out that he could get Conan for the same price as Thongor, so he opted to purchase the Cimmerian, who became the star of Marvel's first and best known sword and sorcery magazines. After Marvel struck it big with Conan, his peer Kull soon followed, as the company  started adding  more sword and sorcery properties to their bullpen. Creatures on the Loose became their "barbarian try-out mag" since Kull made his debut there with issue #10, followed by Gullivar Jones of Mars, and finally Thongor with issue #22 in December 1972.  Thongor's storyline lasted through issue #29 ending in February of 1974. Science Fiction writer George Alec Effinger wrote the first four issues (with Tony Isabella helping out on book 25), then Golden Age great Gardner Fox wrote issues #26-27 before the  Steve Gerber completed the run with issues#28-29. Talented newcomer and barbarian fan Val Mayerick handled the artistic chores from issues #22-27, with the might Vincente Alcazar finishing out the tales in the last two issues.

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