Apart from Rod Stewart, has there ever been a more famous sailor than Sinbad; that daring explorer who never turned down a chance to tangle with giant eggs?
There are those who'll tell you he was Chinese. There are those who'll tell you he was from the Middle East. There are even some mad fools who'll tell you he never existed at all.
One thing's for sure, all our childhoods would have been an awful lot duller if not for the inspiration he gave to Ray Harryhausen.
But Sinbad wasn't alone in enlivening our youthful lives.
So did Marvel Comics.
And so, when it happened, it seemed only appropriate that the worlds of Marvel and Harryhausen should at last be combined as Worlds Unknown #7 gave us an adaptation of Harryhausen's classic film The Golden Voyage of Sinbad.
Not bothering to ask any philosophical questions about the ethicality of shooting at things that are doing you no harm, and then stealing what they're carrying, Sinbad soon finds himself in the city of Marabia where he slaps around the object's rightful owner and then finds himself being recruited by the local, golden-masked king, to help thwart an evil wizard called Koura who, as we all know, was played in the film by the legend that is Tom Baker.
But that's not before Koura brings the wooden figurehead of Sinbad's ship to life and gets it to steal our hero's charts.
It's at this point that issue #7 terminates and we learn that we're going to have to wait for issue #8 to find out how it all ends.
In fact, we've seen it frequently. Mostly every bank holiday Monday, because it's on TV every bank holiday Monday and has been for about thirty five years.
Therein may lie the adaptation's Achilles heel.
Which is that we've all seen the movie and can therefore directly compare it to the comic.
And it's in this direct comparison that the fatal flaw in the concept of adapting a Ray Harryhausen movie is revealed.
That's that the central pleasure of any Harryhausen film dwells not within its plot and characters. It dwells within seeing rubber models come to life and fight people. Sadly, in a comic, that thrill's lost, as there are no rubber monsters in it, just drawings on a page; drawings of monsters and drawings of people. Hence there's no gap between the real and fantastical elements and the enchantment is lost.
Conan tale and, by this stage, Marvel had been doing Conan tales for years - but with the advantage that they weren't tied to a movie script and could therefore make the strip far more dynamic, in the mighty Marvel style, with a freedom that a faithful movie adaptation inevitably lacks.
It's written by Len Wein, and it's drawn by George Tuska and Vince Colletta and, while the art's not off-putting (Tuska makes things less cartoony than he sometimes does), nor is it particularly gripping. Restricted by the need for faithfulness, the thing does often feel as wooden as Sinbad's murderous figurehead.
In the end, it's not terrible, it's all competently done but it does feel rather by-the-numbers and thus lacks the atmosphere and magic of the movie.
But the main appeal for me lies in seeing Brian Clemens get a first-page credit.
As a producer and writer, Clemens was of course strongly involved in such treasures as The Avengers, The Persuaders, The Protectors and The Professionals, not to mention Adam Adamant Lives and the cinematic oddities that were And Soon The Darkness, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde and Captain Kronos. And if that isn't enough to make him deserve being immortalised in a comic, I don't know what would be.
Keep Those Things Away From Me - Novel
11 months ago