Continuing the seemingly endless saga of CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE…
Like CLAW in CCC #1, KAMANDI was one of books which was on or ahead of schedule, so the complete #61 is next up in the volume. Of course, the deck was stacked in their favor.
Editor Al Milgrom had unearthed the unpublished issue of Jack Kirby’s 1970s SANDMAN and he and Jack C. Harris cooked up a way to incorporate it into the adventures of the Last Boy on Earth. “I’ll See You in My Nightmares” by Harris, Ayers, and Bulanadi (his name spelled correctly this time) is little more than a “wrapper” for “The Seal Men’s War on Santa Claus” by Michael Fleisher, Kirby and Mike Royer.
By the way, following up on the “cliffhanger” in #60, Kamandi does indeed bear a resemblance to Sandman’s pal Jed. After all, both are blond-haired boys originally drawn by Kirby. Not surprising that Brute and Glob got confused.
In his headquarters, Sandman utilizes his view-screen to “show” Kamandi the 18-page story of the Seal Men. [In the 80s, we used to joke in the office about using this gimmick to get series that were running late (usually New Teen Titans) caught up with the help of series that were ahead of schedule (like Star Trek and Firestorm). We figured we could have George Perez draw an opening page of a couple of the Titans sitting around their HQ with nothing to do. Then one of them could say, “Hey, let’s watch Star Trek” and the rest of the issue would be a story from that book’s inventory.]
Jed is sent to the mansion of stingy millionaire Titus Gotrox to ask for a donation to the Christmas Fund. Cutting to the chase, Gotrox tells Jed he’ll contribute $1 million to the cause in exchange for proof that Santa Claus exists. Flabbergasted by the proposal, Gotrox’s nephew Rodney follows Jed and witnesses the arrival of Sandman when the boy blows his special whistle.
Jed tells Sandman of his quest and the hero replies that “Santa Claus is a friend on mine from way back.” Off they go, unaware that Jed has dropped his whistle in the process.
After a brief stop at the Dream Dome, Sandman and Jed jump into the Dream Stream and head for the Fantasy Forest, home of the Nightmare Wizard. “We’ll need his help if we’re going to make the long journey to Santa’s workshop in time.” (One wonders why the Dream Stream couldn’t take them directly to Santa.) Said “help” consists of loaning Jed a parka — leaving us to also wonder why there weren’t any available in a more accessible location — and providing a sky sled for the trip. Obviously, the Nightmare Wizard runs the “Sky Sleds R Us” franchise.
Meanwhile, Rodney has found and blown the whistle, bringing Sandman’s sidekick Brute to the scene. Rodney is brought back to the Dream Dome, then tossed into an ejector tube. In the Fantasy Forest, he is quickly grabbed up by a man-eating plant, but rescued by the Nightmare Wizard. Rodney tells the Wizard he’s a friend of Sandman’s, gets his own parka and sky sled, and heads off after the hero.
Sandman and Jed arrive at the North Pole where they are immediately attacked by hammer-wielding elves who mistake them for Seal Men. Thankfully, Mrs. Claus sets things straight before anybody gets pounded. She advises Sandman that the Seal Men have kidnapped Santa and Christmas will have to be called off if Jolly Old Saint Night isn’t rescued.
Sandman and Jed head off in search of the missing Mr. Claus. When Jed asks how many Seal Men there are, Sandman says, “Roughly ten thousand! But don’t you worry – good will always triumph over evil!”
In short order, they get lured into a trap and captured by the Seal Men. They are locked in a dungeon with Santa, but easily escape when Sandman melts its wall with his hypnosonic whistle. Unfortunately, they are immediately recaptured.
As they are taken before the king of the Seal Men, we learn the reason for their war against Santa. Seems they haven’t been happy with the gifts Santa’s been bringing for Christmas: wool gloves that don’t fit their flippers, scuba equipment, and fishing rods! If they can’t have a merry Christmas, neither will anyone else.
Sandman and Jed explain that even Santa can make a mistake. “You just got the wrong gift boxes by mistake,” says Jed. “Somewhere out in the Sahara Desert or someplace, there are probably kids wondering what they’re supposed to do with cases of frozen fish they got.” [Okay, and what were kids in the Sahara Desert going to do with gloves, scuba gear, and fishing rods?]
Once Santa promises to have his elves exchange the gifts, the trio is set free. Christmas is saved, or so it seems until they get back to the workshop and find Mrs. Claus bound and gagged by Rodney. He’s not about to let the existence of Santa interfere with his inheritance.
It’s Sandman’s sand capsules to the rescue and, once Rodney is overcome, we switch to Gotrox’s mansion. Santa drops the bound up Rodney down the chimney, then arrives himself, convincing the millionaire to make the contribution he promised.
The story finished, we’re back in the Dream Dome where Sandman explains to Kamandi that “in another reality…your name would have been JEB instead of Kamandi.” [In still another, where the proofreading is better, it would have been JED!]
