It always seemed to me that there was one obvious drawback to getting super-powers.
Which was that, to get them, you first had to actually do something.
For instance, you had to steal a rocket ship and fly it through cosmic rays. Or you had to build a gamma bomb and then let it explode at you. Or you had to attend a science show and let spiders bite you.
If you wanted lots of powers, you had to do all these things and take refuge from aliens, in a cave, whilst banging a stick against a wall.
Reader, you know by now that banging a stick against a wall is beneath the dignity of a man of my quality, no matter how strong it might make me.
You can imagine, therefore, just how impressed I was, as a child, with Gullivar Jones.
After all, he managed to get his super-powers just by walking down the street.
I first came across Gullivar Jones in the pages of Marvel UK's Planet of the Apes, a mag that seems to be getting a zillion and one mentions round here lately.
And I was impressed at once.
Not only did it have the lazy person's guide to getting super-powers but it was drawn by Gil Kane in a genre I always felt suited him best.
But of course, those tales were just reprints. Gullivar Jones made his real Marvel Comics debut in Creatures on the Loose #16 and what happens in that issue is that Jones, having just quit the army, is leaving the officers' club for the last time, when a man on a flying disc descends from the heavens, declares Jones is going to be a saviour and sends him back through time to Mars to fight evil wherever he finds it.
You will of course be aware this is remarkably similar to John Lennon's claim that the Fab Four got their name when a man descended on a flaming pie and told them to call themselves the Beatles. Whether it's the same man in both cases, I'm not at all sure.
To be honest, anyone with any sense, upon arriving against his will on Mars, would promptly burst into tears and be too busy sobbing to do anything.
But Gullivar Jones isn't just any man.
He's an interfering busybody.
This of course all makes Jones sound like a rip-off of John Carter but the magic of Wikipedia tells me he was originally created by Edwin Lester Arnold in 1905 and therefore predates Carter by a good seven years. The fact that Carter's had a string of books and a movie made about him, and Jones hasn't, only goes to show there's no justice in the world.
In terms of characterisation, in this issue, we get to learn next to nothing about Jones, and even less about the Princess, so it's all a bit shallow - and, to be honest, feels more DC in that regard than Marvel. But it's beautifully drawn and zips along. And, most of all, with its strange alien world to explore, it holds out the promise of more action, adventure and bizarreness to come in the very next issue.
Does it produce that bizarreness?
We'll have to find out next weekend when I take a look at that very next issue.
And, if Brian Blessed isn't in it as a hawk man, I shall very disappointed with them.
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