The comic book life can be full of pleasant surprises.
I never would have thought that an obscure character from Jack Kirby’s Demon series of the early 1970s would be so popular in 2005. But that’s writer Grant Morrison for you. He has worked wonders with obscure characters. Remember B’wana Beast in Animal Man?
But Klarion the Witchboy, who is now a headlining component of DC’s current Seven Soldiers storyline? Who’d thunk it?
Klarion made his first appearance in The Demon #7 (March, 1973), which was released in January. He was introduced the same month that a Vietnam peace agreement was signed in Paris, France (although the war would not conclude until two years later); and James W. McCord and G. Gordon Liddy were convicted of breaking into and illegally wiretapping the Democratic Party headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C. (the downward spiral of the Nixon administration was well underway). Not that Klarion’s debut had anything to do with U.S. and world events, of course, I just like to inject a little history outside of comics’ own medium.
Those were the days when Kirby delivered some of the finest two-page spreads of his much heralded career. The Demon #7 provides a fine example of this in a terrifying scene on pages 2 and 3, where Etrigan the Demon is viciously attacked by Draaga, a gruesome “denizen of the pits” whose body courses with the deadliest of poison. While the Demon is strong enough to fight off Draaga, it is not before the creature sinks its claws deep into Etrigan’s throat.
Enter Klarion the Witchboy, with his pet cat, Teekl. Teekl holds some mighty fine healing powers, as just a gentle tickle (Teekl?) of its paw cures Jason Blood, alias the Demon, of his wounds.
Later in the story, Klarion is captured by his people, who come from the “beyond country,” but Etrigan sends them into “witch’s transit.” He then transports the mischievous witchboy to some distant place where the young boy and his cat can do no harm. Klarion returned in issues 14 and 15 of The Demon, and then, for the most part, entered comics limbo, plucked into guest-star service a time or two over the years.
Now Klarion has his own miniseries and a respectable spot on the comics sales chart. Not only that, but the concept of a “beyond country” is very much a part of Klarion’s involvement in the overall Seven Soldiers storyline. Teekl is along for the ride, too, and Klarion has also become one of the most praised comics of 2005.
The little witchboy has come a long way. Now, if Morrison could just work his magic on Tracey Thompson…