Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Make Mine Marvel: War of the Worlds

With his first appearance in Amazing Adventures #18 in May of 1973, Jonathan Raven, AKA Killraven was the leader of a small band of freedom fighters trying to turn the tide of the Martian conquest of a post-apocalyptic earth, using concepts from H.G. Wells classic War of the Worlds novel. Created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Neal Adams (who only drew eleven pages from the original story before leaving the project), the series is best remembered for the later creative team of Don McGregor and P. Graig Russell. Many talented Marvel artists and writers worked on the series in its short three year run including Herb Trimpe, Howard Chaykin, Gene Colan, Rich Buckler, Gerry Conway, and Marv Wolfman. Raised by the Martians to be a gladiator in there terrible games for their amusement, this highly skilled killing machine eventually escapes and forms a band of fugitives; M'Shulla Scott, Hawk, Old Skull, Carmilla Frost, Grok, and later allies Mint Julep and Volcana Ash. McGregor's dashing scripts with poetic visions of humanity's struggle for freedom and mankind's potential greatness coupled with Russell's delicate, elaborate, Art Nouveau inspired graphics made this series an instant fan favorite. Killraven's band travel the country trying to build a resistance of freed slaves to fight for our planet's grim future as they encounter strange mutant villains. The High Overloard, Rattack, Abraxas, and the evil Skar are just a handful of the many menaces these freemen fight before the original series unexpectedly was cancelled in November of 1976. Killraven's saga continued though with appearances in other titles, a one-shot, and mini-series, and hopefully will see other incarnations from "The House of Ideas" in years to come.


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