Sandman takes Kamandi back to his own Earth, defeats the energy creature threatening Kam’s pals, and warns that Kamandi’s reality is “the nightmare of one called Omac.” It is up to Kamandi to turn this nightmare into a pleasant dream.
“I’ll remember,” promises Kamandi as Sandman — and this series– fade to black.
Following KAMANDI is an issue of PREZ featuring “The Devil’s Exterminator” by Joe Simon, Jerry Grandenetti, and Creig Flessel. Yes, it’s another book from the DC “Written Off” inventory.
Insects of all sorts invade our nation’s capital and Prez calls in exterminator Clyde Piper to handle them. This is little more than a retelling of the Pied Piper fable. (Please don’t think the member of Flash’s Rogues Gallery was in any way involved.)
I’ll spare everyone the detail-by-detail recapping of the story. And next week we’ll pick up with SHADE THE CHANGING MAN #9.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ:
1. Tracy married her back when heroes never seemed to get married.
2. He’s the final casualty of World War II, according to Kanigher; name him.
3. Everybody knows his red-headed teenage son, but what is HIS name?
4. Number 4 of what team was the second of his group to join Justice League International?
5. Endless’s always-female members are whom?
6. X-Man Wolverine’s healing factor saved him, though he keeps his scarred face hidden; who?
7. Tommy, Tubby, and Toughy made up what team?
8. Secret member of Nighthawk’s Redeemers, what guise did Melissa Hanover use in the Squadron Supreme?
9. Until Stars & S.T.R.I.P.E. arrived, what town was hero-less after Wally left?
10. Prior to ‘Mazing Man, Stephen DeStefano created what feature in HOUSE OF MYSTERY?
11. Egad! Robin’s old enough to drive? What’s his vehicle called?
12. Superman and Popeye both finally did WHAT in the 90’s?
TENTH ROW CENTER:
“PETER DAVID (Sancho Panza) Peter first came to attention with his memorable portrayal of the title character in the musical version of ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau.’ His name recently appeared in Newsday as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. His favorite roles include Tevye in ‘Fiddler,’ Judd Fry in ‘Oklahoma,’ Luther in ‘South Pacific’, Oscar in ‘The Odd Couple’ and Mr. Bumble in ‘Oliver.’ Peter hasn’t played any of them; he just thinks they’re really good roles! He is also a noted playwright with the debut of his study of compulsive shopping on Long Island, ‘Shirley Went to Smith Haven and Had a Grand Mall Seizure.’ When not performing, Peter is a six foot tall Asian man with a club foot. He thanks his girlfriend, Kathleen, his children, Shana, Gwen, and Ariel, and the fine folks in the Bethesda Witness Protection Program.”
So read the liner notes from the playbill for “Man of La Mancha” as performed at the Suffolk Jewish Community Center over the past few weeks. Yes, that is the same Peter David of Star Trek novel and comic book fame, despite the fact that no mention of his real-life career is made.
As for the performance, amateur theater is, by definition, amateur theater. As such, I defer to my wife Laurie’s comment: “It’s a good thing he can write.”
MUST SEE TV?
Of the three shows that comprised NBC’s Saturday night “Thrillogy,” I always enjoyed “The Pretender,” grew to like “Profiler” and found what few episodes of “The Others” that aired intriguing.
In what has become a tradition of many TV series these days (a bad habit that they seem to have inherited from numerous comic book series), the season ended for each show with a cliffhanger. In “The Pretender,” Jared and Miss Parker and their just-found brother get blown up. On “Profiler,” Rachel Burke has been framed for a murder by a mysterious shadow figure who seems to have control over any FBI area he wants. And on “The Others,” every one of the characters is killed in one way or another thanks to the manipulations of a Satan-like woman.
However catastrophic these endings seemed, viewers could expect that next season all the characters would emerge none the worse for the wear. That is, until NBC canceled all three shows.
Which leaves me wondering, whatever happened to series that actually had a happy ending? Richard Kimble caught the one-armed man. The 4077th M*A*S*H unit went home when the Korean War ended. Gilligan and company were rescued. Is it too much to ask that current series end with resolved plotlines rather than more crises?
That’ll do it for this installment. See you right back here in seven days.
TRIVIA QUIZ ANSWERS
The theme this week is films of Nicolas Cage, who named himself for Luke Cage, wants to be the next big-screen Superman, and is currently starring in “Gone in 60 Seconds.”
1. Tess Truheart [“Guarding Tess”]
2. Sgt. Rock [“The Rock”]
3. Fred Andrews [“Amos and Andrew”]
4. Rocket Reds [“Red Rock West”]
5. Death, Delirium and Despair [“Kiss of Death”]
6. Deadpool [“Deadfall”]
7. Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys [“The Boy in Blue”]
8. Moonglow [“Moonstruck”]
9. Blue Valley [“Valley Girl”]
10. I…Baby Vampire [“Vampire’s Kiss”]
11. Redbird [“Birdy”]
12. They got married [“Peggy Sue Got Married”]
[For more of BobRo’s trivia, check out the daily Anything Goes Trivia.]
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.